Monk Spunk

The Old Monk is mostly about beer, but its mussels aren't bad either

The interior of The Old Monk is outfitted in woods of varying degrees of wear and significance. Tables come in diverse shapes: from rectangular to square to circular, most of them deeply scuffed. Wooden stools hug little table rims wrapped around building posts and hugging exposed brick walls. Other barstools are clumsily clustered around barrels, adding earthiness to the bar seating. Some of the paneling in this dark beer hub comes from confessional booths.

Open for roughly five years, the Old Monk is mostly about beer; brews from 10 or so countries including England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and the United States are crowded inside the menu. Old Monk also has a decent collection of ciders, vodkas, tequilas, gins and American whiskeys in case you need something to chase.

But unlike most pubs and bars, the Old Monk has been able to plunk down some decent grub alongside its heady brews. It has even become semi-famous for a decidedly un-bar-like dish: Belgian-style steamed mussels in white ale, shallots, garlic, herbs and slices of celery. The mussels are mostly tasty, and the Belgian brew is good to soak up with a side of French bread. Yet the dish is infected with far too many off-tasting shellfish, the kind that make you grit your teeth as they go down.

Location Info

Map

The Old Monk

2847 Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Details

214-821-1880. Open 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 12 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday & Sunday. $

Fried calamari: $5.50
Belgian-style steamed mussels: $7.95
Fish and chips: $8
Roast beef sandwich: $6.50

2847 Henderson Ave.

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Fried calamari arrives as a pile of rings coated with a light batter and a zesty marinara dipping sauce spiked with pepper. But overall, those rings suffer from a petroleum drenching, the kind that leaves a sheen on your fingertips and a strange rumble in the gut. Much better (no noticeable excess grease) is the fish and chips, lightly coated and crisp with moist, flaky strips of fish huddled inside. Plus, the side of steak fries was moist and crisp--not at all drenched in oil.

Monk's beef sandwich, parked next to those same steak fries, is delicious. Sheets of beef are jammed into a French roll that is wiped with a smear of horseradish sauce. A ramekin of jus is provided for dipping. Although the beef was mostly cooked well, some patches of pink blush peeked from amongst the graying folds, and the flavors were good. The Monk also offers nibble plates: a cheese board, a selection of German sausages and potato salad and a ploughman's lunch.

The Old Monk may not fully engage your palate or nourish your gullet, but if you approach it with the right glint in your eye and a diligent thirst, it might just go ahead and nourish your soul.

 
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