Good news out of California. Per Nation's Restaurant News, The Cheesecake Factory has opened a new fast-casual Asian restaurant in Westlake Village, a suburb of Los Angeles, and I'm already on my way to stand in line. Fast-casual restaurant concepts have become a way of life. And I have promptly subscribed to the ~lifestyle~ of aesthetically-pleasing dining spaces that put a filling, delicious plate of food in front of you in a breeze on your lunch break. It is a beautiful, cherished relationship between busy millennial and our greatest love, dining out.
If you're a regular at The Cheesecake Factory, don't expect to find the same novel length menus at the new fast-casual restaurant, The Social Monk. The amount of menu options stays true to the definition of "fast". With fewer options you won't have to spend half an hour delegating which starters to go with. Who has the time on a lunch break?! The Social Monk's menu has six solid starter options compared to 20 appetizers at The Cheesecake Factory.
What you can expect is high quality food coming to your table in no time. Food Beast reports, "Helming the culinary team is award-winning chef, Mohan Ismail, a Singaporean native that specializes in Southeast Asian fare." Rice bowls and noodle dishes are featured in abundance — but an emotionally-manageable abundance. You won't stress over going with the wrong choice because there is simply no wrong choice. All ingredients used, according to The Social Monk's website are "fresh" and "bold".
In addition to the starters, rice bowls and noodles, The Social Monk menu also features soups and salads, sandwiches, veggies, sides, desserts and a kid's menu. The Fried Chicken sandwich is served with pickles and a Sriracha honey sauce. The Green Papaya Salad comes with long beans, shallots and peanuts. And then there are the Spicy Thai Chicken Wings, Chicken Satay Rice Bowls, and Crispy Princess Chicken. Are you drooling? Cool, same. Are you looking into airfare from your city to Los Angeles? Also same.
The lengthy menu that The Cheesecake Factory is known for is both a blessing and a curse. With so many tempting dishes, how can one possibly choose? But The Social Monk's menu seems like a straight up blessing. It's navigation is straight-forward and its options are enough to keep you coming back for your soon to be favorites, or more.
The Social Monk is now open in Westlake Village, California on Thousand Oaks Boulevard. The restaurant hours are seven days a week, Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prices are moderate. A Rice Bowl ranges from $8.95 to $12.95, depending on which meat you chose. Make your visit a work lunch or a dinner date. The seamless day to night menu accommodates whatever occasion you're dining out for.
Order your meal at the counter and take a seat in the social setting of the modern restaurant. The upscale vibes of this fast-casual restaurant and the vibrant ingredients bringing color to your rice bowl serves up some major Instagram opportunities. We can only hope that The Social Monk follows in The Cheesecake Factory's footsteps and expands into a nationwide chain for those of us who aren't located in Southern California. Until then, I'll be stalking Social Monk on Instagram.