We were out on the town on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon looking for food and fun. We sure found it on the upper level patio of the Monkey Wrench!
My two teenage daughters were with us. They describe me as “obsessed with patios”. What can I say? I love outdoor dining when the weather is nice. This was my first visit to the Monkey Wrench and I’m sure we will be back.
We ordered a round of drinks to get started. My husband had read about a gin and tonic prepared with cucumber and blueberries in a recent edition of the LEO so he was geared up to try it. I typically go with a glass of wine but hubby was hoping we would all get fancy cocktails so I appeased him by ordering the white sangria. He asked for two fruity virgin drinks with umbrellas for the girls. Although I couldn’t really detect any flavor from the blueberries, my husband’s drink was refreshing and attractive. (It inspired us to host a gin & tonic cocktail party at our home.) My white sangria was tasty and the girls enjoyed their fruity drinks as well. Many thanks to the establishment for charging us a very reasonable price for the two virgin drinks and really dressing them up with a fruit garnish and an honest-to-goodness drink umbrella!
The upstairs deck is dubbed the Lono Lounge and features a Cuban-Asian inspired menu. We all ordered something to tide us over until dinner. My husband’s favorite food “on the planet” is a cheeseburger so he wanted to see what the Monkey Wrench Burger had to offer. I ordered the grilled shrimp on sugar cane, my 8th grader chose the wings and my junior selected the four cheese macaroni and cheese.
After a slightly extended wait time (we were enjoying the atmosphere so it was not a problem) our food arrived. I tasted everyone’s food except the burger because my husband was guarding it carefully. My grilled shrimp did not look the way I had expected – it was finely chopped shrimp combined with other ingredients (garlic, cilantro, mint, basil) and formed into a corn dog sort of shape around the length of sugar cane. It was very tasty so I don’t regret the choice, I just thought it would look like shrimp.
The wings boasted a yummy sauce with both sweet and heat working in tandem. They look somewhat burnt in the photo above but we did not get a burnt taste. They were super caramelized and I like that a lot. The mac and cheese was very good – ditalini pasta mixed with a blend of four cheeses (gruyere, white cheddar, American, and fontina) garnished with some sort of meat (the dark specks) and green onions. Almost every plate has a sprinkling of green onions which seemed like overkill but it did add a nice kick to the mac and cheese. My husband gave up some of his fresh cut fries and we girls gladly scarfed them up. They had good flavor with some crunch and some tenderness so you could really taste the potato. My husband said his burger was one of the best he’s had in the city!
All the components: the food, the drinks, and the tiki-themed patio, added up to a fun and delicious experience with good service and a reasonable tab. I’m anxious to go back and try the five spiced lemongrass chicken empanadas. My husband has heard tell (that’s how we hillbillies would put it) of a burger special so I won’t have to twist his arm to get him there.
I rate the Lono Lounge at the Monkey Wrench 3 out of 5 overall.
The Monkey Wrench
1025 Barret Avenue