September 7, 2008

Casa Mono - Not your Neighborhood Tapas Bar

Casa Mono
The first time I went to Casa Mono was right after it had just opened. It was crowded, service was choppy, and the food unpredictable.

Coming back this summer for the first time since - it was perfect.

The food was amazing, the crowds were more manageable, and the service was fine. I mean, what do you expect when you sit at the bar?

Not 5 star service, but a 5 star show - watching the cooks prepare my food is better than 5 star waiter service any day of the week.

At its heart, Casa Mono is a Catalan tapas bar - inspired by all regions in Spain. Part of the burgeoning Batali & Bastianich Restaurant Group, Casa Mono was conceptualized by one of Mario Batali's longtime apprentices, chef Andy Nusser.

The restaurant is a tiny box in Gramercy, located on Irving Place. Seating is limited, and you need a reservation if you want a table.
skirt steak at Casa Mono
But I prefer sitting at the bar where I can watch the cooks whip up a frenzy of dishes - everything from Sweetbreads to Duck Egg with Mojama to one of my personal favorites - Skirt steak with onion mermelada. The steak is perfectly medium rare with a sauce that is tart, sweet and spicy at the same time. It is a rich treat for your taste buds.

Soft Shell Crab at Casa Mono
Other favorites include the Seasonal Soft Shell Crab and the Housemade Chorizo with my favorite part - crispy manchego cheese.

Housemade Chorizo at Casa Mono
The dishes are succulent, with a variety of smells, tastes and sensory delights which will transport you back to the cobblestone streets of Barcelona.

Until the dollar strengthens enough to go to Spain without breaking the bank...we have Casa Mono to bring us there night after night.

Casa Mono
52 Irving Place, New York, NY

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