After a meeting nearby, my colleague and I wanted to duck into the new Poke Lab to grab a bite, but the line looked formidable and all the seats were taken. So we headed down the block to the Old Monterey Cafe. I'd not been here before. It's often mentioned as a breakfast spot and has been a fixture since the mid-80s. The walls are decorated with even older comic books.
I was jazzed to see a Monte Cristo, $9.25, on the menu. Ordered with salad instead of the accompanying fries, I was treated to some water-logged and not very fresh iceberg lettuce. Skip that. The Monte Cristo was not bad, dusted with powder sugar, garnished with unripe strawberries, and served with generic syrup. No preserves or cranberry sauce. The batter was quite thin and it was light on cheese. Still, it was fun to revisit this piece of mid-century Americana.
My friend ordered the chicken salad sandwich on toasted sourdough that included fries, $7.25. We swapped some, giving me a chance to try it. The chicken tasted freshly cooked and it was mildly seasoned if a bit heavy on mayo. Fries were the battered type for more crispness. I'd be more likely to order this than the Monte Cristo if I wind up here again.
This place is popular too and tables stayed full while we were there. What do 'hounds recommend at Old Monterey Cafe?
Old Monterey Cafe
489 Alvarado St
Monterey, CA 93940