Chicago Eats: The Brass Monkey | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: The Brass Monkey

A mix of classic 1970's music ranging from ABBA to Dolly Parton to Marvin Gaye? Check. A dining room complete with bold colors, brass accents, velvet booths, and a mirrored ceiling? Check. Check. A Julia Child-inspired menu that includes groovy favorites such as bologna sliders, TV dinners, and Baked Alaska? Check, check, and check. That, my friends, is The Brass Monkey experience.

A few weeks ago, Diana, Ashley, and I made our way over to the West Loop for the Brass Monkey media dinner. Quite honestly, we initially had no idea what we were getting ourselves into; based on the concept, we all pictured a night filled with flashing disco balls, Jell-O molds, and Farrah Fawcett posters. Rather than the kitschy/cheesy representation of the decade that usually dominates themed restaurants and bars, we found a surprisingly elegant, but still funky and fun version of the 1970s behind its brass door (yes, it seems like a bit of oxymoron to equate elegance with the '70s, but trust me on this one).

The '70s-inspired restaurant offers a unique dining experience with two distinct menus: diners can choose from the Brasserie menu, featuring French-inspired fare or the Hits of the '70s menu, featuring a contemporary take on '70s classics. During our dinner, we had the chance to sample dishes from both menus - while there were some definite standouts from the Brasserie menu (the Skuna Bay Salmon and Spanish Calamari Salad in particular), let's be honest, we were most excited about the classics from the '70s side. I mean how can you take a trip back to the '70s and not partake in the retro dishes?!

The front of the restaurant contains a room filled with boxes of vinyl - diners can flip through the hundreds of options (rock, jazz, blues, pop - pretty much every genre is covered!) and pick albums to listen to on the provided record players/headsets. The room also doubles as a very cool private dining space, which is where we were seated for our dinner.

As Ashley always says, every good meal starts out with glasses of bubbly!

Almond encrusted Cheese Ball with grilled baguette, Ritz crackers & pepper jelly
While the Bologna Sliders reminded me the most of my childhood (although we ate ours with peanut butter) and the Fish Styx were most definitely the best version I've ever encountered (they actually tasted like fish and not the standard fried mush), ultimately, the Cheese Ball was my favorite of the appetizers, thanks to the combination of the perfectly crunchy sweetness from the almonds and the buttery Ritz crackers.

Fish Styx: marinated and breaded cod with house-made tartar sauce

Bologna Sliders with fontina, caramelized onions & pickles

Sloppy Joe: ground lamb in a tangy BBQ sauce with pickles & fried onion

Wild Boar Meatballs with roasted grapes & a classic grape jelly glaze

Duck Breast with smoked sweet potato, caramelized apple, haricot vert & a maple demi

Pork Chop & Applesauce with fried baby potato salad
This was the clear winner from the '70s menu - everyone at our end of the table loved the tender, moist pork chop and sweet, slightly spiced applesauce (pork + fruit = deliciousness!).

Spanish Calamari Salad with wild boar sausage

Skuna Bay Salmon with kale, roasted cauliflower, French lentils & tomato relish
This flaky, melt in your mouth salmon was my favorite from the Brassiere menu (although the Spanish Calamari wasn't far behind!).

Amish Chicken: chicken confit, roasted potatoes, spring beans & swiss chard

TV Dinner: short rib meatloaf with an A1 glaze, mashed potatoes, peas & creamed corn (how cute was the plating?!)

Fried Brussels Sprouts

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

My favorite cocktail of the night came with a Tang rim!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with cherry pineapple relish, candied walnuts & vanilla gelato
I've never been a big fan of pineapple cake, but surprisingly, this buttery, flavorful cake was my favorite dessert of the evening.

After dinner, Diana and I were treated to a tour of the expanded space. Brass Monkey is actually part of a 90,000-square-foot building that houses office space, several event spaces, and an upcoming distillery. Along with the rooftop patio that comes complete with sweeping views of the skyline, my other favorite space included this fun color-changing staircase (I'm convinced I need one of these in my house!)

The gorgeous views from the enormous rooftop space made me wish I had brought along a tripod and wide-angle lens. The rooftop isn't open to the public quite yet, but once it does, I guarantee it will be the place to hang out, thanks to the perfect, unobstructed views!

We ended our night with a bathroom tour; okay, I realized that sounds weird, but the restrooms at Brass Monkey are definitely worth visiting (even if it's just to peek at the fab Playboy wall!)

You can get your groove on at The Brass Monkey: 401 N. Morgan St., Chicago, IL. Weekly specials include Meatloaf Mondays (specialty meatloaves), TV Dinner Tuesdays (three-course prix fixe dinner), and Be Childish Wednesdays (specials from Julia Child's cookbooks).

ETA: This restaurant has closed.  


  1. Ahaha I love that you recommend a trip to the bathroom because it's sooooo worth it! This post is a phenomenal representation of our fantastic meal! I especially appreciate how much of a champagne addict I come off as in your post -- if there's one thing I want to be known for, it's my love of a good glass of bubbly. Your photos are superb and have me completely regretting missing out on that rooftop. But at least I got to eat a HUGE portion of that perfect salmon -- one of the best I've had in a long time!

    1. That salmon was seriously delicious! We need to go back for a salmon, dessert & bathroom fest... and of course, beg them to take us to the amazing rooftop afterwards. ;-)

  2. OMG this looks like so much fun! I need to tey that tang drink and pork chop!!!


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