Cheeky Monkey. If you know me, the name itself tells you that it should be my kind of place (not only am I cheeky, but the adjective also comes from my second homeland). And, on this Saturday morning, it was my kind of place – the kind of place I go to breakfast. When we popped into the lil bistro right around their ten o’clock opening time, our eyes feasted on some delectable desserts in their front case before being led to a small table near a boldly decorated fireplace (Christmas a few weeks early, anyone?).
We took our seats and began the coffee-drinking and the breakfast menu-looking (which didn’t take long because the menu isn’t large, but does offer traditional variety – yay). You probably know by now that at breakfast I drink approximately ten cups of coffee even when it’s crappy coffee. But today I had the luxury of looking forward to drinking my usual ten cups of fantastic coffee. And I wanted to keep drinking that fantastic coffee, but my waitress acted as though she didn’t want me to do so. She liked to carry around the pot of hot, fresh, bold coffee, but what she liked even more was to refrain from pouring me any of it. Lady, I already know I have an unhealthy addiction, and this is no time for an intervention from a self-righteous stranger! She was cute, but I hated her. And my eyes told her so. But my sweet voice that ordered The Homestead ($10) did not. And breakfast companion, masking her disdain equally well, ordered The Classic Eggs Benedict ($13).
Side note: I will mention that this poor service was rather abnormal. I’ve been to Cheeky Monkey on several other occasions for dinner and encountered enthusiastic and attentive servers every time. Perhaps the morning staff just needs a jolt of coffee themselves before serving it to others.
When I finally got my cup refilled, I sat with it for only a few minutes before getting my meal. The Homestead is Cheeky Monkey’s version of a classic breakfast: eggs, bacon, toast, and roasted potatoes. Yes, friends, that is bacon on my plate and it did indeed make its way into my stomach. And it was tasty – crispy and flavor-packed with just the right amount of grease. My roasted potatoes rivaled my bacon for the best part of the meal. They were seasoned with rosemary and chives and browned to perfection. The eggs, which were also seasoned with chives, were less than impressive. Creamier and fluffier than I prefer, they fell a little flat. Finally, my meal was topped off with a split slice of gluten-free toast. Any time I get to indulge in bread is a great time and today’s toast, though a bit dense, didn’t disappoint.
My breakfast partner opted for a classic eggs benedict today – and it was so good. Her benedict came with the roasted potatoes that she loved just as much as I did. She thought they were generously seasoned without being overwhelming so the actual potato taste was the central flavor, which is ideal for, you know, potatoes. Though her benedict was called ‘classic,’ it was actually a unique version of the traditional benedict. Instead of Canadian bacon piled on an English muffin, Cheeky Monkey used a homestyle shredded honey ham that added a meaty heartiness that is not quite as prominent in the run-of-the-mill benedict. The hollandaise was also light and sweet, which she was thankful for because if it had been super heavy like some hollandaise recipes, the whole thing would have been far too rich. All in all, she proclaimed it to be so, so good. So good that she would go back and get that exact meal again.
The Cheeky Monkey breakfast experience was an all around average one with a spike of genius. Despite the poor, poor service, the great food, casual atmosphere, delicious coffee, and positively lovely decor added to the overall ambiance and made it a worthy breakfast venue.
Coffee Quality: 9
Food Quality: 8
Quality of Service: 7
Menu Variety: 8
Overall Satisfaction: 9
Parking: street parking
Average Score: 8.2
Have you been to Cheeky Monkey?
Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Cheeky Monkey for yourself?
Check out their website or pop their address into your smartphone:
525 Selby Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55102