On Friday, November 1st, Monkless Belgian Ales officially opened its Brasserie in what Bendites call the “Red Building.” Owners Todd and Robin Clement completed a full remodel of the space to incorporate their brand. The Brasserie is a Belgian-style restaurant that speaks of old-world Belgium and incorporates Bend, Oregon history as well.
The menu is a large swing away from what you would see in any other restaurant in Bend. It boasts classics from mussels to poutine, and of course standard pommes frites. The frites are twice-fried in duck fat and come with your choice of sauces: curry ketchup, lemon caper, Kewpie mayo, horseradish Dijon, and chipotle aioli. Keep in mind that mayo is the traditional way to eat your frites, if you want to keep things authentic. The Belgian Firkadellen (Belgian-style meatballs) were fantastic. The sauce was tangy and rich while the meatballs were surprisingly light and scrumptious. The soup du jour was a potato and leek soup. It was silky smooth and full of garlic deliciousness. The chicken schnitzel with herb spaetzle is a must have; perfectly juicy chicken that is flattened, breaded and fried, how can you go wrong? The herbed spaetzle was perfectly cooked and coated with creamy cheese goodness. The cheese on the Trappist Provisions Charcuterie and Cheeses board was decadent. The marmalade and duck sausage are made in house. It is evident that their chef, Gary Shelly, is very passionate about what he puts on a plate.
Monkless provides three curated flights (for two to share): Trippel bottle flight; Dubbel bottle flight and the Dark Strong bottle flight. I opted for the last. Three bottles were brought with matching glasses. Todd and Robin Clement explained that the glasses were an important part of the tasting experience. They said that many times, the beer is made to fit a specific glass rather than the other way around. Three bottles: Rochefort 8; St. Bernardus Abt 12 and Monkless Meet Your Maker each had their respective glass. Drinking these three Dark Strong beers side by side was cool. Serving these outstanding beers beside each other made it possible to taste the difference between them, showcasing their uniqueness. The St. Bernardus Abt 12 provided more fruitiness (raisin) while Meet Your Maker was rich and malty. Rochefort 8 was light, and the flavors were subtle and balanced.