I’ve only been here a month, but ever since I even thought about making a move to New O., a restaurant by the name of “13 Monaghan” (shortened in conversation to just the number) has popped up here and there as the place to go for an unexpectedly vegan-friendly menu. Since we were in the Quarter tonight, Johnny and I decided to take a break from Bennachin’s (actually, we were out of cash, so it wasn’t an option) and give 13 a try. As much as I hate to say this about any place that caters to vegans – we won’t be going back anytime soon.
Walking in, it seemed that, in this restaurant too, someone had forgotten to turn the vent hood on…the whole place was filled with smoke from the kitchen. We started to sit at one of the high tables with bar stools, but then thought better of it and hunkered down at a regular table in an attempt to stay below the fumes. To no avail.
As our waiter handed us the menus and I asked my usual question about vegan menu recommendations, he replied with “I recommend that you not be vegan.”
Now I'm the first to give a guy the benefit of the doubt, and so I wondered briefly if it was a playful jab. Wait for it…wait for it…there was a fantastically awkward pause as he watched for my reaction (probably thinking, “Did I just say that out loud?”) and I stared blankly at him, waiting for him to crack a smile and say he was just teasing.
Being vegan, I know how to take some teasing.
But he didn't, so we eventually stumbled over his comment and, after browsing the options, ordered a couple of BBQ tofu po-boys. Then the wait began.
And continued. On and on. I think the smoke inhalation didn't help our patience levels.
Finally, no less than thirty minutes later (with only one other couple being served before us, and their two dishes arriving fifteen minutes apart) – the long-awaited po-boys arrived. Yes, they were good. But good enough to put up with no vent hood, terrible service, and fonky ketchup (yes, I said FONKY, as in NAYS-ty, which you should be sure to rhyme in your head with "pasty")? No way.
By the time we left, my eyes burned, but unlike at Bennachin’s, there were no spices to blame – it was just greasy kitchen smoke. I asked our waiter what the deal was. He said they used to keep the door open to air the place out, but the health department said it was against code. And the employees haven’t been able to convince the owner to ventilate the restaurant otherwise.
Fortunately, the only after-plan we had was to walk down Bourbon, and if there's any place you can smell like two giant tater tots and not have anyone notice, it's there.
13 Monaghan ~ 517 Frenchmen St. ~ 70116 ~ (504) 942-1345