My wife and I just made our second visit to The Merry Monk before a concert at The Egg (google that if you're out of town and don't know what it is).
Our drive down was sunny, but as we neared Albany it got really cloudy and by the time we parked it had started to rain. We got a table right up in front by a window and watched what soon became a downpour. This made the congenial atmosphere inside the Monk all the more enjoyable. Soon we were sipping two of the many Belgian or Belgian style beers-- a Framboise Lambic for my wife, an Ommegang Scythe and Sickle for me, with tastes back and forth of course. For some reason, my beer disappeared rather more rapidly than my wife's did, so I was "forced" to order a second. I forget the name right now, but it was unusual and delicious. LOVE those Belgian beers!
We started with the fruit and cheese platter, perhaps a tad pricey at $19, but very enjoyable. Along with some basic crackers, crusty bread and various fruits, it featured a Port Salut, an Ommegang Cheddar, and an amazing smoked Blue Cheese. We asked it's name, which is Moody Blue, and we plan on finding some for home. For our main course, we had two different mussel dishes. One was bacon blue cheese which sounded a bit over the top. Our waitress recommended it and we were glad we listened to her. Excellent! Our other dish was the Monk's Mussels-- peppers, tomato, garlic, basil, white wine, also delicious. We had some frites too, prepared nicely to our "extra crispy" specifications. The mussels come with bread to sop up the juices, and this was one of the best parts of the meal.
By now the rain had stopped, so we headed off to our concert feeling very content.
I've never been to Belgium so I can't vouch that The Merry Monk is authentic, but it sure felt European to us. We'll be back soon and often.
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