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The Monk Room, Newark

njfreqflyer Jan 18, 2014 08:25 AM

Now open. From the folks who run Porta in Asbury Park. The Newark venue is around the corner from the Prudential Center and across the street from Newark City Hall.

http://themonkroom.com/
https://www.facebook.com/themonkroom

20 Green St
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 368 2771

  1. njfreqflyer Jan 18, 2014 08:31 AM

    I stopped in for a quick dinner last week. Super staff, nice looking room, plenty of exposed brick, great food. I had a "Caprazy" ($8) starter of fresh mozzarella and fire roasted tomatoes, and a "14 1/2" pizza ($16) with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and homemade ricotta. Both were very good.

    No octopus on the menu yet, but according to a post by tommy:eats, The Monk Room has tweeted that it may be coming soon:

    http://www.tommyeats.com/tommyeats/2014/01/the-monk-room-in-newark-from-the-porta-people.html

    https://twitter.com/TheMonkRoom/statu...

    Great addition to the area. They're open for lunch and dinner now, and considering brunch.

    1. e
      ELA Jan 20, 2014 01:06 PM

      Nice, up and coming area...more improvements, new places, etc...and the Rock is attracting some very nice events. The nearby PAC also has some new things going on and the improvements are "spreading" from different directions.

      I had a few friends stop by -- and everyone liked it. Good reviews. Might stop in one night before a Devils game. Thanks again.

      1. Curlz Jan 20, 2014 04:11 PM

        What's the parking situation?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Curlz
          njfreqflyer Jan 25, 2014 07:25 AM

          Well on a mid-week (and non event) night, I parked curb-side on the street pretty much right in front of the restaurant for free. Plenty of pay-lots within a block or so given its closeness to the Prudential Center.

        2. Curlz Feb 23, 2014 09:18 AM

          I've now been to The Monk Room three times...twice for (late) weekend lunches where I was one of a handful of customers, and once on a Saturday night (where I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the place was hopping!).

          I am THRILLED to have what I've dubbed "mini-Porta" (see the thread on Porta in Asbury Park if you're not yet familiar with it, b/c you NEED to know about it) in northern NJ, and early this spring, another Porta is opening in Jersey City (with, I'm told, two bars AND a bocce court on the rooftop)! These are restaurants/owners/chefs who are serious about VERY good food. Neopolitan pizzas, interesting (and huge) salads, pastas, and creative cocktails abound.

          Since I'm familiar with Porta's menu items, my go-to is always the pan-roasted octopus. At The Monk Room, I've now had it two ways...first, over polenta with slightly crispy kale and a buerre blanc; most recently, over squid ink papardelle with capers (a nod towards the version they serve in Asbury). Note that they don't *always* have octopus, but 2 out of 3 times tells me it sells, so hopefully that will change. The pizzas are consistently wonderful--you can't go wrong with the carbonara, which has guanciale, black pepper, parm, and a fried egg on top. But then there's the 14 1/2, which has hot sopressata and calabrian chiles...oh, my!

          Service, as it is at Porta, is excellent; the folks behind these restaurants are hiring people who care about what they're doing and about what they're serving, and it just adds to the experience every time.

          This is an exciting new spot for Newark. GET YOURSELF OVER THERE! Very easy to get to via Rt. 21, and it's a block from the Pru Center.

          www.themonkroom.com

          ETA: There are spots along one side of the block on Lafayette St, but there is also a huge (pay) lot available--with a side door into the restaurant.

          1. c
            coldbeer Feb 24, 2014 06:30 AM

            There was a 30min wait for a table at Porta yesterday at 3:00 in the afternoon. In Asbury Park. In February. And the place is huge. Amazing. On a Sunday. In February.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coldbeer
              Curlz Feb 24, 2014 06:35 AM

              That's because IT'S THAT GOOD!!

            2. e
              ELA Feb 24, 2014 06:50 AM

              Looks like a limited menu...but if it's good, that's a very good thing. As I said, up and coming, improving area, etc.

              I haven't stopped in yet, but I will.

              I have a business lunch in Newark coming up, but this place just isn't suitable for this lunch...but I'll get there. Thanks again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ELA
                Curlz Feb 24, 2014 07:28 AM

                Yes, the menu is still a bit limited as they settle in and find good purveyors up here, but trust me--you won't go hungry! :-). Agree it's not right for a business lunch. For that I'd head to Adega Grill or Nico at NJPAC.

                1. re: Curlz
                  e
                  ELA Feb 24, 2014 07:39 PM

                  Thanks...so you think those two are a good bet? I've been to Nico once and really don't remember a lot about it. I was pretty focused on the meeting, LOL.

                  Maybe I'll post another thread -- thanks again.

              2. TomT Feb 24, 2014 03:38 PM

                Sitting here now waiting for my boy's hockey game to start. Nice tap beer collection, started with a Stone IpA and an Old Rasputin. Pizza was great, not having been to Porta I can't compare but having lost my Frank Pepe virginity last weekend I can say this is a nice Neapolitan pie. Had the 14 1/2 which is pretty heavy on ingredients and the crust held up well. Nice char , but not overwhelming. Nice to have another option in the neighborhood. Love Dinosaur but a pizza is a pizza. :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: TomT
                  Curlz Feb 24, 2014 05:00 PM

                  The 14 1/2 is an AWESOME pizza...I just ate my last leftover slice, in fact! :-)
                  The pizza there compares PERFECTLY to the pizza at Porta, b/c they brought their A team to Newark! For the record, the salads are also excellent, as were the meatballs.

                2. Curlz Feb 28, 2014 06:18 PM

                  Pete Genovese hit The Monk Room, and although I'm shocked to read that he doesn't know better--you just don't get Neapolitan pizza TO GO--I was happy to see he STILL enjoyed it!

                  http://www.nj.com/dining/2014/02/the_...

                  I'm also pretty sure that the pic in the article is mislabeled--that looks like the eggplant pizza, not the 14 1/2, but what do I know?

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