I remember every detail of my first dining experience at The Old Monk. It was 7 years ago, I was new to Texas, and fearful that Dallas might be the plastic, un-inspired city that I was warned about. My friends said to me before I moved, “No no, go to Austin, you will be so much happier there.”
But as I sat on the patio with the trellis filtering in some early September sun, and some song from the magical “Funeral” album by Arcade Fire playing in the background, I thought that maybe if a place like The Old Monk sticks around in Dallas, then perhaps I’d be able to stick around too.
What makes this place so great? It’s laid-back. The food has been consistently good for years. The service is friendly and un-intrusive. Since 1998 The Old Monk has been nailing what every new-fangled upscale pub is trying to do now-serving great beer and pub food that isn’t greasy and nasty. There is nothing pretentious about it, and no experimental food that’s overly priced. And the Irish entrées are hearty and delicious, which always helps.
There was a time a couple months ago when I was getting a little sick of The Monk. They had the same 6 or 7 beers on tap, and only two rotator taps, and more pubs were catching on to having local beers on tap that I wanted to try. But last month, the pub installed a new draught tower and walk-in beer cooler which has breathed some new life into The Old Monk.
I can almost hear the monks of ages past rejoicing. I popped in to the restaurant last week and my Stella was crisp and clean. They spruced up the menu too by adding some fancy cocktails, (The Purple Jesus is tasty, if for some strange reason you don’t want beer.) However the new food menu has all of the same good eats, including the best cheese board in the world…
As I drove home after the meal I saw the “For Lease” signs peppering the windows of vacant restaurants that weren’t able to find their niche on Henderson, serving as additional testimony to The Old Monk being able to successfully hold it down in a neighborhood constantly in flux.
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