We headed toward the south Broadway / Wash Park / Baker district that we only seem to venture into for food; Sweet Action Ice Cream and Beatrice & Woodsley are just a couple blocks away.
Thai Monkey Club doesn't look like much from the outside. It's situated on a eclectic part of south Broadway known for good restaurants, antique shops, and kitschy furniture. Oh, and there's plenty of places like the adult video store that's right across the street from Thai Monkey Club.
So why were we at Thai Monkey Club anyway? Well, because we love Thai food but we haven't tried nearly enough Thai places around town. One of our friends, let's call him "Chang," found the restaurant a couple weeks ago and has raved about it, so we figured it was worth a stop.
Chang met up with us for our earlybird dinner at 3 pm on a Sunday. Despite the unassuming exterior, Thai Monkey Club's interior was filled with brightly painted walls, Thai art, and a giant monkey mural. The restaurant was small, with tables to seat only maybe 25 people. It was completely empty when we showed up, and a few other couples arrived while we ate.
Our waiter was a bit slow to take our orders, but our food arrived incredibly quickly once he had done so.
We started off with the Fresh Spring Rolls ($4.95), which Chang had warned us were the one item he'd tried at Thai Monkey Club that he didn't like.
The spring rolls were very average. They were packed with vegetables, which is normally a good thing, but there was just too much lettuce. The rolls also contained quite a bit of mint, which I enjoyed, but other people may dislike the intense mint flavor. People like Chang.
But the spring rolls were soon redeemed by the deliciousness of our entrees.
My husband selected the Drunken Noodles with chicken ($7.95 + $2 for chicken). Thai Monkey Club offers its patrons a selection of spiciness levels between 1 and 6, with a 3 supposedly being "fairly hot." Mr. Oyster is a big tough guy and he opted for a "4."
The drunken noodles were excellent. The dish was very heavy on the vegetables, containing large chunks of red pepper, baby corn, tomatoes, Chinese broccoli, and carrots. The chicken and egg were less prominent but very tasty and well cooked. The sauce itself was very spicy (as requested) and flavorful.
And I ordered my Thai go-to dish, the Panang Curry ($8.95 + $2 for chicken):
I had to keep up with my husband, so I ordered it at a level "4" as well.
The curry base was outstanding. Yes, it was spicy. It had the perfect mix of coconut, spices, and chili heat. Like the Drunken Noodles, the curry was heavy on vegetables, particularly bell pepper and broccoli. The chicken was cut in small pieces and had absorbed much of the curry flavor. The dish was served with a large heap of rice that I used to cut out some of the heat.
I definitely preferred this Panang curry over Tuk Tuk's - and that's saying a lot, because I still love the Panang at Tuk Tuk. Thai Monkey Club's curry tasted less sweet and less coconut-heavy than at Tuk Tuk. Keep in mind, however, that entrees at Thai Monkey Club cost about $3 more than comparable dishes at Tuk Tuk.
After sweating our way through the curry and drunken noodles, we were very satisfied with our meal at Thai Monkey Club. If it were closer to our house, we'd probably be ordering take-out from them at least once a week. I'm not sure how it compares to any of the surrounding Thai restaurants, but we'll certainly try to make another visit when we're in the area.
Pros: Excellent Drunken Noodles and Panang Curry.
Cons: Service a little slow, prices a little high