I felt like I was on the Orient Express while at Drunken Munkey. (FYI – that’s a good thing.) The bar area, in particular, is filled with Old World curios that reflect the English colonization of India like a gramophone and cricket paddles. The bartender, with his handlebar mustache, really helped sell that vibe.
Speaking of the bar, this place has some great cocktails (many with gin since it’s a favorite English spirit) that put an Indian spin on the classics. While I’m not typically into gin, I went with the Bombay Gin Fizz (jasmine tea-infused Hendricks Gin, house-made cucumber puree, fresh lemon juice, gomme, club soda). It was a delicious little sipper. All the cocktails looked very good, but unfortunately I was battling a terrible headache and nursed my one drink throughout the evening. I’ll have to make my way back so I can try the other cocktails, which shouldn’t be a problem because I’d also like to work my way through the rest of their food menu.
We didn’t intend to get an appetizer, but when we saw the couple next to us get the chili cheese toast, we couldn’t resist. It’s so simple (toasted white bread topped with chili, mild white cheddar, and parsley) but SO satisfying. This is like a spicier, slightly elevated version of my standard after school snack growing up.
For entrées, Ash and I both got the prix fixe because the deal seemed pretty amazing. For $39 you get any entrée, a side dish, and a cocktail/wine. Considering entrées are an average of $20, this works out to be a good deal. The portions are quite ample, too. Ash got the butter chicken masala with crispy fried okra. I didn’t try the butter chicken, but the okra was a great, crunchy snack of the betcha-can’t-eat-just-one variety.
I got the saag paneer with a side of mushroom bhaji. There could have been a little more paneer in the dish, but the flavors were great. Loved the mushrooms. I also like that the prix fixe includes naan and raita. Those items seemed less traditional (the naan was thinner than normal and the raita was thicker/more herbacious than normal), but I actually really liked their version.
Drunken Munkey isn’t doing modern Indian, but it is serving up classic dishes in a much cooler atmosphere than you’re probably used to. While my favorite Indian is probably still in our old Curry Hill neighborhood, this is much closer to our new neighb and has a cooler bar scene (this place is open and cranking out food late – bonus!). I’d say it’s won the prize for my fave Uptown Indian spot.