Into the Jungle of ‘Monroe,’ Opening this Week on Monroe Street
Monroe is ready to go.
Within the next few days, the Forgtmenot family will open their newest Lower East Side venture, Monroe. Their fourth. The debut is more than a year in the making, and with it, the first major restaurant on this scruffy block.
Located on its eponymous street beneath the Manhattan Bridge – across from world famous Coleman Skatepark – Monroe is a sanctuary of greenery. It’s like walking into a botanical garden, with plants dangling and protruding from seemingly every surface. Think of it as al-fresco dining in an indoor jungle.
Cuisine here is southern European (Mediterranean), featuring a variety of small and entree dishes such as ratatouille, eggplant parmasean, Spaghetti bolognese, and a 16 Oz. rib eye.
Also notable are the new mezzanine, constructed literally in thin air, and the hidden mid-floor dais.
Monroe was not forged without some local controversy, though. There was a protracted battle at the Community Board level around this time last year. Several Chinatown locals mobilized to block. In fact, even another local block association – Save Two Bridges – organized for the occasion. Much of the opposition levied was against the “colonization” of this piece of Chinatown/Two Bridges. That it would open the proverbial flood gates for other nightlife operators
The Mediterranean spot also sits right beside Little Chair, another outpost on the Forgtmenot roster.