Wait, we're confused. We were under the impression Monkey Bar was one of those Midtown hotspots that was impossible to get into. Preconceived notion fail on our part, apparently. Each of the three times we've been here, it's been nothing but crickets in this place. Weird, considering that Monkey Bar was Vanity Fair kingpin and seasoned restaurateur to the stars Graydon Carter's big purchase a couple of years ago. I guess there ain't much money left in magazines these days, huh?
We're actually surprised more people don't flock to Monkey Bar. It's a fine restaurant, especially for Midtown which is filled with overpriced letdowns kept afloat by tourists and suits who don't know any better than to plunge their money directly into the dumpster. If you book lunches for your boss, get this on the radar. They may drop some serious corporate chang here, but at least they'll eat well and get the royal treatment. On each of our visits, we were brought out extra dishes from the kitchen for no apparent reason. We're into that. We're also into the classy, but not-soooo-stuffy atmosphere at Monkey Bar. The retro-chic room comes complete with a massive mural dedicated to the good ol' days and plenty of big ass comfy red booths to get your cush on. That's all well and good, but the real reason we keep coming back is the bread. Wow. It may be the best meal starter yeast in the business. Ken Friedman of Spotted Pig/John Dory fame did a nice job of curating a food and beverage program that's classic enough for Grandpa, but modern enough to keep people like us enthused.
Monkey Bar is one of those Classic NYC Establishments that "has history." And by "has history" we mean ad men and politicians of yesteryear used the always stocked bar room to find a good time for the night. Sadly (for pure entertainment purposes), the newly restored version of Monkey Bar seems to be prostitute free. The only badass you'll see these days is an old man on a date with his new young squeeze. As a matter of fact, we considered creating a Perfect For "Undercover Dinner With The Mistress" tag just for this place, but we don't really want to be party to that. We're content leaving the adultery tips to the experts over at AshleyMadison.com
Monkey Bar Chopped Salad
Each time we've come, the chopped salad has changed. Our favorite was this one - greens, tomatoes, chickpeas and pickled onions.Shrimp Cocktail
A pretty standard shrimp cocktail. Our one complaint was that the shrimp were a little soggier than they were crispy. We like it best the opposite way.Steak Tartare
It looked amazing, but the result was less than stellar. The huge chunks of beef were just too big and the potent meat flavor was overwhelming. Pass.Maine Lobster Club
We love lobster sandwiches. They are one of our favorite things. This one was a big time bummer. There was way too much bread and not enough lobster. This sad lobster club was a waste of money and should be removed from the menu. Or, they should serve it with at least double the amount of lobster and remove a layer of unnecessary toasted bread.Monkey Bar Burger
It's a $22 burger, but it's worth every penny. The blend of chuck, short rib and dry aged steak give it a real meaty flavor. The burger is juicy beyond belief and comes topped with sweet and sour peppers, garlic aioli and pepper jack cheese. It's one big, delicious mess and one of our favorite real deal burgers in midtown. Plus, the fries are incredible as well. So yeah, you should probably order this.Potato Gnocchi with Field Mushrooms
Gnocchi? Not really. More like mashed potato dumplings. All good though, we still enjoyed it. There were probably two sticks of butter in it. Good luck with those two extra hours in the gym the following morning.Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu and Spicy Relish
A rich, satisfying plate of pasta. We thoroughly enjoyed the thin pasta ribbons drenched in sauce are can confidently suggest ordering this.Rohan Duck
Our waiter suggested the duck and the kitchen delivered the goods. We really enjoyed it. Two thick, blood red slices of breast are sauced in a delicious reduction and paired with a roasted corn salad and grilled peach.Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich
Save a bit of room for dessert, because you're ordering it at Monkey Bar. We ordered the chocolate mousse and our waiter decided it was necessary we try the ice cream sandwich too. Good move, sir. These small homemade sandwiches made our night. They're incredible. Treat yourself, finish off your meal with some sweetness.
A perfect beat salad. Sliced, diced and served with feta and pistachios. Order it.