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First off, I'm not a beer person. Not that I dislike it or anything, but I'm
certainly not an expert. I'm not sure if this Belgian place is more
restaurant or bar. Size-wise you'd think restaurant, but they're pretty
obsessive about their Trappist brews. During the 30 minute wait for a table
(which would lead you to believe food is the emphasis), I was able to pour
over one of their pamphlets, complete with glossary, categorization by
styles, and price list by country. It was all a bit overwhelming if you ask

When all was said and done, I tried a Rodenbach Flemish Sour Ale and
Boon Kreik, a bright red, sour cherry brew. I guess I must like tangy, red
beers since they were both in that vein. But I was there for the mussels and
fries, which were good even though there were a few duds in the bucket. A
smoked salmon appetizer with Boursin and a tart cucumber dill salad was
refreshing. It's a fun night spot, and one of the few places I found in town
to serve real food till 2am. (5/12//01)

This is the place for beer, mussels and fries. But apparently not the
place for brunch. I only say that because I'm not a terribly critical eater,
I don't love everything, but I rarely dislike anything either. With that
said, their eggs Benedictine totally disturbed me. They came on heel ends of
very hearty, crusty, peasanty bread that were impossible to cut through, so
logistically they're impossible to eat (I did see someone eating them out of
hand like a sandwich-the correct procedure?) and then the hollandaise was so
sour (vinegar? Lemon juice?) it was unpleasantly tangy. The spinach was
doing that grainy thing on the teeth it often does, but coupled with the
awkward presentation and too-tart sauce, I had no desire to finish my food.
And in a food city like Philly, there's no reason to fill-up on mediocrity.

Monk's Cafe * 264 S. 16th
St., Philadelphia, PA

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