Great and solid American fare awaits you in Midtown at Monkey Bar, the storied restaurant opened since 1936. This spot famous for its celebrity clientele, was purchased in 2009 by Graydon Carter and his team, and he smartly brought on restaurateur Ken Friedman to help revamp the place. With a charming bar up front, and a spacious dining room in back, with a showstopping mural by Ed Sorel, paying homage to the Jazz Age, it's the perfect Midtown joint to feast on Chef Damon Wise's awesome cuisine.
Start with the wonderful complimentary Parker House rolls, (you'll know these from one of Mr. Friedman's other joints-The John Dory Oyster Bar)then try an appetizer of braised pork belly ($21), crispy oyster, and Hatch chile kimchee, the perfect bridge of land and sea. Sweet, spicy, salty, and wonderful. Pork belly shows up on most menus in NYC nowadays, this was one of the best I've had. I fell in love with this dish.
Smoked fettucine ($24), with uni, Hackleback caviar, and pickled shallot, was fabulous. The perfectly cooked pasta was the ship for that caviar and uni. The sea was in my mouth that night. The saltiness just right.
Don't skip dessert at Monkey Bar, my chocolate mousse was fantastic.