The Novice Foodie: Monarch, Fit for a Queen (and Her Hungover Husband)

The first time my husband and I ate at Monarch was for my 29th birthday. This was not so long ago, when our visits to nicer restaurants were reserved for a birthday or our anniversary. I'd chosen Monarch because we'd never been there and also because I'd loved chef Josh Galliano's food when he was at An American Place. To say I was looking forward to our Saturday reservations would be an understatement.

The night before, my husband and I had thrown our annual backyard trivia party. It was a rough night. So rough, in fact, that my husband was still feeling less than stellar when we were seated in Monarch's main dining room. He was downright queasy, in fact.

OK, OK, so he puked three times while we were there and ate only about three bites of food.

This is why we can't have nice things.

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This could have been a disaster. I could have been so embarrassed. But the staff at Monarch acted as if an aggressively monumental hangover were a daily occurrence there. After my husband's second trip to the restroom, our server discreetly asked if something was wrong. I told her the truth: He was hungover, it was my birthday, and I didn't want to cancel our reservations. I hoped he wasn't bothering other patrons.

Instead of shame or snobbery, the bar sent over ginger mocktails. "To sooth your stomachs," our server said as she set them down.

The food was everything I'd anticipated: creative, packed with seasonal ingredients and incredibly tasty. I ate every dish that came to our table. Chris couldn't eat anything -- until he took a few bites of the banana pudding delivered to our table by Galliano himself. Suspect.

I knew I'd come back.