BEST PLACE FOR DINNER WITH THE CHEF (2003)
There's something exciting about watching a professional chef at work. The skill, the flair, the panache of a trained restaurant talent. We've never quite mastered the art, but with the Monastery, we can pretend we have. Here, at these casual, artsy restaurants, we get to be the chef ourselves. We like the original Indian School location the best, taken as we are with the rickety 80-year-old home tucked away under weeping willows, but the other two shops are endearingly similar. While our buddies play volleyball, horseshoes, Ping-Pong and shuffleboard, we man a barbecue and grill burgers, chicken, steaks, pork chops, Polish sausage or a vegetarian garden burger (if we need assistance, one of the staffers -- dressed in brown monk robes -- will help us manage the flames). We sip some beer or wine, select some sides (potato salad, salad, chips and salsa, bread and cheese board). This is one restaurant meal we'll never be sending back.