Food Porn: Blue Monk

source: buffalodrinks.blogspot.com/

The amount of hype for Blue Monk, before they even served a drink or cooked a dinner, was insane this year.  It started in February with an article on Buffalo Rising about how the family that owns Cole’s were going to open a beer garden/gastropub.  That got me excited because I love good beer.  Then during this season’s Nickel City Chef, Blue Monk’s head chef Dino DeBell challenged Torches JJ Richert and showed off his creative skills.  That got me excited because I love good, creative food.  Then Blue Monk created a facebook account and started talking about their beer selection and it was even better then I originally thought.  Soon after in a facebook status, they posted the menu and I was thrilled that Buffalo would have their first proper Gastropub.

Needless to say, my expectations were extremely high and I hadn’t even taken a step into the building, let alone a bite of their food.  But I was impressed seeing with a menu filled with items like a Duck Confit Rueben, Charcuterie Plate and a Ommegang Rare Vos Braised Short Rib Sandwich.  Not only that, but all of the early impressions that I had read online were glowing.  Food critics were writing about how great their menu was and beer critics were raving about the variety and quality of beer they were serving.  So not too long after Blue Monk opened their kitchen, Alli and I decided to try their hyped menu out.  Here’s how our visit went:…

When you walk into the Blue Monk you see this huge chalkboard with a list of 30 amazing microbrews/imports that are currently on tap (this is along with their vast bottle selection).  This beer list isn’t for the cheap beer drinkers, as it is filled with some high end Belgian beers and you’ll be dropping anywhere from $6 to $9 per glass.  I ended up ordering Voodoo Brewery’s White Magick of the Sun, which was a smooth wheat ale with a cloudy finish and that fruity/tangy taste that I love in summer ale’s.

We were originally expecting a 45 minute wait, which was OK because there was a Sabres game on that I could watch while we waiting for our name to be called.  Luckily, the wait ended up being roughly 25 minutes and we took a seat upstairs (Blue Monk’s tables/eating area is on the second floor).  We had looked over that menu on facebook over and over, and although I probably could have ordered the entire menu, due to limited funds, we kept our selections to an appetizer and 2 sandwiches.

We started the meal with their Duck Frites (Fries) and selected three dipping sauces.  After debating over their various sauces we ended up choosing their Siracha Mayo (spicy, amazing,and my favorite), Smoke Chili Ketchup and their Roasted Garlic & Sea Salt Aioli.  We’ve eaten a lot of French Fries over the last 2 years, and while these weren’t the absolute greatest we’ve ever had, they were definitely near the top of the list.  The duck fat gives the french fry that extra layer of crisp and flavor and their dipping sauces were great (you have roughly 6 to choose from).  The Siracha Mayo really stuck out, something that’s so simple to make really was a perfect match for these fries.  It wasn’t an over powering flavor or heat, just something to enhance the flavor.  The fries themselves had a great crunch on the outside and a soft, fluffy interior (basically the ideal texture of a french fry).

Alli then ordered their Grilled Cheese sandwich ($8.50) and opted to add some apple-wood bacon (for an extra $2).  With every sandwich you also get their house made chips which also go great with their various dipping sauces.  Now this isn’t just any boring Grilled Cheese, Blue Monk makes theirs with Smokey Blue Cheese, Aged Gouda and Gruyere.  Alli was impressed with the sandwich, though she did comment that at times the blue cheese was slightly overwhelming.  While she enjoys blue cheese, for those of you who do not, this sandwich may not be for you.  That said, she mostly raved about the homemade chips.  For anyone who enjoys russet style kettle chips, you will love these.  Also fried in duck fat, they were warm, crispy, and extremely flavorful.  You can also order these as a appetizer and we definitely recommend them while you are enjoying a beer or three at the bar.

I ordered their Blue Monk Burger ($ 11) which came out nice and juicy (medium).  A generous amount of blue cheese covered the burger and a decent amount of caramelized onions that were sweet and almost tasted liked candy.  The burger wasn’t the best I ever had but the quality of it’s toppings, a really well cooked burger and a toasted  bun justified the price tag.

In a world where I could have had endless amounts of cash, I would have ordered one of the more adventurous items.  Maybe I didn’t properly enjoy the full “gastropub” effect from Blue Monk but I did enjoy their Duck Fries and I ordered myself a great beer.  I’d love to go back and try out several of their beers, their meat and cheese plates, and really make an entire night out of it.  Our service was pretty standard as the waitress came back to check on us several times and even gave us the 3rd dipping sauce for free.  The wait ended up being far less then they originally said and even though the bar was packed we didn’t have to wait long for a drink.

There is was/is an incredible amount of hype for this restaurant and while I wasn’t blown away by our experience, I have a feeling as I continue to visit and try more and more of their food/beer I will become one of their biggest fans.  Even though their menu is most likely going to change over time, as of right now they are offering some things you can’t find in Buffalo.  Their beer selection might already be the best in Buffalo and if you are a Belgian Beer fan you HAVE to check it out.  As of right now they currently don’t have a website and if you want their full menu you will have to do some searching on their facebook page.  They also are not taking reservations, so if you are going on a Friday/Saturday night you should expect some waiting.  But just grab an amazing beer to kill the time.

Blue Monk on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Food Porn: Blue Monk

  1. rick criden

    torches not torche’s

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