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Monk Beer Abbey celebrates Belgian street food

Enjoyed a Bastone Dubbel while looking over the menu
Enjoyed a Bastone Dubbel while looking over the menuDavid M

Monk Beer Abbey, Royal Oak, MI

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With summer winding down, it’s a great time to indulge in Chef Robert Young’s upscale take on authentic Belgian street food, at Monk Beer Abbey in Royal Oak.

Frikandel sandwich
Frikandel sandwichDavid M

So what’s the scoop?

With a renewed interest in street food, Chef Robert and his crew of talented culinarians have come up with an inspired menu of dishes to help bridge the gap between summer and fall.

First up, try the Frikandel. My favorite- a fried sausage of pork and veal, sliced the long way and topped with some sweet caramelized onions and Duvel ale cheddar sauce, all atop a warm pretzel roll. Homemade pickled veggies are on the side, but can be added to the sandwich for a little extra zing. This was ridiculously good, offering sweet, savory, tender and crunch, all in one bite. At $7 with a mound of seasoned fries, this is a steal.

Not in the mood? How about the Croque Monsieur—a generous serving of house-cured gammon (ham) and Emmental cheese on French Toasted sourdough bread, topped with a fried egg. Sliced to order, the ham is cured in juniper, pink and black peppercorns, and sea salt. This dish seems perfect for a brunch menu, and also goes well with a yeasty Belgian beer.

Monk is offering a croquette trio, which would serve well as a shared appetizer, or entrée. The Cheese, Chicken and Shrimp potato croquettes have a satisfying crispy outside, with an indulgently creamy middle, and are served with curried ketchup.

According to sales volume, the Doner Kebab is the most popular new menu item. Take some spit grilled, seasoned lamb and beef (gyro style), and top it with pickled vegetables, housemade hot sauces, and garlic-peppercorn aioli, all served up in between a folded grilled pita. The hot sauce packs a tasty punch, and adds an extra layer of flavor.

What about dessert?

To finish things off, Chef Robert has come up with some melt-in-your-mouth apple doughnut holes. Called Smoutebollen in Belgium, they’re deep fried and topped with cinnamon and sugar, and served up with some homemade raspberry sauce on the side. Delish.

Monk is conveniently located in downtown Royal Oak at 419 South Main, just behind Bastone. The new Belgian Street Food menu is available daily, 4-10 p.m. The following beer offerings are also available this month, courtesy of Brewmaster Rockne Van Meter:

Dark Mild – An English style session ale with delicate chocolate and caramel flavors and aroma. 4.2 percent abv.

Belgian Session – featuring El Dorado hops tropical fruit notes. 4.5 percent abv.

Udder Magnifico Cream Stout – A Great American Beer Festival winner. Rich chocolate, caramel and roast flavors as well as the addition of lactose for a smooth creamy taste. 5.5 percent abv.

You can find more information on Monk Beer Abbey at monkbeerbar.com , and on Facebook. Learn more about the Bastone complex at bastone.net.

UPDATE*****

At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, rain or shine, Royal Oak's Monk Beer Abbey will offer an all inclusive five courses of small plates and beer samples. Tickets are $25. Reserve yours with a call to 248-544-6250.