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Feb 19, 2013 05:29 AM

Looking for a spot near Irving Place...

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!

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  1. 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

      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.

    2. 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.

      5 Replies
      1. re: RCC

        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

          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

            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

                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.

          1. re: RebelWithaCause

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: MRS

                        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

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

                    2. re: MRS

                      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. 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 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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                    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. 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.