My Saturday plans of feasting on shellfish at Flex Mussels with my parents were quashed by a 5 p.m. opening time and a very starving family at 3:30. But that wasn’t going to stop me from crossing another restaurant off my bucket list! So we headed to the Drunken Munkey in Yorkville – because that is by far the most amazing name for a restaurant that I've ever heard. Also because Indian food is exotic and exciting and they apparently have great cocktails!
The restaurant was super tiny, but the bar was really nice and the décor featured lots of monkeys, which I was totally digging. I was starved and dehydrated so I passed on the cocktail, but after asking the waiter for suggestions my dad ordered a Bramble- fresh blackberries, simple syrup, blackberry liquor, lemon and lots of gin! I tried a sip, of course, and it was DELICIOUS! I used his spoon/straw combo to pick out all the blackberry schmutz when he was finished.
(Sweet and refreshing Bramble!)
Since I gave up meat for Lent, I decided to order the Bagara Baigan – baby eggplant in a coconut curry.
The baby eggplants were so cute! But this dish was a little disappointing. I just felt like I was eating 4 baby eggplant that had been floating in a bowl of coconut curry. They didn’t really come together in the same way a curry with meat would have. I literally ate the eggplant and then used a spoon to eat the coconut curry like a soup (don’t get me wrong, the coconut curry was still delicious!) I was a little jealous of my parents Goan Pork Vindalu (hunks of pork in a spicy chili vinegar tomato sauce- too spicy for me though!) and Lamb Shank Rogan Josh (braised lamb, seasoning spices, tomato curry).
(Mom and Dad's meat-based curries may have had me a little jealous...)
Each dish was served with long grain ghee rice (with a cashew on top, yum!) and 4 pieces of naan.
Some of the naan was delicious and doughy while some pieces were a little too crunchy for my liking.
Either way, the naan and the rice are probably the reason I wasn’t completely in love with this meal- I try to stay clear of carbs.
My Bagara Baigan proably would have been much more enjoyable had a mixed my rice into the dish and scooped it up with naan, so I suppose that’s my own fault!
The table is also presented with a bunch of traditional Indian sides during the meal- raita (basically a tzatsiki yogurt sauce, which was great), lemon dal (a type of lentil soup that I thought was incredibly delicious and may have hoarded from my parents), pickled onion (strangely delicious in small bites), and a little pot of cucumber salad!
(I'm always a fan of extra stuff brought to the table! Clockwise: Lemon dal, raita, pickled onion, cucumber salad)
Of course- I didn’t stop with just ordering a meal. I had to have two sides as well. And they were probably my favorite part of the meal!
First was the Cauliflower Foogath (turmeric roasted cauliflower with cilantro and cumin) which was an amazing blend of some of my favorite spices! Second was the Chana Massala (chickpeas, mango powdered, black pepper, onion). I decided that I’m just going to order this from Drunken Munkey, put it in a pita at home, and voila dinner is served! It was delicious and I ate entirely too many chickpeas for one sitting but I didn’t really care.
My parents LOVED Drunken Munkey and were super excited by the meal.
I think my mental block against the rice and naan probably ruined my experience, but I thoroughly enjoyed the baby eggplant, lemon dal, Chana Masala and cauliflower…vegetables are great.
I will now order lemon dal whenever I see it on a menu, of that you can be sure!
Drunken Munkey has brunch on the weekends and pretty great hours, and you can also order from them online!