What I Ordered
- Fresh Oysters
Their raw bar often has a selection of 3 different East Coast oysters. If they have it try the Beausoleil (pronounced boy-sole-ay) they're on the smaller side, mild brine, slightly sweet.
- Ceviche/ Crudo
Since Mongers focuses mainly on local seafood their international specials change often. Some offerings I've seen are New Zealand Ora King Salmon, Japanese Hamachi, etc. The Tuna Poke with sesame oil is delicious!
- Smoked Fish Dip
They'll often run out of this on a busy day so try to get it while you can. It is a house special and served with homemade potato chips that are super addicting.
- Clam Chowder
They also serve my favorite clam chowder this side of the Mississipi. Owner and Executive Chef Shane is from the Nor' East and so influences of their cuisine sneak in from time to time. But he's also been a long time local of Austin and understands that hot and heavy isn't what Austin needs. So his clam chowder is light but somehow still packed with the same flavor you'd expect from a hearty soup on the East Coast.
- Fish BLT
Awesome fish sandwich, big portion, served with their fish of the day, as well as your choice of a side. Simple lunch.
- Short Rib Sandwich
Chef Shane knows his way around beef, which is great because for the protein packer (usually me) they have options like this amazing short rib sandwich. Must try. So satisfying. Just do it!
- Fish Tacos
One of my favorite fish tacos in town. Lightly breaded, and comes in two with a side of black beans and rice.
- French Toast
Why would I order french toast at a seafood restaurant? The same reason why you will order the short rib sandwich, plain and simple: its tasty. French baguette, toasted pecans, great crunch.
- Coffee/ Hot Chocolate
Again a bit unusual, but hey Keep Austin Weird. They use Hairbender Stumpton Coffee and offer a cup or a full French Press (that will keep you going all day). And again, because he's from the cold front, Shane knows how to cook up a mean hot chocolate but it isn't always available. If it is, I don't care if it's 90 outside, there's air conditioning, order it.
In Short: Places like Mongers make me happy to eat there not just because of their food or the atmosphere they provide but because their commitment to sustainability. I've had nearly everything on the menu, visited many times, love the staff, and consider myself a long time regular.
This here is a true Austin establishment. As part of the booming community on the East Side, Mongers has managed to elevate local dining in the area. If you’re not from Central Texas then maybe you don’t know, because I didn’t catch it until I moved here myself, but there’s virtually no fresh seafood! If you take a look at a map this should come to no surprise, Austin is at least 3 hours from the Gulf of Mexico, the closest thing we have to a coast. Until recently only big name restaurants such as the Uchi group and Eddy V’s had the power and the funds to ship or fly fresh seafood into our landlocked town.
The name Mongers pays tribute to the hardworking fishermen who sometimes risk their lives to bring us fish. I mean have you seen an episode of Deadliest Catch? Maybe the word monger has a bad connotation in your mind that makes you conjure up images of thieves or shady characters. But a fish monger is a hard worker by nature of the job, they are the hunters of the sea, and most importantly bring us landlubbers fish! Owner Shane is aware of the relationship between eating seafood and depletion of biodiversity in the world’s oceans. He paired up with veteran fisherman Roberto who makes the commute from the Gulf to Austin multiple times a week. Whatever the fisherment catch is what they sell. They don’t demand anything, and the menu is reflective of what is available, I call that true sea to table. Mongers is also a market, and they sell shrimp, fish, and whatever else they’ve caught at a wholesale price.
Now dining inside Mongers you wont feel like you’re eating at a fish market. It is more reminiscent of having lunch at someone’s beach house in Montauk, NY. Ever eaten at Ditch Plains in Manhattan? Same beachy vibes, low key but friendly service who know their stuff about specials and menu items. The servers here are mostly locals who’ve worked with Shane and each other in the past and seem to be a very tight group. I’ve often been distracted from eating just by great conversation and a few good laughs. It can be a lot of fun eating here for both the food and atmosphere.
Places like Mongers make me happy to eat there not just because of their food or the atmosphere they provide but because their commitment to sustainability. I’ve had nearly everything on the menu, visited many times, love the staff, and consider myself a long time regular.