Thelonious Monkfish

I was goofing off with a friend in Central square and we were looking for a spot to eat dinner. We walked by Thelonious Monkfish, which he’d read about as one of the dumbest-named restaurants in America. We laughed at it, but the place was crowded, and we were craving Asian food, so we decided to give it a shot.

It’s a long, narrow restaurant with minimalist tables along the walls and a stage for live music at the front. They feature live jazz, which sort-of justifies the name, but we didn’t see any during primetime on a Saturday night, a major disappointment.

I was a bit worried about the massive menu – in addition to endless sushi options, there were pages and pages of entrees, which generally signifies bread over depth I think. Fortunately, everything was great – it’s clear that the place is pretty time-tested.

First bite: Magic Teriyaki Wings

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These were a major hit – nice and crispy. Slathered in an awesome teriyaki sauce made with Japanese chili powder. They were pretty big, too, and very meaty – not your usual wimpy little wing. A very nice start.

Best bite:

Mashed truffle oil sweet potatoes (served with Cranberry teriyaki chicken, bok choy and green beans)

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Whoa! This dish leapt off the menu, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The truffle oil perfectly brought out the savory part of the yams, without overpowering the sweet. Bonus points for presentation – it came packed into a gorgeous, pillowy circle that was fun to cut into and play with.

The rest of the dish was great too. I’m a big fruit and meat together guy, and the chicken was no exception. The glaze was awesome and piled with super-sweet fresh cranberries. The veggies added a nice savory crunch and were great mixed in with the sweet potatoes.

I also did some work on my friend’s dish, crispy-coated salmon with onion, bell peppers, and pineapple.

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The Salmon and veggies were good on their own, but they came mixed into a giant crispy tortilla bowl. We broke off pieces and used them as dipping chips, kind of like stir-fry nachos, if that makes sense. Big ups for adding a unique eating experience to a simple, familiar dish.

One qualm: beer was particularly expensive. But I’ll look past it.

Tl:DR: Very solid spot. Thoughtful, creative twists on a bunch of Asian specialties.

 

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