Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Monk's Cafe: Philadelphia

Monk's has been on my to-try lists for quite some time now and I'm happy to have finally tried it out.

I ended up going by myself on a weekday night, past when most places have already closed up shop. Fortunately the kitchen at Monk's is open to 1 am, so I was all good to go.

The bustling atmosphere seemed to be mostly people coming for drinks after work, but my waitress seemed happy to serve this oddball dining party of one.

And I apologize in advance for the dreadful photos, but it was pretty dark in there and I had only managed to bring my cell phone.

Koningshoeven Dubbel - Being a complete novice to the beer world, I asked for the waitress's recommendation for a Belgian Trappist brew and she served me this, Koningshoeven Dubbel. Having never had German or Belgium beer before, this stuff was pretty eye-opening: almost sweet, smelling like a dark chocolate sucker candy, somewhat light and a slight dark fruit thing (currant) going on. I'll leave it to more knowledgeable folk to provide more insight. Oh and bonus, here's someone's better-lit picture of the bottle and glass and just for fun, a thread on someone's lucky break in finding some uber-cheap bottles of this at Big Lots.

Monk Burger - Interesting choice for bun, a very neutral tasting, fairly dense roll (I know they mentioned on the menu, but are these ciabatta rolls?), as opposed to the more buttery and softer brioche buns served at Loie and Good Dog. As Laban and others have pointed out, I also found there was just a little too much bun for the burger, especially the top one.

Beyond the bun, the flavor of the blue cheese seemed to fade into the background, despite it having a decent bite if you ate it by itself.

The shoestring fries were towards the limp side and a touch on the salty side, but served with a quite tartar mayonnaise, with chunks of pickle(?) (Is this an aioli? I get confused). Not sure if it was the tartar skewing my palette, but I swear there was almost a seafood/mussel flavor. (Btw, Hollyeats points at that shoestring fries aren't exactly authentic for Belgium. As I've never been to Belgium, I'm honestly just happy with well-done fries.)

Wow, this is a terrible photo. Google images has some better ones.

All in all, the Monk Burger is not a bad burger by any means with some solid quality ingredients. While I personally like brioche buns better, with the great beer selection at this place, I think I'll probably be switching between Monk's and other burger places based on my mood.

Monk's Cafe
16th & Spruce St. Philadelphia PA (Map)
215-545-7005 | Yelp
($Burgers / Hot Dogs, $Philadelphia)

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