Monkey King, which opened early last year in the Gaslamp, has changed hands. The 3,600-square-foot restaurant and bar now falls under the umbrella of GBOD Hospitality Group, whose growing portfolio includes Mezé Greek Fusion in the Gaslamp and Liberty Public Market as well as 5th Avenue’s El Chingon Bad Ass Mexican, Havana 1920, and Prohibition speakeasy.
Named after an illegal 1800s gambling house that once operated on the site, which stands in San Diego’s original Chinatown district, Monkey King is retaining its Asian theme. There are new items on the menu, which includes honey-lemongrass chicken with red onion, bok choy, cilantro, and chilis, chili-lime sea bass with watercress, lime and peanuts, and shaking beef served with papaya, tomato, red onion, scallions, and lime. GBOD Hospitality Group beverage director Ryan Andrews is behind the South Pacific-inspired craft cocktail list, which ranges from the Monkey King Mai Tai, made with Ron Zacapa rum, toasted cashew orgeat, lime juice, dry Curaçao, and R&D house bitters to his signature Balboa #2, a combo of Henebery whiskey, fresh lime, cashew orgeat, and R&D sarsaparilla bitters.
The restaurant is re-opening with a trio of events running from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 through Saturday, June 23. The free ticketed events will include tray-passed appetizers and cocktail samples. Friday, serving specially-priced appetizers and drinks. Going forward, Monkey King will be open for dinner daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. with happy hour offered on weekdays from 5 p.m. 7 p.m.