Forgtmenot Team Opens Monroe, a Lush Mediterranean Restaurant in Two Bridges Area

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This green oasis is the latest project from the team behind Forgtmenot and Kiki’s, the popular local spots on Division Street. The restaurant, Monroe (49 Monroe St.), is right across from Coleman Skatepark under the Manhattan Bridge. It opened last night after months of renovations and planning.

As you can see, it’s a big, dramatic space filled with plants. The former home of Kaplan Philip Glass Works features a double height ceiling, an expansive rectangular bar in the back of the restaurant and long picnic-style tables meant to accommodate groups.

Monroe’s menu is Southern European/Mediterranean. You’ll find Italian, French and Spanish dishes, many of them ideal for sharing. Main courses include seafood paella, a 16-ounce rib eye, a mixed seafood platter, lasagna and cacio e pepe. Among the smaller plates are escargots, steak tartare, mussels (steamed or grilled), meat and cheese platters and a variety of salads (Caesar, Nicoise, Lyonaisse, etc.). Like the team’s other restaurants, prices are gentle. The small plates range from $7-12. Entrees run from $12 for carbonara up to $29 for the steak.

Paul and Abby Sierros opened Forgtmenot at 138 Division St. in 2012, winning over locals with a combination of warm service and uncomplicated but well-prepared bar food. Kiki’s , serving homestyle Greek food, debuted on the same block three years later. A coffee shop next door to Monroe (Little Chair) was added to the mix this past summer, in the aftermath of a brutal battle at Community Board 3 over a liquor permit. One more venture is still to come — a rotisserie chicken and pita spot on Division Street.

For now, Monroe is open for dinner only. Weekend brunch and lunch will be added later.

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Lower East Side Bar Crawl: Post-Sandy Style

Forgtmenot co-owner Abby Sierros was serving up candlelight, cold draft beer and steak frites last night.

The streets were dark and quiet last night, as most Lower East Side residents huddled in their homes or fled to friends and relatives, but for those who ventured out post-superstorm Sandy, food, drink and comaraderie were on tap at several bars and restaurants. Just as many locally owned coffee shops were functioning while Starbucks all over town remained locked up tight, the establishments that opened their doors to their neighbors last night were generally the ones owned by the neighbors. There were no honking taxis or stretch limos dropping off stiletto-clad visitors from outside the LES, no DJs on the scene, just locals chilling out with each other and killing time until life gets back to normal.

169 Bar on East Broadway ran a small generator and a big party.

At 169 bar on East Broadway shortly after 7 p.m., the beer-and-a-shot $3 happy hour special was flowing freely to patrons relieved to get out of the house for a while, and pleasantly surprised to find generator-powered lights, plenty of company and even a little food. At Forgetmenot on Division Street, co-owners Abbie and Paul Sierros had a system. Abbie was behind the candelabra-lit bar, cheerfully offering to cook anything from the remaining contents of her refrigerator: steak, french fries and eggs. Meanwhile, Paul kept the power coming via a long extension cord plugged into an electrical inverter in a van parked out front.