Photo Credit: Kelly Campbell
52 Irving Pl.New York, NY 10003
One of the first reviews we ever wrote was for one of New York City’s best restaurants. Casa Mono was probably the seventh thing we ever published, and I think the original writeup was like 55 words and had a yfrog photo link in it. It’s safe to say an update was necessary.
The good news is that even though the review was old, we were still absolutely right about this place. A couple of recent return trips to Casa Mono has proven that this restaurant is just as good as its ever been. It’s a timeless NYC classic with an unmistakable feel-good vibe, and top notch but relaxed service. As for the food, you’d be hard pressed to find Spanish EEEEEATS in the United States better than those coming out of this tiny Gramercy kitchen. You can pretty much close your eyes and blindly point at the menu, comfortably knowing there’s no wrong answer.
You want to impress an out of towner? How about a first date? Take them to Casa Mono. Don’t have a reservation? Don’t worry about it. All you need to do is show up, and prepare to kick it next door at Bar Jamón, Casa Mono’s wine and tapas bar, while you wait for your table. You might end up with an hour to kill, but who cares if you’ve got a bottle of wine and some jamón serrano in front of you?
Pan con Tomate
The only way to start a tapas meal is with a little tomato on toast.
Ensalada Mono with Manchego and Pimentón Spiced Marcona Almonds
We love this little shredded, smoky salad. It’s always a good idea to order a couple lighter apps, because as you get further into the menu, things start to get heavy.
Blackened Beets with Caña de Cabra, Blueberries and Everything Bagel Chips
Beets? Blueberries? Bagel Chips? All of my favorite things. All on one plate. All working together in sweet harmony.
Fluke Crudo with Passion Fruit, Szechuan Peppercorns and Cucumber Salsa
One of our all time Casa Mono favorites. The smoky peppercorns combined with the crisp cucumber and zesty passion fruit makes for an amazing flavor combo. That, and the crudo is perfect.
Pulpo with Fennel and Grapefruit
Oh baby, the Casa Mono octopus. Crispy, tender, and so good.
Baby Squid Encebollados with Sherry Balsamico and Basil
Yes, you just decided upon octopus, but you should probably get the baby squid too. Promise, this is the right move.
Fried Soft Shell Crab and Harissa with Black Garlic and Squid Ink Sauce
If it’s in season and on the menu, jump at the opportunity. The black garlic and squid ink ju that comes on this thing is magic.
Bone Marrow with Sweet Bean Purée, Pickled Mustard Seeds and Salted Granola
You know when you doze off in the shower, daydreaming about random things so you don’t have to think about the imminent day of work that you’re about to endure? Yeah, well, these big bones filled with cartilage fat and meat juice are what we think about when that happens. There’s a lot of good bone marrow out there, but this is one of the best.
Skirt Steak with Romesco and Onion Mermelada
Perfectly cooked meat, incredible onion sauce action. We order this every time we come, and it never disappoints.
An excellent and reasonably priced bottle of white wine from the Basque region of Spain. We don’t often put wine in the Food Rundown, but here it’s important because this does so well with the food here. It’s a crisp white that is slightly effervescent. A perfect summer bottle, and reasonably priced.
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Bone broth in a coffee cup, served from a window at Hearth. Is this real? Nobody knows.
Better than it used to be. And it used to be really damn good.
This is how you book a restaurant reservation in 2014.