HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
What have you made lately? Get great advice
TELL US

Looking for a spot near Irving Place...

m
MRS Feb 19, 2013 05:29 AM

Going to a friend's cocktail birthday at Cibar this Sat, trying to come up with a place for The Husband and I to eat beforehand. Good food, good vibe, and not Indian food, please. Thanks!

  1. ttoommyy Feb 20, 2013 08:13 AM

    @MRS Please realize that there are Batali haters on these boards that will go out of their way to criticize any of his restaurants without giving any specific instances of the over salted food, rude service, etc. they cite over and over again, no matter which of his restaurants is being discussed. (At least when I have something bad to say about a restaurant I give specific, concrete examples.)

    That said, please do not let a few haters persuade you from trying Casa Mono. I think you will like it very much.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy
      s
      Simon Feb 20, 2013 10:37 AM

      I've given dozens of specific examples over the years, and i've also given or attempted to give many of those places additional tries to see if they've changed. As an uber-local of Casa Mono and a lover of Spanish food, i'd be delighted if i could one day write that it has changed for the better. But my two tries at CM in the last 18 months or so were thwarted by over-the-top rudeness by the staff and since others have reported the same, i assume it is a frequent problem.

      But if the OP chooses CM i certainly hope they have a splendid time and that staff are civil.

      1. re: Simon
        ttoommyy Feb 20, 2013 12:16 PM

        " But my two tries at CM in the last 18 months or so were thwarted by over-the-top rudeness by the staff and since others have reported the same, i assume it is a frequent problem."

        It just astounds me how 2 people can have such different experiences. I have never once felt anything approximating rudeness by any of the staff. I have always had professional and friendly wait staff; hostesses have always been inviting and cordial. All this in probably 10 visits over the years I have been going to Casa Mono.

        Maybe I tend to overlook what you perceive as rude? Maybe I have a thicker skin? Help me figure this out. Seriously.

        1. re: ttoommyy
          m
          MRS Feb 20, 2013 01:10 PM

          Well, I'd love to give Casa Mono a try as I do love tapas and such, especially over a heavy meal before going to a gathering. It's also right near where we need to be later. I think I'll keep a rezzy on the ready someplace, but give a call to see how busy they are on our way downtown.
          Definitely a polarizing place...I am certainly intrigued.

    2. p
      Pan Feb 20, 2013 03:14 AM

      No-one suggested it so far, so I will: Momofuku Ssam Bar. Might or might not be a long wait on a Saturday, though.

      I wasn't too impressed with Casa Mono the one time I went there, but it was in fact a lot of years ago (possibly as many as 9), and given the expense and the wealth of choices of other places where I can eat, I never felt impelled to go back.

      By the way, my one meal so far at Apiary was near-great, so I recommend them, too.

      1. s
        sugartoof Feb 19, 2013 11:49 PM

        La Follia always has room.

        Ciano is convenient.

        I have to add to the dissent on Casa Mono, and also suggest skipping ABC Kitchen as a walk-in. The bar area is loud, and cramped, and the food doesn't warrant the discomfort of trying to have a meal that way.

        1. s
          Simon Feb 19, 2013 08:27 PM

          hi...while Casa Mono is indeed a favorite of some chowhounds here with fine taste and wide experience, i want to voice a strongly dissenting opinion...if you do a search here you'll find, along w/ many raves, many reports of rude service, foul-mannered hosts, and oversalted food...my own experiences there are have been so bad in all those regards, that even though a)) i live very close and b) i love Spanish food and wine, i refuse to even step foot in the place...(not because of any single incident, but multiple atrocious examples of the above issues)...your mileage may very -- but be forewarned, not everyone's experience there has been rosy...

          Maialino has never cracked my rotation, but i agree that the front room there is an excellent call this question...

          I've never been to Novita on 22nd -- but i've heard some good comments recently...

          The front room of Gramercy Tavern is another option...

          I wish Irving Pl had better options: so many of the places like Friend of Farmer, Choshi, etc are simply dreadful...

          Another thought: if you end up deciding to go to Casa Mono and the wait is long, Pierre Loti across the street does not have much food, but it is a cozy wine bar, less packed than Bar Jamon, and they do have some charcuterie/cheese if you are starving while waiting...

          Please report back...

          5 Replies
          1. re: Simon
            r
            RCC Feb 19, 2013 10:43 PM

            When was the last time you went to Casa Mono that you continue to harbor this ill feeling? 6-10 years ago?

            Btw, I think all those options you suggested are lower caliber restaurants in terms of food and service. Unlike you, I've eaten in few of them quite recently. Would be great if you can try them for yourself before recommending.

            1. re: RCC
              s
              Simon Feb 19, 2013 11:04 PM

              I've eaten in all of the restaurants i mentioned other than Novita...don't know why you thought otherwise and wrote "unlike me"..."would be great" if you read what i wrote before responding...

              And you really think Gramercy Tavern and Maialino are "lower caliber" than Casa Mono??...

              And, yes, my Casa Mono experiences are much more recent than you suggest -- as of the last 1 to 2 years, the hosts and waiters are just as rude as ever...on my last and final attempt to give it a second chance (last summer?) my friend and i sat down in the afternoon in an almost empty room: the waiter was so rude and uninterested in taking an order that we decided to leave after drinking a single glass of wine...this experience was completely in line w/ previous experiences there...

              1. re: Simon
                r
                RCC Feb 20, 2013 12:03 AM

                You always seem to pop out and post your dissent for Casa Mono (and all Batali places, iirc) time and again whenever there is a thread with strong tide of suggestions here and, iirc, that has been happening since many moons ago. I was just wondering if you ever actually went there after your initial bad experience. Now, I'm kinda surprised that with all negative posts you write about Casa Mono in all the past years, you actually still go there (recently, as you claim).

                Btw, did I misunderstand this statement of yours?
                "Maialino has never cracked my rotation ....". This statement implies that that you've not been there.

                "And you really think Gramercy Tavern and Maialino are "lower caliber" than Casa Mono??..."
                My response: YES!

                1. re: RCC
                  s
                  Simon Feb 20, 2013 10:30 AM

                  I have given many specific examples over the years, so i didn't want to be redundant, but rather to express a stron dissent while conceding that many chowhounds enjoy it.

                  Re: "rotation" it seems you do not know the meaning of the word and how its usually used 'round here: it means the restaurants that you go to on a very regular basis. Fwiw, i've been to Maialino maybe 7+ times in the past two years.

            2. re: Simon
              jcmods Feb 20, 2013 11:02 AM

              My complaint about Casa Mono has nothing to do with service. However, if you are a fan of the kind of food you had in Spain or at a more down home place like El Nacionale, you will be somewhat disappointed. They tend to mess with a good thing (the tortilla had fancy garnishes and salads).....and you will pay through the nose for tiny portions. I just don't believe it is worth that kind of money when there is better spanish food around.

              But if you have money to burn, you may end up satisfied. If I am in the area, I would rather have a burger at The Old Town.

            3. r
              RebelWithaCause Feb 19, 2013 08:32 AM

              ABC kitchen or apiary.

              9 Replies
              1. re: RebelWithaCause
                m
                MRS Feb 19, 2013 12:32 PM

                ABC Kitchen had nothing available, but I should call instead of just going on Opentable, I suppose. I will check Maialino now. I made a res at Asellina just in case. Worth it?

                1. re: MRS
                  b
                  barberinibee Feb 19, 2013 05:05 PM

                  You might go deaf at Asellina. They pound out the music. When they first opened, I ate there and enjoyed their house made pastas. But Maialino is much more reliable.

                  1. re: barberinibee
                    m
                    MRS Feb 19, 2013 05:40 PM

                    oh crap, really? unappealing to say the least-not that we are duds. Ok. ABC is very booked, Maialino is very booked, Apiary's menu wasn't wowing me...I guess we try our luck getting a walk-in seat at Casa Mono.

                    1. re: MRS
                      k
                      kathryn Feb 19, 2013 05:53 PM

                      ABC and Maialino take walk ins as well, in their respective front areas. You can also dine at the bar (first come, first served).

                      If you're willing to walk as as Asselina, then that opens up some more possibilities. I see tables on OpenTable for A Voce, Aldea, Craftbar, Ciano, Resto, Ponty Bistro, Greenspace, just to name a few. Or the brand new Manzanilla.

                      1. re: kathryn
                        m
                        MRS Feb 19, 2013 06:03 PM

                        I imagine The Husband would rather not go that far...but I was trying to come up with something, just in case. He gets grouchy if he thinks I have "no plan". I think we'll go walk in at any of the really recommended spots closer to, and take our chances.
                        Will report back...

                        1. re: MRS
                          loratliff Feb 19, 2013 09:05 PM

                          Maialino is pretty big... I'd give walking in a shot.

                          1. re: MRS
                            k
                            kathryn Feb 20, 2013 05:15 AM

                            BTW, not all the ones I listed are a bit of a walk. Ciano, Craftbar, and Ponty are all a five minute walk away.

                            1. re: kathryn
                              m
                              MRS Feb 20, 2013 06:01 AM

                              this has certainly sparked some hot debate here...:)
                              I love Craftbar!! And I will look into res at Ciano and Ponty.

                        2. re: MRS
                          jon Feb 19, 2013 06:05 PM

                          I'd suggest going to casa mono and if you have to wait either bide your time at bar jamon (and get their excellent churros - which they don't have at casa mono) or grab a beer at Pete's tavern.

                  2. r
                    RCC Feb 19, 2013 06:31 AM

                    This is an easy call - Casa Mono or Bar Jamon.

                    Casa Mono continues to serve great innovative Spanish tapas (actually slightly larger than tapas portion) and jamon slices. The Spanish winelist is one of the robust I've come upon in all of United States. Seats and tables are at a premium, but we've always been happy just getting a couple of stools by the bar.

                    http://www.casamononyc.com/

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: RCC
                      m
                      MRS Feb 19, 2013 06:45 AM

                      It was definitely one of my 1st choices, but I don't know about trying it on a Sat night with no reservation. What if it takes forever to find a seat?

                      1. re: MRS
                        r
                        RCC Feb 19, 2013 07:14 AM

                        It depends on the time you'd arrive for dinner. The earlier, say pre 6:30, the greater your chance. Btw, we've always walked in, managed to always get seats within 30 minutes. Also, fyi, they do take reservations, too.

                        1. re: RCC
                          m
                          MRS Feb 19, 2013 07:25 AM

                          Just called. No reservations. Would love to try it, just have to decide if I am willing to chance a long wait for seats.
                          Thanks you!

                          1. re: MRS
                            loratliff Feb 19, 2013 08:08 AM

                            What about Maialino?

                            1. re: MRS
                              ttoommyy Feb 19, 2013 08:18 AM

                              Have a backup in hand but try Casa Mono first. There may be room at the counter or bar. It is worth it to at least try and even wait a while.

                      2. k
                        kathryn Feb 19, 2013 05:40 AM

                        What's your budget before tax, tip, wine/drinks?

                        Are you willing to eat at the bar or wait for a table?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kathryn
                          m
                          MRS Feb 19, 2013 05:44 AM

                          hi kathryn,
                          i don't think we have a budget necessarily, as obnoxious as that sounds. We're happy at a bar or a table, just need to be at Cibar around 10pm.
                          I thought of Casa Mono, but I'll have to call b/c opentable isn't showing anything.
                          Thoughts?

                        Show Hidden Posts