Review: Thelonious Monkfish

Sure-handed sushi, all jazzed up
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  May 16, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

Among obvious entrées, tamarind duck ($17) is a sure winner, with a crisped breast cooked medium-well (am I the only one who finds the rare duck breasts lack flavor?) with a sweet-sour-spicy glaze, a pile of fragrant Thai jasmine rice, and nicely sautéed collards. "Mad monk noodles" ($12) are supposed to be quite spicy, but mine barely rated one star, with shrimp, chicken, some vegetables, and fresh cilantro among the noodles in a generic Chinese stir-fry sauce. The "deep-blue sea hot pot," since renamed "Devil + the Deep Blue Sea" ($16) was a legitimate one-star spicy when we had it. It came to the table covered with a mop of cellophane noodles, but had good flavor with large and small shrimp, New Zealand mussels, calamari, scallops, asparagus, snow peas, phony crab (surimi), and another generic brown garlic sauce.

Beers are all bottled, but this takes little away from the Sierra Nevada "Torpedo" ($6), essentially a double IPA with the same distinct flavor of Cascade hops as the brewery's long-established pale ale. Interesting, La Fin du Monde ($9), Canada's answer to a Belgian triple ale, did not do so well with Asian food, despite a flavor profile of somewhat less hop aromatics and more coriander and orange peel. Cisco "Grey Lady" ($9), Nantucket's answer to a Belgian summer witbier, had similar coriander-seed flavor, but was lighter all over. Go for hops here.

Desserts were a pleasant surprise, especially top-notch fried bananas ($6), each wrapped in eggroll skin with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Ripe mango with black sticky rice ($6), the Thai dessert most attractive to outsiders, is here done decently, the rice enriched with sweetened coconut milk, and the mango pretty close to ripe.

Robert Nadeau can be reached at robtnadeau@aol.com.

THELONIOUS MONKFISH |524 MASS AVE, CAMBRIDGE | 617.441.2116 | THELONIOUSMONKFISH.COM | OPEN MONDAY–THURSDAY, 11:30 AM–10 PM; FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, 11:30 AM–11 PM; AND SUNDAY, 12–10 PM | AE, DI, MC, VI | BEER AND WINE | SIDEWALK-LEVEL ACCESS | NO VALET PARKING

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Restaurant Reviews, jazz, sushi,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ROBERT NADEAU
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   REVIEW: BONCHON  |  August 10, 2012
    What am I doing in this basement in Harvard Square, reviewing the second location of a multi-national franchise chain?
  •   REVIEW: CARMELINA'S  |  July 25, 2012
    After a good run with "Italian tapas" under the name Damiano (a play on the given name of chef-owner Damien "Domenic" DiPaola), this space has been rechristened as Carmelina's — after the chef's mother and his first restaurant, opened when he was an undergraduate in Western Mass — and the menu reconfigured to feature more entrées.
  •   REVIEW: TONIC  |  July 06, 2012
    Bad restaurant idea number 16: let's do a neighborhood bar-bistro where there already is one.
  •   REVIEW: HAPPY’S BAR AND KITCHEN  |  June 20, 2012
    In a year of bad restaurant ideas, one of the better bets is to have a successful fancy-food chef try a downscale restaurant.
  •   REVIEW: GENNARO'S 5 NORTH SQUARE  |  June 18, 2012
    In year of bad restaurant ideas (often done well), this the worst idea — and best meal — yet.

 See all articles by: ROBERT NADEAU