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Reviewed: No Monkey Business at 'The Drunken Munkey'

Restaurant: The Drunken Munkey

  • Cuisine: Indian, creative cocktails
  • Location: 31 Cornelia St. - Manhattan 10014  
  • Pricing: $$
  • Reservations? Yes, click here
  • Why go? Hand-crafted and unique cocktails - 'Madras Mail' Railway Chicken Curry - Date night-worthy atmosphere


The Drunken Munkey's flagship location on the Upper East Side has been bookmarked on my Yelp account since I moved to the area earlier this year.  I found both the food and elevated cocktail program intriguing, especially for a neighborhood not particularly known for being a "restaurant destination" (as compared to my old Chelsea abode).

This past summer, the team behind The Drunken Munkey opened a second location downtown.  I was lucky enough to be included in an intimate media dinner at the restaurant's hip West Village digs earlier this week.  Our table of eight enjoyed three hours' of great conversation, delicious Indian food, and hand-crafted cocktails from a creative program rarely seen paired with this cuisine.   


Located on a charming West Village side street, The Drunken Munkey's handsome space is outfitted with a decent-sized bar and dining room.  Decorated by the owner, himself, the restaurant is tastefully adorned throughout with its namesake (monkey) in the form of wall paper, chandeliers, and sconces.  With dim lighting and a bistro-chic atmosphere, The Drunken Munkey fits right in with the hip, downtown clique of "cool kid" restaurants and bars.  

Some of my favorite menu items:

Dark & Stormy (Daniels)

A potent concoction of rum, ginger beer, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and spicy candied ginger root was served over ice and finished with a dark rum floater, a rod of sugarcane, and two wooden swizzle sticks (for stirring purposes).  There was a sexy kick of heat (from the ginger) that truly elevated this cocktail to the next level.  Oh, and could it be any more easy on the eyes?  Take a look at that thing!

Seekh Kebabs

Served atop lightly-sauteed white onions were three hand-ground lamb skewers that were laced with a melange of spices and nibs of onion. 

Chicken Samosas

Forgoing a potato/pea filling and a thick exterior crust, these samosas were stuffed with seasoned ground chicken and enveloped by a crunchy, paper-thin dough reminiscent of a spring roll wrapper.  Note the dipping sauce - it also accompanied the lamb kebabs and made an appearance with the shrimp cocktail.

Classic Tandori Chicken

Something magical happens when you marinate meat in yogurt (resulting in super tender flesh)!  This practice, plus the addition of fragrant herbs and spices, is the foundation of tandori chicken.  The Drunken Munkey's version was delicious, though I was a bit perplexed by its American-esque accompaniments in which it shared a plate: roasted potatoes and green beans.   

'Madras Mail' Railway Chicken Curry

This dish was the unequivocal star of the show!  Immersed in an incredibly flavorful, spicy onion and tomato curry bath were chunks of chicken that were so rich and tender...hell, I could hardly believe that I was eating poultry!  I appreciated the fact that, instead of being served family style, this dish was married by an individual serving of rice, raita, and warm homemade naan.  What?  I don't want to share!


The Drunken Munkey is unique in that its entrees are not served family style, a practice that seems traditional at most Indian restaurants.  And speaking of unique, how often do you come across an Indian eatery with a kick ass cocktail program?  In that same vein, I can picture The Drunken Munkey becoming a drink destination first, and a food destination second, especially given its hip location.  That's not to say that the food should come second, by any means, but the space is oh-so-fabulous and has the ability to seduce multiple social scenarios and occasions with cocktail in-hand.

Despite it being a media tasting dinner, I would absolutely recommend The Drunken Munkey and cannot wait to check out the location closer to my apartment.    


Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle

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