Fatemeh | Oct 12, 200112:42 AM     2

As I'm sure most 'hounds did, we decided to take advantage of the October 11 benefit affair, and go to dinner on a weeknight (rare).

About the only place I could get in and actually wanted to try was Cafe Monk. It wasn't TOP of my list, but seemed like a good excuse to try it. I can definitely say I'll be back.

A short word about ambiance - kinda loud. That's it. Service was fine, even with the busyness of the evening. Beautiful space, but it's a high-ceiling loft space; you get the drift.

A fairly small wine list, but they had several nice selections by the half-bottle. We ordered a Franus (sp?) '98 zin; '98 wasn't really that great a year, but this was a superb wine for $20/375ml.

Started with mussels & manila clams in a red pepper vinaigrette - YUM. Really outstanding combination of flavors, with a few capers and some cilantro sprinkled in there. Just very fresh. And quite a generous portion.

Next came my porkchop. This is quite possibly the best chop I have ever eaten... no small feat. But I don't exaggerate. Tender, buttery (how often can you describe pork as being "buttery"??). Lightly pepper-crusted and mesquite grilled (wood-fire cooking seems to be their specialty). Served with a delectable homemade applesauce and a potato "latke" type thing, made with carmelized onions and plenty of butter. Again, YUM.

The S.O. got the wood seared rare albacore - quite an interesting preparation. It was tuna nicoise, except warm and an "entree". A few nice kalamatas, beautiful heirloom tomatoes, french beans and a boiled egg. Unfortunately, the fish seemed a bit too fishy for my taste, though it was quite fresh. Personally, I don't ever serve tuna w/tomato as I think it upps the fishy flavors. But he really enjoyed it.

We had to pass on desert, but they had a few things which seemed interesting (scharffenberger chocolate cake, in particular). They also had one of my favorite tawnys, A Niepoort Colheita, '86. Wound up w/a glass of that. God's nectar, as usual - and it hadn't even been open too long.

We wandered upstairs after dinner. I'm definitely going back, but I will request a table in the upstairs nook. A little more quiet.

Actually, this might be a nice place for a chowhound dinner - they have a great big communal dining table in the middle of the room which seats about 35!

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

9 Veggies You Can Grow in a Fall Garden & Why It Pays to Be a Late Bloomer
Food News

9 Veggies You Can Grow in a Fall Garden & Why It Pays to Be a Late Bloomer

by Anna Hecht | Planning on tending a fall garden? Didn't even know you could do that? Here are the best things to...

13 Essential Apple Recipes for Fall
Recipe Round-Ups

13 Essential Apple Recipes for Fall

by Chowhound Editors | There are so many things to love about autumn rolling around again, especially apple season. Make...

Ready, Set, Watch: 'The Great British Baking Show' Is Back This Week
Food Trends

Ready, Set, Watch: 'The Great British Baking Show' Is Back This Week

by Jen Wheeler | In this tumultuous year of oh Lord 2020, many of us are looking for any silver linings we can find...

Star Gifts for Fans of 'The Great British Baking Show'

Star Gifts for Fans of 'The Great British Baking Show'

by Jen Wheeler | If you know a fan of The Great British Baking Show (aka, GBBS, GBBO, or The Great British Bake Off...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.