Raw meat lovers, rejoice! There is a restaurant in Milano where more than 80% of the menu is dedicated to the succulent, inebriating dish we carnivores adore: steak tartare. Meat Art, opened in 2014, is a delightful place for lunch or dinner, and the quality of its ingredients and the innovative ideas of the young chefs truly set it apart.
Small and modern, this is the type of restaurant that fills up fast, especially on the weekend, so you might want to book your table just to be on the safe side. The art on the walls is as modern as the sleek furniture, and the general vibe is young and vibrant, perfect for a night out with friends or with your better half.
The menu is straightforward, uncomplicated and to the point: as one can expect there is a lot of raw meat, a couple of raw seafood dishes, and a couple of options for those who want their food cooked.
To start our meal we opted for a “carnolo” (6€), a clever pun on the Italian words carne (meat) and cannolo. So yes, you guessed it: this is a Sicilian style cannolo – the kind that is usually filled with sweet ricotta – packed with delicious beef tartare, just lightly seasoned, and then “dipped” in white sesame on one side, and black sesame on the other. Served with a light basil and mint mayo – handmade by the chef – this is one of the cleverest ideas I have seen in a long time. The flavors come together really well, the herbs in the sauce giving it just the right amount of freshness, and the crunchy cannolo shell is in wonderful contrast with the tender meat inside it.
The tuna shabu shabu (7€) was equally delicious: lightly seared morsels of tender tuna are served over a cream of beetroot with crumbles of crunchy tempura onions and beetroot chips: innovative, original and simple, this appetizer proves that the guys at MeatArt can master seafood as well.
The main protagonist of the menu, of course, is tartare, served in a variety of interesting ways: so many sounded equally intriguing, in fact, we had a hard time deciding which one to choose. In the end, I opted for the Francese (13€) and my dining companion for the Vietnamita (14€). We were both extremely happy with our choice, as the two dishes were incredibly balanced and seasoned just right. My Francese involved a heap of top-notch raw beef topped with an egg cooked at low temperature and served with homamde mayo and whole grain mustard. The egg, creamy and runny, is simply amazing and adds incredible complexity and depth to the dish. This is a tartare I would eat over and over again.
The Vietnamita too was a hit: fresh and light, it came with hints of cilantro, lime and ginger, and was topped with popped rice to add crunchiness to the dish. The flavor was delicate enough to let the meat shine through, yet strong enough to round it out.
Other main dishes included other variations of steak tartare, of course, including some very decadent, very delicious sounding versions with black and white truffle (18 € for the first and 25€ for the latter), as well as options for those who don’t want to eat their meat raw: there is a burger with bacon and taleggio cheese (10€) and a lightened up version of fondue bourguignonne – cubes of raw filet to be cooked at the table in boiling hot broth instead of the traditional oil – with homemade sauces (19€ per person, minimum 2 persons).
MeatArt doesn’t let down even when it comes to dessert. The revisited tiramisu (6€) and the Tanto fumo and mele arrosto (6€) are both delightful: the latter, especially, has a certain wow effect as it is served under a glass dome which, when lifted, releases fragrant applewood smoke into the air. Once the smoke is gone, the roasted apples, mini chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream underneath are just perfect.
The closing touch is a cream of limoncello with saffron – all homemade in the restaurant’s kitchen. As I’m not usually a fan of cream of anything, I think it’s poignant to say that this one made me rethink about my hatred for creamy liqueurs: it was smooth and well balanced, the lemon and the saffron complimenting each other to perfection. It was just the right note on which to end our dinner.
So MeatArt was definitely a great surprise and wonderful discovery: its young, refreshing vibe and amazing food rightly attract many customers and I can’t wait to go back to try all the other tartares (and desserts) on their menu. If you are a meat lover don’t waste any time and go there as soon as possible: you’ll be mighty glad you did!
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