Since its opening, Jean Georges’ Happy Monkey has become one of the most popular restaurants in Greenwich, CT, attracting locals and visitors. I’ve had the opportunity to visit Happy Monkey three times – once with girlfriends when it first opened, another time with my kids, and most recently for date night. With its reputation as one of Greenwich’s top restaurants, I’m left wondering: does Happy Monkey truly live up to the hype? Or is it popular only because it’s a Jean Georges restaurant? Below is my honest review of Jean Georges Happy Monkey. Full Disclosure: During my most recent visit, they comped my drinks and a few light bites (it did not affect my review).
Happy Monkey Greenwich: Food Review
Below is a review of every dish I’ve ever tried at Happy Monkey (they are arranged in order from my favorite to least favorite). For those of you who’ve never tried Happy Monkey, the food is served tapas style- they are meant to be shared family style. They recently introduced their Fall menu and I got to try some of the new Fall dishes.
Undoubtedly stealing the spotlight, the sizzling shrimp stands as the unequivocal star of the show for me at Happy Monkey. A must-order every time, it has consistently delivered. Especially if you’re a garlic enthusiast, this dish is a must-try, essentially presenting itself as a flavorful rendition of shrimp gambas – incredibly garlicky and utterly delicious.
Consistently holding the second spot on my list of favorites at Happy Monkey (right after the sizzling shrimp), the fried calamari has never failed to impress. Every time I’ve ordered it, it has been fried to perfection and served with a tangy aji sauce.
Kale and Roasted Pumpkin Salad
The kale and roasted pumpkin salad is a recent addition to the Fall menu. It’s a combination of kale, apples, and roasted pumpkin, all elegantly dressed in a light vinaigrette. The real standout, though, are the pine nuts, which elevate the overall dish. I would definitely order the kale salad again.
Long Island Fluke Crudo
The Long Island fluke crudo is good, delivering exactly what you’d anticipate. I’d order it again.
The tuna tartare is good. It’s what you’d expect from a tuna tartare. But, it doesn’t leave a lasting impression the way the sizzling shrimp does for me. In fact, I even forgot to order the tuna tartare during my most recent visit!
The eggplant fritters, a new addition to the Fall menu, were quite different from what I imagined it would be. I was expecting something akin to the eggplant fries at Little Pub, but what arrived were plump, round pieces of eggplant, delicately coated in a fluffy breading of manchego cheese and honey before being fried. While they were okay, they didn’t quite reach the level of amazing. Personally, I still found myself leaning more towards the fried calamari.
The fish tacos are pretty much what you’d expect – featuring fried flounder. However, there’s a twist with the addition of a cabbage-pickled vegetable that gives it a subtle Asian influence. While they’re decent, they don’t quite reach the level of fabulousness. Personally, I find the Happy Monkey tacos to be just average, and you’d be better off ordering the other dishes on the menu.
During each visit to Happy Monkey, I inevitably find myself ordering the beef tacos, only to be reminded that I actually don’t like them. It’s thinly sliced beef topped with salsa, they fall short of being remarkable, lacking in robust flavor, and the beef isn’t as tender as one might hope. My honest recommendation would be to skip the beef tacos and order something else.
Happy Monkey Greenwich: Dessert Review
I tried both the tres leches and the pear and cranberry crumble, and both were delicious. However, the pear and cranberry crumble was particularly addictive. If I had to choose one, I’d definitely go with the crumble.
Don’t skip dessert at Happy Monkey.
Happy Monkey Greenwich: Drinks Review
At Happy Monkey, the drinks are the real stars of the show. I honestly think the drinks at Happy Monkey are better than the food.
My personal favorites are the raspberry lychee bellini and the passion fruit sangria.
The pomegranate mezcalita is also a winner, and my husband was quite pleased with the whiskey cider. Happy Monkey in Greenwich is undoubtedly a great spot on the avenue for drinks.
Does Happy Monkey Truly Live Up to the Hype?
Absolutely, Happy Monkey lives up to the hype. In my opinion, it stands as one of the best restaurants on Greenwich Avenue for enjoying drinks and tapas. The lively atmosphere and energetic vibe make it a great spot to go to for date night or girls night, not to mention the stylish decor that adds to the overall vibe.