While visiting the new Point Royal restaurant at the renovated Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood Beach recently, I caught a peek of this addition and moved it up on my list of must-try places. As in, I went back the next day.
Philadelphia Chef and restaurateur Michael Schulson‘s seventh restaurant brings modern Japanese cuisine to the area. Lined with dark and intricately carved wood panels, and showered with over two dozen multisized chandeliers, the seductive dining room’s wow-factor game is on point. Broken down into various sections- Cold, Small, Crispy, Meat, Fish, Sides, Robatayaki, Sushi, Sashimi, and Rolls-, the menu teased with reasonably priced items all begging to be ordered. Where to even begin…
WHAT I TRIED
Engaging every sense, the standouts out of a succession of pleasing bites were the Edamame Dumplings, the Bao Buns (Pastrami and Duck Scrapple), Bacon Yakisoba, and the Scallop Sushi. I never wanted the umami concerto to end. I am not monkeying around when I say I could easily and happily eat at least three portions of the addicting soft dumplings: misleadingly small, yet robust in flavor. The bao buns disarmed me. The pastrami, topped with a Brussels slaw for added crunch, finished with a mildly tangy Japanese mustard. Do yourself a favor and ask for extra mustard from the get go. Maple teriyaki and chili gave the duck bao a sweet and savory punch.
The prices deceive those of us who find this type of food irresistible. Listed per piece, it’s easy to over-order. Ignore the lingering FOMO. Do as I say and not as I did. On your first visit go for the Chef’s Tasting Menu. For $65.00, you can choose one item from each of the ten sections on the main menu, plus one dessert. It’s more than enough to eat and unequivocally the perfect way to test every menu section.
Barely two months since quietly opening, Monkitail is scorching H O T! I could not spot a single empty seat during my visit. The staff ran around hustling and working nonstop. Is that a miss? Of course not. But it was obvious they were understaffed. Despite this, our waiter Joel dealt with the chaotic situation surrounding us as courteously and professionally as he possibly could. He did his best to find backup when it became physically impossible to tend to the four tables simultaneously needing his service. Perhaps it’s time to hire a little of extra help on the weekends.
Monkitail offers several areas ideal for private dining and large parties. Nokku, their quaint speakeasy lounge complete with karaoke rooms, hides within the restaurant. But I’m not saying another word on the topic; you’ll have to discover it all yourself. Maybe I just want to keep this part of the story a secret a bit longer.
It’s been a while since we had a Broward County restaurant arrival as exciting as Monkitail’s. Besides the obvious delectable eats, we get the swanky Miami Beach “it” vibes without the inflated cost, taxes, difficult parking, and attitude. The tourist-magnet Diplomat houses the restaurant, and locals can take advantage of the complimentary valet parking with a validated ticket. A win-win for us all. It also sounds like a culinary staycation waiting to happen. Visit Point Royal, Monkitail & Diplomat Prime and complete the trifecta. I’m predicting only increased popularity for this gem, which can be a good or bad thing. Here’s hoping Monkitail remains genuine and maintains their integrity through the upcoming whirlwind without making any drastic changes.
Monkitail…sexy, mysterious, and invigorating. I, for one, am smitten.