The Funky Monk brings Mongolian and Russian cuisine to Evanston

Amanda Svachula, Assistant A&E Editor

There’s a new addition to Evanston cuisine options: The Funky Monk. Opened in early August at 618 1/2 Church St., the restaurant serves Mongolian and Russian food.

Ulzii Hughbanks founded The Funky Monk after owning two nail salons in Chicago, where employees with Mongolian and Russian roots often yearned for home-cooked food. Hughbanks decided to answer this call and now serves steamed dumplings, Russian borscht, samsys and other dishes at The Funky Monk.

“We make everything in the house, all noodles and doughs,” Hughbanks said. “We also make everything for order, so everything is very fresh.”

Hughbanks showed The Daily how vegetable samsies, Russian oven-baked pies stuffed with squash, are freshly made at her restaurant.

  1. When creating a samsy, owner of The Funky Monk Ulzii Hughbanks must first prepare the dough.
  2. After the dough is made, Hughbanks prepares the filling for each samsy. In this case, she creates a vegetable filling containing seasoned squash.
  3. Hughbanks wraps the squash filling in triangles of dough. She then paints egg yolk on the tops of the samsies and sprinkles them with sesame seeds.
  4. The samsys are then baked. Hughbanks takes them out of the oven once they are a golden brown color.
  5. Once the vegetable samsies are baked, customers can enjoy them as either a meal or a dessert with a cup of tea. Samsys at The Funky Monk also come with savory fillings like beef.

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Twitter: @amandasvachula