Casa Mono…Yes or No?

So, I’ve been getting into tapas bars recently so naturally Casa Mono came up on my list. This is one of Mario Batali’s restaurants, and it’s also where the 2nd season of Top Chef, Ilan Hall, cooked prior to winning.

I would pass by this place everyday walking home from NYU campus when I lived in Gramercy. Sometimes I would stop to see the menu and think, “it’s not THAT expensive…” However, as a student, anything that was over $10 and considered a “small plate” did not fit into the budget. I was lucky enough to win an American Express gift card for $50 and decided that this is where I would spend it – Casa Mono.

Finally after months and months of pining for some delicious Spanish tapas, my friend decided to come with me on this tasting adventure. We made reservations and off we went. I was quite excited.

We were one of the first ones there for dinner and got a small enclosed table by the window. After we asked the waiter millions of questions like, “so what exactly is Fideos?” or “how spicy are your patatas bravas?”, our orders went in and anticipated our meal.

These are their Bacalao Croquetas with Orange Alioli aka. Cod encased deep fried goodness with yummy orange sauce. The croquetas were crisp but didn’t make me feel like I was eating oil. I definitely tasted the cod too, so deep frying it didn’t make it lose the flavor.

This is the Fideos with Chorizo and Clams. Okay…wha? If you’re like me, you’ll need an explanation:

  • Fideos – a thin, vermicelli-like noodle
  • Chorizo – fresh sausage
  • Clam – okay, this is something you should just know…=P

Anyway this dish was actually really good too and nice to share. I’m not the biggest fan of clams so I didn’t eat that, but it had good flavors.

Sweetbreads with Fennel al Mono. I think this was the first time trying sweetbread and not to say that this wasn’t good, but I personally dont’ like the texture of sweetbread in general.

Last of the savory dishes was Skirt Steak with Onion Mermelada (aka. Preserve). From what I remember, the Onion Mermelada was really good. Don’t get me wrong, the steak was cooked well but I enjoy the sauces that it is paired with.

And onto desssssert!

This is their Mono Sundae, comprised of Plum Brandy Ice Cream with Arrope (grape syrup) and Almonds. Oh man, this was SOO good. All the flavors worked together and satiated my craving for something sweet at the end. Yum yum.

Pricey? Yeah, everything adds up kids. I’m just glad I had that gift certificate. The waiters know what they’re talking about and it looks like they have an extensive wine menu, so I’m sure these dishes would go well with the right wine. I warn you that you might end up smelling like some of the food in there – it’s an open kitchen space.

Conclusion: Worth checking out though? Casa Mono is a YES.

Casa Mono
52 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003

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