I'd like to start by pointing out that Monarch's website is misleading... It seems they've decided to consolidate their "Southern Bistro" and (more upscale) "Modern American" menus into one. The result is a bizarre combination of dishes with no focus. The menu looked like it had been put together by a schizophrenic. When I saw the "Elegant Entrees" section, I knew we should have gone to Niche.
The food was bad and unnecessarily gussied up with foam and garnish. Every dish was bad, but the venison osso bucco was the worst. It was dry to the point of being inedible.
The one bright spot was our server. He did an excellent job.
Very Disappointed. My husband and I were completely disappointed after dining here recently. The waitress was excellent, but her service did not make up for the laughably small portions and mediocre food. We ordered the cheese plate for the appetizer-- it came on a very large plate and 4, yes 4 thin slices of cheese- come on -- it seemed miserly and the cheeses offered were average. We ordered the salmon and the scallops, which both were very mediocre. I am not a great chef, but besides the presentation (carrot foam), my salmon and scallops are greatly superior to these overpriced plates. The salmon was overcooked and not high quality. We dined at Mosaic recently and it was much more reasonable and by far superior. If we want to go out for a nice dinner, we will definitely go to Sidney Street which is always excellent.
Monarch Fabulous as Usual!!!. We were in a few weeks ago and tried the new 4 course tasting menu for $40...what a great price for such terrific food - and 4 courses too! Our server graciously offered to pair wines with the dinner for us and we opted to try these as well. It made for another lovely evening at Monarch. Maplewood certainly has come a long way!
Turnaround. Our dining experience with Monarch was not a good one for our party of 8 -- We had very inattentive service & felt that the portion sizes were very small. HOWEVER, after emailing the owner & detailing our issues with the restaurant, he very graciously offered to rectify it for us. We really respect that & appreciate his efforts.
Best special occasion restaurant in town....
I went to Monarch for the first time for my birthday over a month ago and everything was just absolutely fabulous. The reservations manager, Evette, is a doll and she put us in a nice cozy half booth in their wine bar area. The service was fantastic--friendly and knowledgable, but not pretentious. Our server recommended we try a fresh green salad with tomatoes and mozarella that supposedly would only be available until the end of the month. It was a fantastic choice. The mozarella was salty and the dressing was light and the salad tasted like it was straight out of the garden. I ordered Halibut for my entree which had beautiful presentation and was cooked to perfection. Paired with spinach and wrapped in a pastry of some sort, it was divine. One of my friends tried the scallops--one of the smaller shared plate dishes from the wine bar menu. She offered me a bite and I think I will be ordering that the next time I visit. I am not usually a huge fan of scallops, but the creamy sauce was to die for. For dessert, we ordered the sugar cookies and milk, which were brought out on adorable little plates with ice cold, refreshing petite glasses of milk. Had I known they were also going to bring out a chocolate torte with a candle, we would not have ordered additional dessert, but all of the desserts were delicious. This place is definitely worth it when you can splurge!
I don't really understand other people's issues with parking. The restaurant offers valet and there seemed to be plenty of parking spaces in the area if you ask me. Also, I heard the former chef was a bit tempermental, but as of this summer he left. We didn't meet the new chef, but perhaps Mr. European wine connoisseur below should check out Monarch again now that there is a new chef.
LOVE the service, LOVE the food. I have dined at Monarch many times and never have I been disappointed. My favorite person to wait on me is Lacey. She takes the time to explain the wines and the dishes without sounding pretentious or condescending. It is my favorite restaurant to take clients or celebrate with my family.
Where's the time machine?. I was confused upon reading the post by anne 2346 when she described her lunch experience at Monarch in October 07. Clearly she has found a way to time travel, as Monarch has not served lunch since December 2005. Impressive!
Wouldn't go out of my way. I work in the Maplewood area and met a friend for lunch at Monarch. It's pretty. Very "cool". Service? Not so cool. Food? Nothing special. We were seated near someone important - no idea who, but the staff were falling all over themselves to the extent that my lunch partner and I became quite invisible. We truly felt ignored. We waited, rather than walking out ,because we both had to get back to work, but it was seriously poor service. When we spoke to our server about it, he seriously seemed shocked that we didn't understand how busy they were, which was interesting since they were only about half full. When my Ceasar salad arrived I was relieved that I'd get to eat, but not at all impressed. Will I go there again? Can't think why I would.
We recently ate at Monarch based on recommendations from others. Overall, the experience was
mixed. Although the food was good, the chef's behavior put a damper on our meal and the prices were excessive for the amount of food served.
We were impressed when the receptionist asked if we had any dietary restrictions. (We do.) She said the chef would be happy to explain alternatives. We were eager to see what Monarch would offer.
The service by the wait staff was professional, but the chef's attitude was arrogant and condescending
in his review of what we could not have off the menu. He came out and proceeded to read through the menu and say over and over, "You can't have that and you can't have that, and of course you can't have that." His tone of voice was belittling, as though it was our fault we have food allergies or intolerances. His lecture was not helpful. (We already know how to read a menu and find foods we can eat.) The chef's idea of offering alternatives was to say "I can leave x, y and z ingredients out." Hmmm. Seems like that would drastically alter a dish with four or five ingredients.
Also, the chef had trouble looking at us while speaking. He was too busy swivelling his head around checking out other patrons and restaurant employees. This did not inspire our confidence.
We order salads and seafood. The salad was good. The seafood was tasty but was in extremely small portions. One entree was between $25 and $30 and the portion was slightly bigger than a soup spoon.
I ordered 2 ounces of wine with dinner because I thought $8 for a glass of ordinary white wine was expensive. I know restaurants make their money off the drinks, but after having lived in Europe for seven years, I find wine prices in U.S. restaurants outrageous.
We would be unlikely to return and be subjected to this chef again. Perhaps with time he will learn
to treat his customers with respect and dignity.
A bit overrated. While the food and ambiance is quite good, it really doesn't overdeliver....I was quite disappointed, and my date's fish was chewy and overcooked.
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