Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There's More Than Food Being Dished Up at Harmonious Monks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There's More Than Food Being Dished Up at Harmonious Monks

Article excerpt

This is the story of Brother Dennis Parker, an expelled friar

who along with his followers started the Abbey at Canterbury.

At the inn next door, the monks would serve food and drink to

travelers and local townsfolk. And at the end of each day, they

would gather and sing popular songs.

Such is the story and the concept behind Harmonious Monks, one

of Jacksonville's newest restaurants and bars. But the menu also

states that all names, dates and events regarding this little

tale may or may not be historicaily accurate.

In other words, don't take it too seriously.

So if laughter, singing waiters or diners frolicking on top of

their chairs isn't your idea of a good time, then you're in the

wrong place.

As for the food, we began with an appetizer that has shown up

on nearly every bar menu in town. Here it's called the Down

Under Onion ($4.85).

The menu is relatively small in its offerings. There are four

pasta choices, steaks, one chicken dish, a grilled tuna steak

and fish and chips or shrimp. A couple of sandwiches are

available as well as a taco or burrito dinner.

The Monks Gumbo ($2.95) is quite enjoyable. The chicken-based

soup is laced with peppers, onion, okra and fresh seafood. Small

pieces of fish and fresh, deveined shrimp accompany each

spoonful. I should have ordered a bowl and skipped the onion.

My companion ordered a Caesar Salad (99 cents with entree) to

accompany his Monk's Ribeye ($9.95).

The romaine lettuce was hand-torn and crisp, and the croutons

were homemade. But the dressing lacked any of the

characteristics one hopes to find with a Caesar salad.

"Hey, isn't that our waiter on stage gyrating and singing

Margaritaville ?"

After the song, the ribeye steak and Baby Lobster Pasta ($9.95)

arrived.

Even though it was ordered blackened but served grilled, the

flavor of the 12-ounce cut of prime beef was very good.

The steak had been dusted with some Cajun seasonings that gave

it a hint of what the blackening process could have done.

I couldn't get over the number of langostinos that were used in

my pasta dish. …

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