casa mono review
went to casa mono for the first time last night after a few nice "meals" at bar jamon in the past. walked in around 7 without a reservation, was told that the wait for bar stools was about 30 minutes, gave the hostess my cell phone number, walked around and got a call about 30 minutes saying two spots were open at the bar so we walked back. i love the call the cell phone thing so you dont have to stand in the doorway looking like a fool.
the room is tiny, a little bit bigger than bar jamon, with about 10 tables and two rows of bar seats, one row in front of the open kitchen and one in front of an all wine bar. it's loud but fun and definitely not too loud that you can't hear whoever you are with.
anyway, we started with two glasses of wine, hers a sauvignon blanc and mine a tempranillo, sorry names are escaping me now. i know that you get a quartino of wine, but still seeing nothing less than $17 for a little more than a glass of wine is a bit of a sticker shock.
so the food: we started with the pumpkin and goat cheese croquettes, fideos with clams, and chiporones with white beans. of the three, the fideos were the best. small rice-like pasta with a mound of clams and creme fraiche on top. it was unbelievably tasty. the highlight of the night. the chiporones were delicious, small, with a squid like texture and the white beans were perfectly cooked and in a great sauce. the pumpkin croquettes were ok, the pumpkin was the batter and the goat cheese was inside. nice and cruncy, but maybe a tad too fried for my taste.
next came the pork cheek with quince and pomegranites and the quail with figs. the pork cheek was unbelievable, incredibly tender, fantastic char, and super juicy. the quince added a whole other dimension to what bbq could taste like. the quail was nice but a very very tiny portion for the price, basically two quail legs and wings. they were very good, a bit salty, and the wax beans and figs went uneaten. we also had the mushroom with garlic side which came with a nice variety of mushrooms and a lot of garlic. i love garlic and i loved this side dish.
overall, casa mono was incredible. for 6 plates, 2 glasses of wine, and one coffee, tax and tip, it came out to about $130. not awful considering how much fun we had eating and how great the food was. as a side note, eating at the bar is so much fun and actually more intimate than eating at a table. i was so close to my fiance and we could hear each other, instead of being separated by a table. my only gripe: no churros with chocolate on the dessert menu, probably the best dish served at bar jamon.
re: jason carey
It is so depressing to be so consistently overcharged for wine in the US after enjoying tapas in Spain. These meals are so accessible and terrific and the wine so fantastic there; you will never pay more than $4 for a glass of wine in Spain. For this reason tapas in NY will remain an extravagant splurge rather than a wonderful part of everyday life that that can be enjoyed in Spain.
The meal described by the OP sounded wonderful, but less than 1/2 the amount of food we had at a top flight spot in Barcelona, Cal Pep. We paid about the same for two.
My boyfriend and I went tonight on a lark. We were seated immediately when we arrived around 7:30. We had:
razor clams: very well flavored, but slight over-cooked
sweetbreads w/fennel: excellent
venison with butternut squash and portobello mushrooms: extremely tender meat with a sauce my boyfriend sopped up with bread b/c he couldn't get enough
brussel sprouts: I love brussel sprouts, but these were better than any brussel sprouts I've ever had
bread pudding: very good, clean citrus flavor
chocolate cake: my boyfriend loved it, but it was a bit too much for me after going to the chocolate show the day before.