Sunday, July 24, 2011
Blue Monk – Belgian Inspired Tap-Room and Restaurant
727 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, New York 14222
Hours of Operation:
A Belgian inspired establishment with a Belgian menu and 32 Belgian, European, and American craft tap beers as well as a tremendous list of bottled beers!
After enjoying the evening at the Bisons game, where I received my free ‘The Aud’ replica, my friend, Jessyca, and I decided to use one of her ‘Buffalo Dining Out’ cards. The options included places like Sample, Coles, The Wine Thief, Scarlet, Blue Monk, and Bullfeathers. The hard decision ended up being Blue Monk. When arriving, there was a wait to sit outside, so we sat inside. The waitress was very accommodating by allowing us to sit a table near an air vent, as it was very hot in there. The choices of beers were extensive, but after examining the list, I asked for Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier which is easily translated as hefeweizen. Unfortunately, they were out of it, so I was given two samples of beers that were practically synonymous of the hef. I was content.
We started by getting ‘Frito Misto’ off of the appetizer list. The menu describes it as “arborio crusted calamari, shrimp, onions, olives and lemon with mustard seed vinaigrette.” Let’s just say that it was delectable! There was an abundance of perfectly breaded shrimp. The calamari was tossed in with the onion, which I thought was a great twist. The only element that I didn’t care for were the olives, but that is attributed to the fact that I don’t like olives! Overall, it was a great dish!
For our meals, we both shared some sandwiches. Jessyca got the ‘Duck Confit Rueben’ which is slow cooked duck, red kraut, Gruyère and dijonaisse on grilled marbled rye. I am very intrigued by the flavor of duck, which was hard to identify in this sandwich because rye, kraut, and dijonaisse has such strong flavors. Regardless, I knew what we ordered and, as being some-what Irish, I love Ruebens. The texture, however, was different than corned-beef, was much more healthy, and yummy! The sandwich was very pleasing.
I love grilled cheese, and I also love gourmet cheeses, so I, obviously, got the ‘Grilled Cheese’ which was two pieces of large flavorful bread stuffed with Beemster aged Gouda, Gruyère and smokey bleu cheese. It was served with chips, in which my friend described as “eating salty air.” You can’t really go wrong with grilled cheese, but the abundance of melted cheese was fulfilling and satisfying!
I can’t wait to stop in again to try some of the other items on the menu, i.e. ‘Artisinal Cheese Plate’ (selection of domestic and foreign cheeses, breads, nuts and preserves), the ‘Breads & Spreads’ (three daily spreads with an assortment of artisinal bread) and the ‘Ommegang Rare Vos Braised Short Rib Sandwich’ (torpedo roll, fresh horseradish, New York white cheddar and Ommengang Abbey Ale caramelized onions).
The service was great, the food was delivered promptly, and the prices ranged from fair to high. I just hope that next time it is a little cooler in there!
I give it 5 out of 5 Buffalos!