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Fried Chicken Night at Monarch

September 24, 2010

Before:                                                                                  After:

Overall verdict on Monarch’s renovation/their immensely more reasonably priced cajun inspired menu: very solid. *Full disclosure, I have never supped on their ritzier offerings, as I have but finite resources (supplemented by Groupon as frequently as possible).

Anyhoo.  Running theme of Monarch’s food:  almost every dish, every beverage has some subtle, unique innovation or fillip.  The fried chicken was brined in sweet tea.   The bloody mary mix is made in-house and has some striking herbal/vegetable element (in addition to the traditional seafoody/savory flavors).  The home-made root-beer goes through about three different  stages when it hits your tongue – intense spice, mellow root flavors, to a honey finish.  Even the corn bread has something extra….something smoky.  It made the whole meal into a kind of fun game of  ‘Guess that Flavor!!!”

Yet, not everything was bowl-me-over-amazing.  The corn-bread, though interesting, was a bit dry and crumbly – good for sprinkling on top of gumbo, bad for gobbling by hand pre-entrée.  And the fried chicken….is not skillet fried contrary to the description of the dish.  It may be fried in deep oil in a skillet, but it is not “skillet fried”.  Sigh, that’s fine, it’s not easy to do in large quantities and just as well that my father’s fried chicken remains supreme in all the land.  There was an ample amount of it, so I’ll give them that.

Favorites: the bloody mary, the nachitoches meat pies, and the mashed potatoes.  I think their overall strategy of introducing the southern bistro menu was a good one, because now I want to go back and eat in their main dining room, fancy-schmancy prices and all.

Monarch on Urbanspoon

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