Sep 2006

Monk's Cafe – Philadelphia

September 9, 2006
Cuisine: Burgers, Belgian, Other

264 S 16th St, Philadelphia 19102
Between Latimer St & Spruce St

Phone: 215-545-7005

Appetizer: Monk’s Mussels prepared “Ghent” style – Saison Dupont, fume, parsley, caramelized leeks, bacon, bleu cheese & garlic. Served with frites, bourbon mayonnaise, and bread rolls.

Entree I: Monk’s Burger with Monk Topping – caramelized leeks & blue cheese in between a roll from the Metropolitan Bakery.

Entree II: Steak Frites Salad – sirloin steak (grilled to order) over baby greens served with fresh cut frites.

After so much superb eating this week, I was a bit disappointed by dinner at Monk’s Cafe. The food was good, but not great which is somewhat understandable given that Monk’s is better known for their 200+ beers on tap. However, prior to my visit I had heard many positive things about their food, especially the mussels. I found the mussels to be very average. The Ghent preparations did not penetrate the mussels so they just ended up tasting like mussels, which isn’t terrible but did not meet my expectations. The bread that accompanied the mussels were not ideal for dipping. Crostini is definitely a better mussel complement due to the crunch factor. The frites were tasty, as was the bourbon mayo dipping sauce, even though I usually steer clear of mayo.

The Astronomer ordered the Monk Topped burger that I thought was pretty decent. The fixins (cheese and leeks) were fantastic, but the burger itself seemed a bit dry. I like my burgers juicy like the Kobe Beef Sliders from Barclay Prime. Additionally, the hamburger patty was smaller than the bun which is a big no no. The actual bun was alright, but could’ve been softer.

For my entree I ordered the Steak Frites Salad. The steak was prepared rare (just the way I like it) and the greens and dressing were fine. The salad was exactly what I expected; nothing more, nothing less.

Since I’m not a beer connoisseur and found the food just average, Monk’s Cafe will most likely be a one time deal.

Monk's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sep 2006

Audrey Claire – Philadelphia

September 2, 2006
Cuisine: American (New), Tapas

276 S 20th Street, Philadelphia 19103
Between Rittenhouse Square & Spruce Street

Phone: 215-731-1222

Course I: Grilled flatbread – Spicy Hummus, House Cured Salmon and Mesclun w/herb vinaigrette

Course II: Goat cheese and leek tart with a polenta crust.

Course III: Pork tenderloin (but of course!) with a sesame and fig puree served with a lentil salad and haricot verts.

Audrey Claire was recommended by Professor Caskey back at Swarthmore. I loved the flatbread immensely even though smoked salmon is pretty common. By the way, flatbread refers to a pizza-like concoction much like Mario Batalli’s at Otto – extremely thin crust with fixins. The tart was a bit too heavy for me. The goat cheese needed to be balanced out by something more complex than leeks and polenta. The cooks did drizzle a balsalmic glaze around the plate, but it wasn’t really enough to counter balance the strong cheese. The Astronomer enjoyed the majority of the tarts. The final course was divine. The pork was so moist and tender and the fig puree offered a fruity pairing that really worked.

Audrey Claire is competing with Melograno to be my favorite restaurant within a two block radius of my apartment.

Audrey Claire on Urbanspoon