Mono + Mono [Click the photo above to go to Mono + Mono’s website]

 116 E 4th St (between 1st and 2nd Ave), New York, NY 10003

 Girl birthday dinners…too many girls, too many opinions: Is this funny? What do we order?  Is this insulting? Can I taste that? Am I being left out? Did we just get deep? Should we order drinks? Fun, but oh em effing gee!

 This one started out reg, with an email invite for seven of our closest friends to Mono + Mono either Tues or Wednesday. Perk of a birthday dinner is you don’t spend 30 e-mails fighting over what restaurant to go to (or at least that happens with my friends: I don’t like that place, that’s too far, the food looks weird, it’s too much money, I want byob…is your head spinning?). But Tuesday or Wednesday was like its own ticking time bomb…

 “I don’t care, up to you.”

“Whatever works”

“I’m down for whatever”

 The email chain continues with different ways of trying to convey that each girl is “go with the flow and fine with whatever,” until the opinionated one of the group is like WEDNESDAY! Ok fine, no one wanted to make a decision anyway.

 7:30 dinner gives me just enough time to turn into a human being post work. We arrive, and the host greets us suggesting we hang up our coats, because in his exact words, “it’s a stove back there.” (a stove? Maybe an oven? I immediately think of Bridesmaid’s…What kind of name is stove?”)

 Only 3 out of 7 have arrived, and I have to tell you, I’m starving. I already looked up the restaurant ahead of time (I mean who doesn’t??), but the menu was overwhelming me nonetheless. Mono + Mono specializes in their fried chicken, and their Soju (Soju is Korean alcohol, but I would say it pretty much tastes like vodka infused with fruit) so in my mind those were definites.

 Eventually the others arrive, and we can get down to business, but not before my friend arrives, plops down in her seat, and announces she “loves getting spit in the face at work” (she’s a middle school teacher in the Bronx, so a student spit at her). What.an.intro. Dinner is about to go down…

 “Are we sharing?”

“Lets share.”

“Yeah, lets share.”

 ….

 “I want the chicken.”

“Ok, what chicken should we get?”

“I want fries too.”

“I don’t eat chicken, but I’m just going to get something else.” (what?)

 So far we have 2 large plates of fried chicken (1 soy garlic, and 1 hot & spicy) and one order of French fries after my friend boldly states that she “loves potatoes.” Yeah, ok, sure.

 “The hot & spicy is pretty spicy”

“That’s ok, we like spicy,” says Miss Wednesday.  Since I actually like spicy it was fine with me.

 The waiter throws out that the chicken takes 40 minutes to prepare…wait what? Let’s get more food.

 “Who wants sushi?”

“I’m fine with sushi.”

“We’re still getting the French fries right?”

“Yes.”

“How about the ninja roll?”

“Wait, are we getting French fries?”

 ….

 “I want a salad, does anyone else want a salad?”

“if you want the salad, I’ll eat the salad.”

“Everyone will pick at it…”

Soju arrives first. All of us are handed small glasses with a large block of ice in the middle, and the Soju is poured on top of the ice cube. It is gone in a matter of minutes.

 Food arrives staggered as we all grab at it with our forks, chopsticks, fingers, and whatever utensil we can find on the table.

 “Who has seen Hunger Games?”

“I’m seeing it on Friday.”

“Did you read the book?”

“She definitely didn’t read it, she only saw the movie.” (she only saw the movie)

“I’m reading it now…”

 “Who watches Shahs of Sunset?” This show is so bad it’s good, and I have verbal diarrhea going on and on about Resa (if you don’t know who that is, that’s just too bad for you)….Mob wives comes next…and then like any girl with a pulse, Fifty Shades of Grey comes up.

 “It’s crazy.”

“I want to read it.”

“it’s on my kindle.”

“Is it a fetish? Like a baby?”

“Like the Nip/Tuck episode?”

“No, like S&M.”

 So I guess this is my next book, I need to be able to keep up with the conversation, and I have to tell you it was difficult. Diagonal conversations, across the table conversation, adjacent conversation, my head was spinning. “What are you guys talking about over there?”

 The fried chicken arrives. Each plate is half soy garlic and half hot & spicy. “Why didn’t they just put each on a different plate? That’s so dumb.” Whatevs  lets eat. As it turns out, the waiter was not messing around, it was really spicy. You can’t tell the difference between each flavor chicken until you take a bite of it, so all hell broke loose.

We suddenly turn into rabid animals sniffing the chicken, biting the chicken, then putting it back. It was a scene. When it was all said and done, I have to say it was really good. Although everyone went nuts from the spicy, I would make the argument that the soy garlic might have been too sweet without the spicy chicken paired with it.

 I sneak off to the bathroom, and request a candle and dessert for our birthday girl. Frozen yogurt! Yes! Tastes just like Pinkberry. As we’re winding down I see Miss Wednesday sucking the gigantic ice cube into her mouth, rolling it around, and then spitting it back into her glass…it’s time to go home.

Mono + Mono (grapefruit flavored Soju)

It’s alcohol. It’s fine with me.

Mono + Mono (mango salad)

A little creamy, but we each had a a bites, so great for a few bites, but definitely get it to share, not for yourself.

Mono + Mono (fries)

These were actually unreal! I “love potatoes” too. We ordered a second round of these. It came with 3 dipping sauces. One is a spicy mayo, which my friend almost spit out after already eating the spicy chicken (still funny).

Mono + Mono (spider roll)

Look at this monster! The pickiest eater of our friends decided it looked too good to not try, and surprise, she liked it! It’s deep fried and covered in sauce…puh-lease.

Mono + Mono (Ninja roll)

Looks cray right? We each got a roll or two depending on who didn’t want this particular dish. I definitely would get them to share, because they’re good for a taste, but not a whole meal.

Mono * Mono (fried chicken)

Here it is! Can you tell which one is spicy, and which one is sweet? I don’t care I’d eat them again just to watch everyone freak out.

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