Eat Waffle Sliders and Drink Belgian Beer at This New Hell's Kitchen Bar
HELL'S KITCHEN — There's a little bit of Belgium on Ninth Avenue.
The Jolly Monk, a Belgian beer bar that opened this week, brings not only craft brews to Hell's Kitchen, but also a full menu of specialties from the beer-and-waffle-loving country.
Using its own waffle iron and homemade batter, the bar at 701 Ninth Ave. has created waffle-centric savory dishes, including beef waffle sliders covered with blue cheese and onions and a chicken waffle sandwich, where the bun is replaced by the Belgian treat.
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"We want to represent Belgian cuisine with an eye on the fact that we're at 48th and Ninth in Hell's Kitchen," said Paul Simon, the corporate chef for HK Hospitality Group, which owns The Jolly Monk and several other bars in the area.
The 75-person bar also has Belgian favorites like mussels, served with six different kinds of sauce, and hand-cut french fries served with mayonnaise. There's also a hearty Chimay poutine, made with applewood smoked bacon, red wine sauce, sauteed leeks and imported Chimay cheese.
For dessert, there are traditional sugar-filled liege waffles, which can come with nine different toppings, including cookie butter, gelato and Nutella.
But since this is a Belgian beer bar, the focus is on the brews, Simon said.
"We're a neighborhood restaurant and everything is done to compliment the beer," he said.
To that end, there are 24 beer on tap, with rotating brews switching in and out on a weekly basis. The imported beers including Delirium Tremens, Le Chouffe and Tripel Karmeliet.
From Sunday to Thursday, the bar will have all-night two-for-one specials on certain craft brews.
The space formerly belonged to Traffic, a trendy bar that neighbors complained was constantly full of noisy patrons and loud music. The bar was seized by city marshals in January.
The Jolly Monk is the result of an extensive, monthslong renovation that started in April, which transformed the space from a lounge to a warm, wooden pub covered in quotes about beer by famous thinkers.
The company stamped the bar's logo — the silhouette of a monk — on the wooden tables, bar and even cheese boards.
"It's a very intimate, warm space," said HK Hospitality spokeswoman Maria Gee.
The bar will host a grand opening party with complimentary appetizers, discounted drinks and beer tastings on Aug. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.