With the NRA show in town, we're continuing our list of must-eat restaurants for brunch, dinner and everything in between.
By Sam Ujvary
By Sam Ujvary
401 N. Morgan Street
Being at The Brass Monkey is like traveling back in time. Upon entering the corner establishment that’s tucked away in a pocket of the Fulton Market District, you become engulfed in the 1970s.
From refined brasserie dishes to contemporary riffs on ‘70s comfort food, the 100-seat restaurant pays homage to the indulgent and idiosyncratic ethos of the period. The interior of the establishment boasts patterns and colors reminiscent of the decade that taste forgot, and it works. Small tile, velvet and the unabashed use of brass throughout the restaurant elicits a dramatic sense of nostalgia.
While the design mimics the ‘70s, the music directly hails from what is arguably the most influential decade in rock and roll. From James Taylor to Queen, the Jackson 5 to members of the 27 club, the vinyl collection is an essential component of the restaurant’s ambiance. You have a chance to actually rummage through its vinyl collection in the record shop; a front room that doubles as a private dining space featuring more than 1,000 LPs.
There’s the décor; there’s the music; and then somewhere between Nixon and ‘Nam lies The Brass Monkey’s menu. Owner Marc Bushala explains the menu concept. “We wanted to create an experience like being at a dinner party on Warren Beatty’s yacht with Tom Jones entertaining and Julia Child cooking,” he says. And that’s precisely what they’ve done. The contemporary take on classic brasserie fare pays homage to the time of TV dinners and Tang. Cheese Balls and Baloney Sliders shine on the menu; and what would a ‘70s-inspired restaurant be without its Pork Chop & Apple Sauce. There’s literally even a TV dinner. Short rib meatloaf with mashed potatoes, creamed corn and peas served in an iconic four-part tray.
Regardless of if you actually were, or just think you should have been born in the ‘70s, The Brass Monkey evokes an instant sense of nostalgia. It’s at the corner of Morgan and Kinzie. Be there or be square.