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During the turn of the 13th century, a mercenary named Eustace Busket performed daring acts of piracy up and down the English channel, employing himself first to England and then switching sides to fight for the French. As his legend grew, he became known as “The Black Monk.” This was partly due to his brief turn in a Benedectine abbey, but also for his supposed studies in black magic as a young man. Eight hundred years later, the bold spirit of Eustace, the Black Monk, lives on in a local bar now entering year two of operation.
The Black Monk Tavern sits on the original site of the Black Diamond Oyster Bar. Co-owner Zane Campbell worked as a general manager at the Black Diamond, and he has taken that and his more than 10 years experience in seafood into crafting new twists on traditional cocktails and bar fare.
“We have the best seafood in town,” proudly proclaims Candace Huff, manager of the tavern.
Although that claim may be challenged by at least a dozen other Corpus Christi seafood restaurants, Campbell backs it up with his own fusion of Tex-Mex and Cajun-style Gulf Coast cuisine, such as his pecan crusted oysters and his Sailor Jerry’s jalapeno-stuffed shrimp wraps.
But for Huff, her personal favorite is the Ahi tuna wonton crisps, a complete reimagining of the traditional bar nachos. As the name suggests, the base is a seasoned fried wonton chip. On the top of that, Cajun slaw, layered with pickled red onions, cilantro, spicy aioli, red chile sauce, and garnished with limes and a jalapeno. The sour and tart flavors mix well with the spiciness of the aioli and the chile, which is not too overpowering. And the onions add a tinge of sweetness. The presentation itself resembles a sort of fleet of pirate ships loaded down with cargo. Though when ordering it, be sure to grab a few napkins.
Huff pairs this with a Brazilian-style cocktail worthy of a worldly pirate. The Black Mass consists of Ypioca cachaca, lime juice, sugar, and Kracken rum. It strikes a good balance between the lime tang and the sweetness of the sugar, and goes down smoothly.
In addition to the unique eats and drinks, the Black Monk also hosts music every Saturday. “We initially started out as sort of a blues bar,” Campbell said. “But now we have a little bit of everything: punk, metal, rock, and everything in between.”
After establishing themselves in year one, the Black Monk Tavern hopes to further carry the spirit of both its namesake and the Black Diamond.
Black Monk Tavern
5712 Gollihar Rd, Corpus Christi, TX 78412