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“Great Place for Beer Snobs!”
Review of The Merry Monk

The Merry Monk
Ranked #15 of 687 Restaurants in Albany
Cuisines: Belgian
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Albany, NY
Level 6 Contributor
508 reviews
266 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Great Place for Beer Snobs!”
Reviewed July 20, 2012

If you are a beer snob (and I do not use that word in a negative sense), you'll love The Merry Monk. They have predominantly, if not all, Belgian and Belgian-style beers and the servers are very knowledgeable about them. The menu is good (I'm particularly fond of the French Fries), but it;s not the menu you should be going there for. It's the beer. Very nice atmosphere and did I mention the beer? Give it a whirl for something unique downtown.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank eluper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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209 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Saratoga Springs, Ny
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“great little gem!”
Reviewed July 7, 2012

Went here for lunch with a friend and had the baked brie as an appetizer, and split the thai curry mussels and fries! The brie was delicious and unexpected for a little pub. The fries came with a variety of dipping sauces to choose from which was also a fun touch. It was my first time having mussels and they were delicious! Our waitress was excellent, extremely nice and let us sample a few beers when the one we picked was out! They have a small, well thought out menu, its the type of place where everything on the menu will be good, their specialty is mussels so they have a large portion of the menu dedicated to them in a variety of sauces. Love this little hole in the wall, I will definitely be coming back!

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Widgeon14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 6 Contributor
215 reviews
159 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Favorite beer on tap”
Reviewed July 7, 2012

Have only gone for The Belgium beer on tap. Tried the flight the first time to find my favorite. Love the Lindemen's cuvée brut. Many beers on tap and even more bottles.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank Sallad13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harpers Ferry, WV
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
72 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“great food !”
Reviewed June 27, 2012

We were staying at the Hampton Inn next door so gave this place a try for lunch. My husband had the lunch clam special & I had fried cod. both were excellent. The waitress was very sweet & attentive as well. We would definately go here again. It is small but a cute place. :)

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank sephorachick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, New York
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Moer than 3 Strikes and your out. At least act like you care!! Acknowledge Customers or they won't return.”
Reviewed June 22, 2012

Before this place opened in Albany, I got really excited it was coming into the area (based on the description in the paper) and I really wanted to love it and want(ed) it to do well. Unfortunately to report, after 4 or 5 "trial" visits, I just simply can't continue to give them second tries. (this includes visiting at different times and days of the week)

Pro's: Very good (to Excellent) food. Con's: Very High Prices (for quantity of food/beer you get) and extreme long wait times for both food and BEER! seems like a bartender is NEVER on duty. I think the manager tries to cover that, but he is seemingly also busy doing other activities, like running food, directing the small staff, grabbing supplies, taking phone calls, etc so it doesn't cut it. not for a beer bar. Impossible to eat lunch in less than 50+ minutes. Impossible to have a beer and pay for it in a short amount of time either - and I'm never in a rush.

I've gone for an early lunch during a time when there was no customers at all in the place (including no visible employees) at least twice now and then two other times when it was semi-busy. It ALWAYS seems grossly understaffed (regardless of time) and has a very very very slow kitchen. During two visits, I ordered when only one or two other tables were occupied, and it still took approx 50 minutes to get the meals out. During each of those visits, It was only a table of 2 of us with 1 item (each) ordered, so it shouldn't have been hard to get to two meals out in less time. no salads, no appetizers, so no reason for that long of a delay.

During one of my 1st visits, I sat at the bar. and when I arrived, there was no staff visible at all. an employee(server) that came out from the back apologized, because I was ready to order both drinks and food, but she wasn't ready. she was trying to sort out a problem with an order in the kitchen and running around, saying she would be right back for me. a single man that was serving on a local jury duty sat down next to me at the bar and when she came asked before ordering if he could order and get his food within 30 minutes, since he had to be back to the courthouse and couldn't be late. The servers answer was very good, she looked around in the dining room and said it depended on what he ordered, but since no orders were currently in, and if he ordered a sandwich, app, burger, or salad, it should be do-able, she said the only thing he may not be able to get within that time is something like the mussel meals or some of the baked entrees. He thanked her and ordered a sandwich or wrap with fries right away and after 25 minutes of it not coming out, and after her checking with the kitchen many times, he said to her, he would have to switch it "to go" and pay the bill now, since he wouldn't be able eat in time and be back. She apologized many times, and then after settling up the bill and checking with the kitchen, it still was not ready. she apologized again, but the food was still not coming out. he waited for said food and left with it, but it was after 30 minutes. no excuse, especially when the place is nearly empty.

during my visit yet another time, it happened to be the Friday before a holiday weekend (Memmorial day weekend) and it was nice out. I arrived before noon and the place was not overlly crowdeed but not empty. a few tables were seated, I sat myself and then some other tables filled in too, including an outside table or two. it seemed like there was only 1 worker (server and acting as the bartender and hostess) there that day. she came to the table with menu's, on her way to run outside, asked if I wanted a beer or drink and apologized, that they were short staffed and didn't expect a crowd that day. I ordered a brown ale beer and it took about 20 minutes to get it. That will just never work for me and is the reason I'll never return to another local brewpub.

After I had ordered my food, and as I was waiting an extremely long time, several various sized groups entered from either front door, and looked for someone to greet them or tell them if it was okay to sit. no one around. some groups left, after waiting a few minutes, since no one was even around to assist. This isn't the 1st time I've witnessed this here. It boggles my mind how it can continually happen and it isn't observed and then fixed. I ordered one of the mussels meals with fries and dipping sauces and when the meal came out, I got no fries. I know many servers these days don't use a pad to write down the order, that they feel they can memorize it, but if you can't get it right, then use the pad. your not helping the expierence by not. The food is great, but you must get the orders right and out faster. I've also not gotten silverware and napkins on two visits, until the food was already on the table and needed a return visit from the server.

On another visit, I tried to bring a friend for a quiet and cozy sunday night beer in front of the fire. I think it was betweeen 8 and 9 pm or it may've been just a few minutes past 9. as we walked in, there was a customer or two drinking a beer - 1 at at high top table and 1 at the bar, and no employees were visible, but there was evidence of cleaning activities (bus/dish pans up on the bar filled with dirty dishes) and a silverware rolling activity setup on one of the front tables, but NO ONE around. we settled in and then I went to the bar for a beer. after some time, a guy came out, got us beer and said they usually close early on sundays and that they were finishing up for the night. didn't really feel welcoming. I understand that Downtown Albany is a ghost town, and I understand that I won't make you stay open for 1 person, but maybe this treatment and atmosphere is why your not getting a crowd during non-peak times?

Lastly, and on my final visit, which was yesterday, I ordered the Oyster Special, after the server explained it. she told us the specials and said oysters 3 different ways were the special. I asked how many you got and for what price. she said all 3 styles were 6 oysters for 11.99. I asked if you could add fries to that for the $2 dollars (like normal and what she explained as a side for another meal, which you can add to the mussel meals) and she said no, sorry, you would have to do a normal order of fries for $5. (that just doesn't make any sense). she ended up taking care of it, but its just not a good way to present specials. I ordered 1 type of the special oysters (beer battered) and my dining companion ordered another. they came out, and I only got 5. thats simply unacceptable for 12 dollars and when I was told I would get a 1/2 dozen. I should've spoke up then and also should've taken a picture, but I didn't.

I want to be fair in my review, the servers try very hard and attempt to be very accomodating, but they are simply overwhelmed. the food is excellent. the fries are great. The mussels are fantastic. the dipping sauces are excellent, just be ready to remind the server which you have ordered. I just prefer not to have to wait such long times for service and food when there is really no reason - even if things are fresh made and cooked to order - and on each and every visit, regardless of how many tables are seated. I can only imagine food wait times, when it is busy or full.

the beer selection is very good. I like the glasswear and atmosphere, including the seating. I'm a seasoned hand crafted beer geek and foodie, but to charge 9 dollars for a 1/2 pint, just won't work for me.

please try this place on your own, to give it a fair chance, but don't be surprised if it takes more than an hour and if you have to repeat your order or ask for silverware, or seat yourself.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank FoodnBeer_Guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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