Restaurant: The Drunk Munk
Location: 7133 East Stetson Drive, #1, Scottsdale
Open: About four months
Eats: Seafood, sushi, and tiki-themed cocktails
Price: $20 to $55 per person
Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday
The tiki-themed Drunk Munk opened in early March at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Stetson Drive in Old Town Scottsdale — or, more specifically, the Fifth Avenue Shopping District. Yes, the Polynesian bar and restaurant is in the old Cowboy Ciao spot, and while it looks like only the sign was swapped on the outside, the inside got a pretty good makeover.
Some background: Greg Donnally co-owns The Drunk Munk along with Andrew Nam and Scott Hane of neighboring Geisha A Go Go (and formerly of Drift Lounge, another Scottsdale spot which closed in 2012).
On the exceptionally text-heavy food menu, expect Polynesian-focused items like a flaming pu pu platter and Mahi Mahi Mahi, Asian-inspired small plates, and other menu items like sushi rolls, starters, and salads. It’s a real novella, and all over the map. Literally: Korean this, Hawaiian-style that, then tostadas and ceviche.
Conversely, on the cute, picturesque drink menu, little illustrations of the cocktails guide your eye, helping you find the right marked-up yet adorably photogenic drink for you.
The trick to the Drunk Munk is this: Go during happy hour. It’s from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, and it’s half off appetizers, house sushi, well drinks, wine, beer, sangria, and most importantly, specialty cocktails. You can mix and match, try something new, and have a big sip of your neighbor’s drink, without racking up an enormous bill.
To drink, we went with the Alota Colada — which was definitely on the small side considering the name, but it’s made with care by knowledgeable bartenders, and you’ll definitely feel loose afterward. It also feels small for the price, but again, not at happy hour, when the specialty cocktails are 50 percent off, making it $6.
Give the sushi a skip. It’s grocery-store grade, which is to say edible, but not great — even if you order one promising the most zap like the spicy tuna.
If you’re looking for a snack, or a shareable plate, the Bali Bottle Rockets are recommended. This cheat-day food is an egg roll-wrapped wad of cream cheese, shrimp, scallions, and garlic. It comes lava hot, so let it sit while you finish your anecdote or whatever you have to do. A sweet chili sauce is served with it, which overpowers the rocket, so go easy.
As for the rest of the food, the mains seem fresh and colorful, and probably decent. But it’s hard to picture someone paying $18 for the Drunk Munk Chop Salad, even if it is a nod to the famous Stetson Chop once served under the same roof. Or $54 for the Moai Tomahawk Steak, at a place with a tiki gimmick instead of one of the many nearby steakhouses? God speed.
But the bar and dining room do get rowdy after a bit, and it will be packed come fall, winter, and especially spring training. So, we’re not really worried about this new Scottsdale tenant.
If you like tiki drinks, go visit (again, dear tiki god, during happy hour) and try a few. But if you like tiki bars, enter at your own risk.