I didn’t know how Chinese Monkey Bar had become.
My friend Andy Battaglia and I were actually supposed to check out a relatively new restaurant last night, but it turns out the chef there was out of town, so we changed plans to see what Chris Cheung was up to. Chris replaced Patricia Yeo, who had been hired by the Glaziers, who own Monkey Bar, to revamp the menu of this formerly old school Midtown bar and restaurant.
Andy admired the restaurant’s walls, which had been painted red with Chinese-style scenes, many involving monkeys, as is appropriate for Monkey Bar, while I assessed the menu.
Everything is served family-style, and although probably only the potstickers were actually Chinese, Chris' style of using Chinese ingredients and techniques, plus some Southeast Asian ones, in Western-looking preparations was more evident than I'd expected. And the food was some of the spiciest I’ve had in Midtown. Who knew?
Here’s what we ate:
Kaffir lime leaf curried chicken salad
Salad of baby vegetables with chile lime dressing
mini short rib spring rolls with truffled Sriracha sauce
classic Cantonese shrimp and pork potstickers
crispy duck breast, lychee, mandarin oranges and Sriracha hoisin
wok seared sirloin steak, chile, garlic and creamed chrysanthemum spinach