Drunken Monkey – Cramped but Craveworthy

Let’s be very clear about something:

I love Indian food. All kinds of Indian food. Mild, spicy, Northern, Southern, pork vindaloo and vegan channa masala.

So if the restaurant is Indian, I am predisposed to like it.

Spoiler alert – I had a blast at Drunken Monkey.

Make a reservation, leave your bulky coat at home, don’t expect fast service, and anticipate being crammed in like sardines.

If it sounds like I didn’t enjoy my experience, than I have mislead you…because I had a great time. 

20141121_193657 The restaurant is minuscule and it’s really more of a bar with food than vice versa. It is REALLY small…cramped…a wee bit uncomfortable, even.

But also really fun. Loud. Boisterous. Buzzy and filled with laughter and intoxicating aromas wafting out from the kitchen.  20141121_193700 It’s a great spot to jump start the weekend.
20141121_200109 Army and Navy

This craft cocktail bar earns its stripes with this one gin based libation alone. It’s almost like a lemony Creamsicle cocktail. Light, creamy, citrusy, and sweet. I could drink it for dessert, but it works as an aperitif as well. I drank 2 of them over the course of the night and though I couldn’t detect the taste of alcohol, they didn’t skimp on it at all. Just ask my ‘hair of the dog’ Saturday morning Bloody Marys.
20141121_204138 Batata sev puri

You either love or hate these hollow crackers filled with tamarind water, chickpeas, and other ingredients. I love them – these aren’t spicy enough but they are sweet with the tamarind water and fragrant with cilantro. Pop them into your mouth all ant once and quickly, before they get soggy. The whole point here is to savor the difference in textures and temperatures – it’s ruined if you don’t eat it quickly.  20141121_204539 Tandoori chicken

The finest I have had outside of merry olde London town. It arrives in juicy, sizzling hunks on a plate hot enough to blister your skin on contact. It’s so incredibly tender and juicy that it seems to be dark meat, but it’s white – clean flavored with a charred, crispy outside. Dip it in the sweet and spicy sauces alongside for some of the best chicken you are likely to enjoy anywhere in the vicinity.  20141121_204801 Mutton kebabs

Hold the line, these are sublime. Coarsely ground sausages that are flavored with all of the best Indian flavors – fragrant coriander, smoky cumin, spicy garlic, and sweet onions. They are juicy and almost sticky on the outside with the mutton’s own fat. It’s earthy but not gamy – just like a very deep, complex lamb. This was my favorite dish of the night.  20141121_211525 Butter chicken

This is one of my favorite dishes of all time. Murgh makhani is where it’s AT. This is mild, creamy, and a little sweet – a great dish with which to introduce someone to Indian food. A creamy tomato sauce infused with garlic, cumin, and onions with soft, juicy pieces of chicken. The sauce is addictive, perfect to spoon over the basmati rice and warm, puffy naan served alongside.

The whole experience is rather intoxicating. It’s not relaxing, the service is SLOWWWW (though the servers are great, they are just always slammed), and dinner is pretty pricey. But it’s fun, the drinks are wonderful, and the food is delicious.

What more could you want on a Friday night?