Tag Archives: gastropub

Craft Beer vs. Pub Grub @ The Crafty Monk – Black Rock (Review)

16 Nov

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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.

Firefly Hollow Cone Flakes DIPASpeaking 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!

Fried pickles at The Crafty Monk in Black Rock, CTOkay, 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. 

Buffalo Garlic wings at The Crafty Monk in Black Rock, CTUp 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.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich at The Crafty Monk in Black Rock, CTThen 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.

Turkey burger at The Crafty Monk in Black Rock, CTKristien 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.

The Merry Monk Burgerat The Crafty Monk in Black Rock, CTFrom 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

Noms: 3.25

Cost: $$-$$$

Address: 3001 Fairfield Avenue

                Bridgeport, CT

Now open: slurp up a storm @ Mecha Noodle Shop in Fairfield, CT!

31 May

Ah. Take a dive into that! Pic from Mecha’s FB page.

Start your slurping engines, kiddos.  Mecha Noodle Shop (from the same owners of the highly rated Pho Vietnam in Danbury) is now serving up ramen in the former Liquid Lunch spot in Fairfield.  Although it’s only a soft-opening this week, you’ll still be able to taste all the great soups and apps that they have prepared.  As for the opening, expect that very soon.  And, when you drink those soups, don’t be afraid to slurp.  In fact, “Slurping Encouraged” is printed on the bottom of their menus.  It’s pretty common in Japan and ramen bars to hear lots of slurping and sloppy noises.  The main reason?  It actually helps to cool the broth down.  See, there’s a reason for everything.

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Major Noms: Dressing Room and Lieb Cellars of LI Wine Dinner

10 Apr


When we went to The Dressing Room last year, we were impressed with the hands on approach to the food, the attention to detail, the focus on all things local, and the do it yourself approach.  They had some killer mac & cheese and we still longingly dream about the Naughty Angel dessert.  Yes, grilled poundcake…ahhhhhh.

SAM_2453As you might be aware, Paul Newman and Michel Nischan (only one of the coolest, most groundbreaking, and nicest chefs in the ENTIRE world) started The Dressing Room.  The same attention to detail and reverence for ingredients that we mentioned comes together in the Lieb Cellars wine dinner on 4/11 at 7 pm for $75 per person (tax and tip extra).  This time around The Dressing Room is pairing four courses with Lieb Cellars wines.

We’ve been to Lieb Cellars on the North Shore of Long Island and it’s just a breathtaking experience.  Plus, the wine’s pretty good, too. ;)  If you’ve never been out to the North Shore, it’s a must summer trip.  We can usually hit up six vineyards in a day.  Any more than that is just pure suicidal!

Without further ado, here’s the menu: 

1st Course

Smoked Sunburst Trout:  frisee, micro amaranth, champagne vinaigrette, trout caviar, and buttered croutons

Paired with Lieb Cellars Merlot Blanc

2nd Course

Pork and Cabbage Stew:  savoy cabbage, preserved tomatoes, asparagus, hen of the woods mushrooms, and garlic toast

Paired with Lieb Cellars Pinot Blanc

3rd Course

Grilled Sankow Beaver Brook Lamb Chops: caramelized fennel, carola potatoes, pearl onions, lamb jub, and micro herbs.

Paired with Lieb Cellars Cab Franc


Lemon Custard Pie:  fresh whipped cream and candied lemon peel

Paired with Lieb Cellars Blanc De Blancs

Dressing Room

Lieb Cellars Paired Wine Dinner

4/11 at 7 pm, $75 per person, plus tax and tip

Address:  27 Powers Court

Westport, CT

Reservations:  (203) 226-1114

Dressing Room on Urbanspoon

Stouts, Beer Flights, and More @ Coalhouse Pizza + The Ginger Man this January

9 Jan
Wall of Stouts at The Ginger Man SoNo
Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of bad beer,
I will fear no Bud Lite, because Coalhouse and Ginger Man art with me.
Their draught lines and their beer choices comfort me.
Now that you’ve said your prayers, you can thank God for what Coalhouse Pizza (on High Ridge Road in Stamford) and The Ginger Man SoNo (on Washington in Norwalk) are up to in January.  Yes, while both institutions of beer are known for their reverence of brews, they’ve also been known to change things up and offer pure surprises of awesomeness.  January is no different:
Beer taps at The Ginger Man in Norwalk, Connecticut
The Great Wall of Stouts at The Ginger Man, SoNo
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