Monument Lane is a little newcomer on Greenwich Avenue, finally occupying a space that's been vacant for almost four years. And apparently the new proprietors settled on the concept for this restaurant as soon as the old place closed - because that's right about when this Gangs of New York restaurant trend was still interesting.
As I wrote this review, I actually found myself wanting to write some of the very same things about Monument Lane that I said about Goat Town. It's a nice space and all, but it seems that some reclaimed wood, an antique musket, and a trip to the public library are the easiest way to a restaurant idea these days. We're over it.
Luckily, the food at Monument Lane is more successful than at Goat Town. The menu is inspired by Civil War era New York and the use of local ingredients (because that's all they could use then!), but to us it just felt like refined bar food and comfort eating. The signature meatloaf is solid, and we liked the fish we ate quite a bit, but the most satisfying things on the menu were the things you should eat while you are focused on drinking. This makes for a restaurant that's perfectly fine for a meal in the neighborhood, but only Perfect For having a drink and some food at the bar before you head out for the night.
Whole Wheat Pretzels with Gouda Dip
Big soft pretzel sticks served with a bowl of melted gouda cheese dip. We liked these, especially as a bar snack.
No idea what a seived egg is, but you can pretty much ignore that. You won't notice it. These are little fried chick peas, and they're interesting enough. Like the pretzels, they are particularly good while throwing back a beer.Cherrystone Clams
We didn't know our clam nomenclature well enough, and ordered these thinking we would get a half dozen delicious little guys to start the meal. Apparently Cherrystone clams are the ones that look like phallic sea monsters. These were easily as big as the palm of your hand. We're down with shellfish, but not ones that you need to chew. Maybe you are. Have fun with that.Poutine
Apparently there were some Canadians around during Civil War era West Village. Was Canada even a country then? Is it now? Either way, we'll take cheese, gravy and french fries any time.Monument Lane Meatloaf
I'm not typically a meatloaf eater - it just wasn't something I grew up on, and the words meat and loaf together are unsettling. But this one is a house specialty at Monument Lane, and we're not mad at it.
Striped Bass for Two
I wasn't particularly fired up about eating a whole striped bass either, but this fish is surprisingly good. It's a simple whole bass with herbs and lemon juice, and it's very tasty. Our only complaint is that it's a little pricey at $42. Cut me a break since I am buying in bulk.