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Mar 14, 2009 08:57 PM

Casa Mono in detail

We went to Casa Mono for a "late lunch" today...I figured I'd write a post because since it's Mario Batali's spot it gets so many searches. First of all it's tiny and relatively crowded even at 3pm on a random Saturday. We didn't have reservations and sat at the counter. Way cool! We got to see all of the action, and dishes before we decided to order...and ones that we plan to either order or pass on next time. This isn't your typical spanish tapas bar. Tia Pol is definitely a little more authentic (I've been to Barcelona and Madrid so I can tell the real deal). But, the offal is plentiful as well as the seafood, the plate size is more raciones than real "tapas" but you are paying average plate $15 and my husband wouldn't be full from the meal if he were with me today. Some dishes we were wowed by. The Razor clams were well prepared with a very well balanced garlic sauce. The pulpo was like a party in my mouth, the texture and flavor combinations were genius. Loved the duck hearts with winter squash, extremely flavorful and tender. Marrow was not worth the money, delicious but not plentiful. The cocks combs were uninspiring. Taste was good enough, and the texture was kicked up by the addition of paprika almonds but the whole dish just tasted like the mushroom accompaniment. I would pass, unless you are just looking to say that you tried cocks combs. The lamb shank though we didn't have it, as well as the cockle clams with fideos and mancheco salad looked wonderful...the sweetbreads looked over breaded and not well prepared, the fried consistency looked to overpower the taste of the actual sweetbread (but we didn't have these)...the pork belly was flash fried, looking like a hard consistency, almost like chicharones(once again we didn't have it) and that didnt' appeal to me, considering that pork belly should be melt in your mouth...but I might try it next time just to confirm...All in all quite a good meal, but not worth a month in advance reservation.

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  1. The sweetbreads was one of my favorite items at Casa Mono. The frying process made the sweetbreads really creamy inside, and the coating wasn't overpowering at all. Some people may find it salty, but I like it and it goes well with alcohol. You should definitely try it next time!

    15 Replies
    1. re: kobetobiko

      Is Andy Nusser still at the restaurant?

      I love the sweetbreads! And the seppie. In fact I've liked just about everything I've eaten there..but have not been in almost a year.

      1. re: erica

        Andy is up at Mario's latest, Tarry Lodge in Porchester, though he may still techniqually be the chef.

      2. re: kobetobiko

        I was kind of put off by the deep frying method instead of pan frying for the sweetbreads...and the coating looked really thick (at least yesterday)...but I'm not opposed to trying them the next time I head there just to see. We had a good time all in all...but the month wait for a res??? Good thing is that we were able to just walk in.

        1. re: gremlin608

          I'm not sure why you think there is a month-long wait for a reservation. Its really only Babbo that has that. Casa Mono I've gotten plenty of reservations the day before. Plus, they are good with walk-ins too.

          1. re: ESNY

            Yes - we usually call the day before or the morning of for a late lunch reservation.

            1. re: MMRuth

              yes, not to pile on, but most of my casa mono meals have been walk ins. otherwise, reservations 4-5 days ahead..........

              1. re: david sprague

                I was just wondering if the chef is still the same--Andy Nusser. (??)

                1. re: erica

                  Andy Nusser is in Portchester at Tarry Lodge.

                  1. re: chowdom

                    So who is the chef at Casa Mono?

                    1. re: erica

                      Anthony Sasso is running the ship these days.He has been there almost from the begining.

        2. re: kobetobiko

          Another vote for the sweetbreads. Don't recall the coating as being heavy at all. And another confirmation that reservations aren't all that difficult to come by. I've more than once made a reservation just a day or two before and always been able to get at table no later than 9:30.

          1. re: JoanN

            That's good to know...we went without the reservation and had no problem for a late lunch (it was crowded but we got seats right away at the counter)...but when I asked the hostess and waiter how long the dinner wait would be, they suggested that I make a reservation and that most make them a month in advance...or else I would have to wait an hour to sit at the counter where they don't take reservations...(maybe this is just for weekends I don't know)...they did say that at off times there is no need for a reservation (but you don't always want to eat at 3-4pm).

            1. re: gremlin608

              one of life's little pleasures is showing up unannounced at casa mono, asking the hostess for a seat at the bar and then going next door to bar jamon to wait for an opening. bar jamon is even smaller and louder so stand at the tiny bar. a ham platter and a cava or two is a pretty cool way to kill time before the hostess marches over to get you. she'll carry your cava back to casa mono because manhattan ain't new orleans.

              1. re: gremlin608

                ...but when I asked the hostess and waiter how long the dinner wait would be, they suggested that I make a reservation and that most make them a month in advance....

                gremlin608: I'm afraid the staff is subjecting you to its overrated sense of public relations. While I've only been to CM on Sundays, I've walked in on several occasions and made reservations in the early afternoon for that evening.

                And while I'm here let me express my undying love for the four dishes that you didn't try: the clams with fideos, the lamb shank, the pork belly and, especially, the sweetbreads.

                1. re: Hurner

                  If you want to eat at prime time (8pm) on a Friday or Saturday night, and be seated at a table (not the counter), without waiting, I'd definitely call a month in advance.

          2. Went to Casa Mono for the first time the other night - shocked it's taken me so long to finally go, or rather build up the patience to wait for a table. I tried 5 dishes and found the flavors of all of them to be powerful and delicious, but did anyone else find that every dish seemed to be just a little too oily? I walked out feeling a bit greasy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rushbikes

              how was the wine? they have an impressive list.

              1. re: steve h.

                Wine list in a nutshell...AMAZING!!!! Beyond words.

            2. How many plates should a table of 2 order?

              3 Replies
              1. re: DarthEater

                It's hard to say, as it really depends on your appetite. We tend to order a couple of things to start, and then keep ordering. The portions are larger than traditional tapas, but I'd say that my husband and I can easily order six dishes - mostly because there are some we "just have to have". I've posted some lists in the past of dishes we particularly like. If you do a search for title:mono user:mmruth you'll probably find them - though the menu does change somewhat with the seasons.

                1. re: DarthEater

                  I went on Monday night with my fiance (party of two) and we ordered 5 dishes and a dessert and were fully satisfied. We ordered the razor clams, the duck egg, the sweetbreads, the foie gras and the pork belly -- each one more delicious than the next. Talk about a rich meal! Finished the night off with a refreshing sorbet and some dessert wine. Highly recommended.

                  1. re: DarthEater

                    for 2 people, we usually order 3-4 and a side. we always get the fideos with clams and then usually get some combination of the pumpkin croquettes, the duck egg with mojama, the razor clams, the skirt steak, or my new favorite, the goat with saffron honey. for sides we like the brussel sprouts and during the summer, the corn is absolutely fantastic.

                  2. Spring dishes are back!

                    The ramps were romesco sauce were amazing. Artichoke hearts with, good, but not outstanding. The bottom halves were perfectly cooked and tender but the leaves were a little rough.

                    Fried lamb's tongue -- nice big chunks, delicious and crispy and a lovely mint aioli. Fideos with clams and chorizo were perfect, garlicky, and addictive. Duck egg with mojama, wonderful as usual. Love soaking up the runny egg yolk with bread afterwards. Sweetbreads with fennel were OK, but I don't really get the nuts or the heavy breading. Foie gras with cinco cebollas, rich, luscious, I couldn't get enough of the sauce. And a glass of cava to wash it all down. And the skirt steak with romesco sauce! Such tender meat and wonderful carmelized red onions. A new favorite.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kathryn

                      Finally got to Casa Mono tonight. No reservation, no wait, got a seat at the end of the counter a little too close to "the pig." Had a glass of Malbec and the following:

                      *Pulpo, fennel, grapefruit,
                      *Foie gras with cinco cebollas
                      *Fried skate with Meyer lemon

                      Finished with a single espresso.

                      Delicious. Server was great. Why did I wait so long to try it?

                      PS Only downside was smelling like food when I left . . .

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        Had dinner there friday AND saturday and I have to say it was great....we tried

                        Punkin Croq
                        pigs feet
                        fideos clams
                        calamare fritos
                        prok belly

                        bottle of juanrojo 04
                        bottle val tosca 05

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          agree with the "smelling like food" part.

                          Same thing when I walked out of Momofuku Milk Bar