Stay up to date on D.C. with our free newsletters
At their forthcoming Blagden Alley restaurant Monkey King, the team behind The Fainting Goat will serve dim sum, roast meats, noodles, dumplings, and other Cantonese-influenced dishes. A trip they took to Hong Kong this spring inspired many of the menu items, including “playful” street foods like egg waffles.
“We want to be a little mischievous, a little playful,” says co-owner Greg Algie. The owners, including Henry Bruce and chef Nathan Beauchamp, named the restaurant Monkey King after a Chinese fable character known for his mischief.
Monkey King Noodle Co. also happens to be the name of a popular Dallas eatery which has trademarked its moniker. But Algie says he’s not too concerned about that: “They’re calling it a ‘noodle company,’ we’re calling it Monkey King, and if we have to, we’ll tag it as like a Hong Kong kitchen.”
Algie says he has long wanted to create a restaurant that would pay homage to Hong Kong. “It’s a great city. It’s got so much diversity in it. It’s New York that’s on steroids basically. And it’s got those Eastern and Western influences,” he says.
Monkey King will also take some inspiration from hip Chinese restaurants like Mission Chinese in New York and San Francisco and Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco as well as American Chinatowns in the 1950s and ’60s. “There’s probably some menu items then that have moved out of the way, and I think we’re going to try to reintroduce some of those,” Algie says.
The restaurant will be located in the former home of Rogue 24, but the modernist restaurant’s exhibition kitchen in the center of the dining room won’t be staying. The space will also be overhauled to include a big bar area. “There will be kind of a cocktail scene,” Algie says. The restaurant will be outfitted by the Edit Lab at Streetsense, whose design team also traveled to Hong Kong for inspiration.
Monkey King is expected to open by early next year.