After checking out the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Utica Comets game with our friends John and Jenn (we won’t tell you who we were rooting for), we left with a thirst and hunger. We had lots of ideas in our heads with so many restaurants right in the Black Rock area, but since we felt like getting a few good brews, we decided to hit up The Crafty Monk. It’s located where The Field used to be. When we lived in Black Rock, we were regulars there . . . well, before it turned into a night club and a party scene. But, the original owners are back and turned it into a beer-filled gastropub.
Speaking of beer, there was a nice variety of styles, a solid focus on CT beer, and just good craft beer in general with 40 on tap and 30 in bottles or cans. Dan was hoping to get a taste of Firefly Hollow’s Train’s Best ESB that had just won 1st place in the International Beer Competition, but they were out . . . but our waiter (who happened to be Kristien’s former client) came to the rescue by telling us that their Cone Flakes DIPA was on tap. Score!
Okay, onto the food. What you see is what you get: it’s offical pub grub with a variety of apps and entrees. We decided to do a little of both to get a taste of what the food was all about. Up first were the fried pickles. The breading wasn’t too thick and had some nice herby notes to it, while the pickles were nice and juicy with each bite. But, they don’t expect you to eat ’em just like that, nope: you get three housemade sauces. There was a Wasabi which was our favorite with a nice spicy kick, there was the Black Pepper which was light and refreshing, and the Chipotle that was smoky with a nice little kick. They also have Cajun, Curry, and Pesto if you dig that style.
Up next were the wings, which come in buffalo, bbq, garlic parmesan, and orange chili-glazed flavors. We weren’t really sure what to get, but our server suggested we try this new combo that people have been asking for: buffalo garlic. Both flavors worked very nicely together, with neither taking over too much but blending in well. The skin was a bit crispy, but we would have liked more crunch. The meat, though, was plenty juicy which we think is just as important as that crispy skin.
Then our sandwiches hit the table after a few more brewskis. John had the Pulled Pork with an artisanal baguette which he liked, but it wasn’t anything that amazed him . . . just your typical kinda pulled pork sandwich. Dan had the Merry Monk Burger which he ordered medium rare, but it came out a medium well. But, even still, it was pretty juicy with a nice, rich and fresh flavor. The chipotle aioli added a nice smokiness and the egg added a fatty savoriness to it. With those burgers came some, of course, house cut fries. They were plenty crispy, but needed a little more salt to really bring out the flavor more.
Kristien ordered the turkey burger which came out super juicy. The jalapenos that you get to load on to your own delight (or demise) were spicy and added a nice contrast. But, we either didn’t taste the cranberry or they forgot it. Maybe because of this or something else, we felt like the turkey burger needed something else. So, Kristien and Jenn added some of the Black Pepper aioli from before and that definitely helped.
From all our brews and snacks at the game, we were stuffed and ended there. But, we felt like we had a good handle on The Crafty Monk. It’s a solid spot to go if you want to sit at their massive bar, order some nice craft beer, and watch a game on TV. In terms of food, there were definitely some inconsistencies in almost all that we had. We’d say if you go here with expectations of the standard pub grub experience you’ll be fine, but the beer definitely wins out here.
The Crafty Monk
Address: 3001 Fairfield Avenue