Greenwich Village has certainly been a bit tastier the last few months. Drunken Monkey, the well-reviewed Indian restaurant located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, just opened up a second location on 31 Cornelia Street this past summer, in an attempt to appeal to a more hip and busy neighborhood.
“We had attempted something similar when we opened the Royal Munkey back in 2015,” says owner Arun Michandani, referring to a second restaurant he had opened on 25th and 2nd. “We closed it in 2017.” They found a more snug fit in Greenwich Village.
“The move is already looking much more promising,” explains Mirchandani. “It replicates the original’s quaint atmosphere, rather than the larger scale of the Royal Munkey.” Upon entering the restaurant, Mirchandani’s words make all the more sense. While easy on the eyes, and hosting a plethora of beautiful artwork and décor (yes, those are monkey chandeliers!), the establishment has a vibe that’s upscale without pretension.
It effortlessly carries a fun vibe to it, with a flat-screen TV showing Bollywood films, and astute use of lighting. Throughout the opening night, waiters brought dessert dishes with celebratory streaming candles to patrons, adding to the restaurant’s energy and luster.
Of course, a restaurant’s worth is even more attached to its food and service, over atmosphere, but the Drunken Munkey was exceptional in this area too. Starting us off with Panch, a spiced alcoholic beverage that shares the same name as the Hindi word for five (and is indeed where the English term, Punch, comes from), the providers kept all the guest enormously happy for the evening. Offering us all hefty meals that included dishes of curry, fish, shrimp, and chicken, it was a very filling evening for all involved, but all the delicious food only made us more savory for dessert. Gifting us with pristine ice cream dishes come night’s end, it was truly an opening to satisfy any foodie.
When asked about future expansion for The Drunken Munkey, Mirchandani seemed optimistic, but also cautioned that there is a viable restriction. “The plan is to always expand, it’s just the artist that made our decorations has passed away.” He’s referring to the monkey ornamentals that supply the restaurant its distinct Indie vibe. These have been designed by a New York artist named William Huebbe. “I need to see if I can find one more monkey chandelier that he designed, then I can open a new small place.”
Regardless of this, Mirchandani and his staff seem to have a very lucrative new venture in front of them, especially now in the months leading up to the holidays. Natives and visitors alike will find an evening of great food and viscera if they choose to dine at The Drunken Munkey’s Greenwich Village location.
More information on Drunkey Munkey can be found here.