ABA @ Monk's Cafe : The Soul of Belgium in the Heart of Philadelphia
I'm not gonna lie. I wasn't aware of this places existence, and I'm kinda happy that I didn't. I loved seeing and being able to experience this lovely nook from a place of unsuspecting wonder. I loved being the one taken somewhere rather than be the one leading the charge. I loved being influenced myself. So with that note, either read and enjoy my experience through the medium of my keyboard and my canvas of www. OR you can click out (no hard feelings) and make your own first person tale at Monk's on your next trip to Philly.
ANYWAY - let's set the scene of this slice of heaven...
Monk's Cafe is located at 264 S. 16th Street in Philadelphia. It's off of Rittenhouse Square and a short, short walk from the 15/16th St & Locust St Station PATCO stop. It's got a yellow, black, and red awning over it's brick walls. Monk's is written in yellow/gold in an ol' English type font to give rich character. It's welcoming, and obviously branded, but also feels like a little secret.
I'd say the front wasn't large by square foot measurements. Maybe five four-tops and a few two-tops with a six-seater bar? And I was ready to grab a table right in the midst of it. But my company asked the hostess to be seated in the back. So off we went, through the main space, past the bathrooms, and down a thin hallway. ADA compliant? Unsure and probably wouldn't test that to be safe..but down the narrow hall we went. It opened to a back bar of it's own. Monk's 2.0? I love hidden gems and it felt like I was inside of one. I've been told that the back bar has beers and bottles that the front fails to offer so for lack of a better term, PUR SLAY.
Monk's Tap List is ever changing which is a beautiful thing for both the eyes, ears, and mouth. Their Bottle List is more consistent in their options which is good to know going into trips. I could rant and rave about everything that we tried on the excursion but the list that we ordered from is far gone. I was also so engulfed in 1) my work from home tasks eek (they have wonderful wifi BTW) and 2) I wanted to be more present in the experience sooo I ended up not be taking beer notes. I was off duty from ABA-ing. However, I was lucky enough to be in the presence of a certified beer judge whom also has a better working drinking memory than I do :
I'm thankful for the brews, ambiance, good cheers, and great service. And humbled to go with someone who knows six times as much about beer than me - which adds to my own rolodex of knowledge. I would apologize for not taking beer notes but honestly, I'm glad. I was more present than rapidly typing my usual non-sense and searching my palate for notes.
Oh and for the menu? How could I have forgotten to mention? I wasn't going to be a child and get chicken fingers, so the second best option was...CLEARLY - frog legs. For those that know me personally or have been following for a hot second, you can already guess what panic settled in after ordering said hippity-hoppers. Yes, bones. I'll wear my bobcat bone necklace daily but you put bones in front of me and expect me to suck on them?! uhh I think not. Alas, those Kermit walkers arrived to the table and I'm not gonna be a little b*tch so I had to give it a shot. I did need my plus one to remove the meat from the skeleton structure but I'm still considering myself brave for witnessing the procedure. I'm not even weak over eating frog; it's the cannibalistic tendency of eating meat directly from a bone that gets me. WHATEVER. Frog legs are gamier than chicken but still less chewy than alligator and if you can understand that, bless your heart. Despite my personal feelings on the dish - they were prepared wonderfully and the sauce to accompany the protein was *chef's kiss*.
Overall, Monk's Cafe, you're a gem and a place that I will be stopping in during every Philadelphia trip. Last time was for The Front Bottoms...maybe I'll be back for the Bayside show in March?