First Look: Monarch

By Joey Stewart      Photos by Joey Stewart

Monarch, the highly anticipated wood-fired, modern Italian restaurant led by two-time Michelin-starred Chef Danny Grant has been open for two weeks and is already the hardest reservation to score in town. We were lucky enough to grab one at their opening hour of five o’clock, and here’s our first look.

Open kitchen with wood fired hearth. Diners in the north dining room are in full view of the action.

A spectacular setting on the 49th floor with 360-degree views of the city. The two main dining areas feature more than 280 seats.

The restaurant has two bars and several specialty cocktails, all priced around eighteen bucks. We enjoyed the “Spicy Lady”, a mezcal based drink mixed with espolon resposado, elote liquor, honey, lime, hibiscus and cayenne.

Monarch has a wide variety of seafood dishes such as oysters, caviar, fish, lobster and wood oven roasted giant prawns, but one of the most unique offerings in the city is a whole live Alaskan King crab “experience” that will set you back a thousand bucks. Yes, you read that right. 1K. We went for a more affordable option, the Crudo. Salmon, Hamachi, Tuna with marinated shallots, capers, parsley and lemon vinaigrette.  That runs about $975 bucks less.

We were intrigued at a shared starter called “Crispy Cacio de Pepe”. As our fabulous server Isabela rightly explained, “Think of it as a savory Italian Churro!”

Wood fired meatballs with tomato crudo, basil, buffalo milk and dollops of mozzarella.

Although every seat has a view of the city, the most sought after tables are along the windows.

With eight house made pastas to choose from, we went for the Short Rib Bolognese, made with Casarecce pasta, hazelnut, ricotta and parsley.

Charred asparagus with pine nuts, oregano and lemon

The Butchers Reserve section of the menu is where guests can find a selection of grain and grass-fed steaks. This 28 day dry-aged, bone in rib eye is slow cooked over the wood fire, and is the most affordable steak on the list at $85.

The Monarch Caesar salad come with little gems, a 60-degree egg, lemon, parmesan, confit garlic, warm olive oil and house made croutons.

We were too stuffed to take on the “Flambe for two”, but this was an outstanding Toffee Cake Pudding made with coconut shortbread, bourbon toffee glaze, passion fruit & coconut ice cream.

Monarch is open every day from 5-10pm, and also offers private dining spaces that accommodate various size gatherings from 12-120 people for all types of celebrations. Grab a reservation as soon as one becomes available.

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