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Monkey Bar? Saw RGR's photos...how is the food???

topeater Mar 4, 2012 04:24 PM

Haven't been to the Monkey Bar since the new chef started. Saw RGR's photos, but couldn't find any comments about the food or service. Would love to know!

Monkey Bar
60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022

  1. r
    RGR Mar 4, 2012 07:14 PM

    I appreciate your checking my photos, topeater. :) Like loratliff, we very much enjoyed our dinner at Monkey Bar. The food was delicious, Mr. R. was pleased with the wine, service was excellent, and the room is an eye-popper.


    12 Replies
    1. re: RGR
      loratliff Mar 4, 2012 07:32 PM

      Question for you, RGR: did you find the room to be loud? I didn't think it was, but I'm not noise-sensitive. I'm considering it for a family dinner next month with one relative who, like you, doesn't like loud dining rooms.

      1. re: loratliff
        kathryn Mar 5, 2012 06:42 AM

        I'd love to hear more about this as well, as we're also considering it for a family dinner...

        1. re: kathryn
          Sneakeater Mar 5, 2012 09:57 AM

          I think the food is delicious.

          The room is not particularly loud.

          The decor, however, is a hoot.

          I recommend this restaurant pretty much without reservation -- especially for something like a family dinner.

          1. re: Sneakeater
            kathryn Mar 5, 2012 05:39 PM


        2. re: loratliff
          RGR Mar 5, 2012 12:07 PM

          We arrived around 9:30 on a Saturday night, and the room was full. I found the noise level to be very acceptable. I should note that we had one of the best tables, a large booth along the back wall. Surprised the heck out of us! I suppose the noise level could be higher if the room was dominated by loud diners, which wasn't the case the night we were there. One other thing. Tables emptied pretty early for a Saturday night. As you can see from my photos, by the time we left a little after 11 p.m., we were nearly the only ones left.


          1. re: RGR
            kathryn Mar 5, 2012 05:40 PM

            Thanks for the response, hopefully we can grab that same booth when we go.

            1. re: kathryn
              RGR Mar 5, 2012 05:46 PM

              How many people will be at your family dinner? The booths can accommodate up to six people.


              1. re: RGR
                kathryn Mar 5, 2012 05:47 PM

                Probably just four people!

                1. re: kathryn
                  RGR Mar 6, 2012 08:24 AM

                  Then perhaps you could request a booth when you reserve.


                  1. re: RGR
                    kathryn Mar 6, 2012 09:33 AM

                    That's the plan. Thanks!

                    1. re: kathryn
                      kathryn Mar 20, 2012 10:24 AM

                      I just heard back from a friend who went last night, who wrote to me, "I had a Monkey Gland cocktail, the scallops app, my standard Sancerre, the Berkshire pork main, and mousse. All were were good, especially the scallops and pork. Excellent service, atmosphere."

                      We'll be going in about a month from now, I'll definitely report back. If anything, I'm hoping the in-laws will LOVE the mural.

        3. re: RGR
          foodwhisperer Mar 5, 2012 05:39 PM

          My friend owned the Monkey Bar in LA, but I don't think it was related to this one

        4. Motosport Mar 5, 2012 02:35 PM

          My son and went recently and it was all excellent, food, ambience, service. Not loud at all. Very easy to hold a conversation.

          1. r
            RGR Mar 19, 2012 09:53 AM

            It sounds as though things may be going downhill: http://www.pinkpignyc.com/at_the_sign_of_the_pink_p/2012/03/mediocre-monkey-bar.html

            Damon Wise made it clear when he took over the kitchen that his real interest was opening his own restaurant, and those plans were already in motion. So, who knows how much time he is now spending at Monkey Bar?

            Also, .Belinda Chang, who was hired as the G.M. when the restaurant was revamped, left two months ago.


            That means she was probably gone when we ate there at the end of January. Unlike the service described in the linked review, ours was fine. However, it does sound as if her departure is now having negative consequences in that regard.


            1. e
              edwardspk Mar 19, 2012 10:20 AM

              We went to Monkey Bar last weekend. We do like the decor, and the service was good. However, the food was extremely average tasting but expensive. My angus beef dish (which was described by the server as having both sirloin and short rib - but only sirloin was delivered) was $40. When I inquired about the short rib, he acted surprised and went to investigate. When he never came back, i flagged him down to ask, and he said there had been a "miscommunication" between the kitchen and the servers. He didn't mention it when the bill came, but he had comped my glass of wine (which was a heavy pour and quite good), so I guess I can't begrudge the error. However, there are much better places to eat if you're going to spend that much on a meal. We won't be going back.

              Monkey Bar
              60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022

              1 Reply
              1. re: edwardspk
                Wilfrid Mar 19, 2012 11:24 AM

                I went to Monkey Bar last week too. The food I had was okay, but not destination-worthy. I didn't get cheese or dessert because service went totally AWOL after my entree was cleared and I eventually gave up.

                RGR linked to my review above.

              2. k
                kathryn Apr 19, 2012 07:37 PM

                We had a pleasant dinner at Monkey Bar tonight.

                The warm rolls to start were a nice touch; I only wish the butter was softer. We shared the larger size of the steak tartare to start. Tasty, well-seasoned, and served with a nice port reduction sauce. Solid.

                My rack of lamb was delicious and very fatty. Served with a single big spring onion that added a nice bit of contrast, as well as two small buckwheat crepes, filled with chopped, sautéed greens, and fried, which were OK. I preferred the spring onion. There were also some very nice wild mushroom caps, that had been sautéed as well. The lamb went very well with the mushrooms and spring onion.

                My husband really enjoyed his Rohan duck, served with some sort of sautéed greens as well, and kidney beans, as well as a chutney based sauce. This was also delicious. Portions were healthy.

                We also tried the smores pie with mint chocolate ice cream for dessert. Nice toasted marshmallow fluff on top. Very fresh tasting mint in the ice cream. This was good. By contrast, the beignets were a bit of a letdown. Too thick and chewy, and doused with powdered sugar, unlike the ones at the Bar Room at the Modern. The petit fours were excellent though -- tiny slices of pistachio cake with chocolate on top,

                Overall, we had a great time. The seating is very comfortable, and we loved having a booth by the back wall. Cocktails were excellent (I had the Chinese Daiquiri with Sriracha, ginger, and strawberries, while my husband tried the Elysian Special, with rum, Batavia Arrack, grilled pineapple, and lime). The decor is fantastic. The noise level is quite pleasant, and the dining room didn't get anywhere near noisy until about 9:30pm (the bar was packed when we arrived at 7:30pm). Big after-work crowd, I assume. Service was friendly, prompt, and efficient.

                My biggest complaint would probably be the menu. The online menu is totally out of date and the three dishes my friend had in mid-March (and recommended) weren't on there tonight. Also the entrees are listed as only coming with one accompaniment, when in reality they come with more and you don't need to order any sides.

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