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casa mono report

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Restaurants & Bars

casa mono report

dkchan | Jan 23, 2004 11:11 AM

Had a quick dinner at casa mono the other night. despite early mixed reviews on this board, I have to say that at least the things I tried were excellent. I'm not usually a huge fan of spanish food; tapas can alternatively be too precious or just not that exciting. casa mono is neither, and rather exemplifies batali's signature robustness of flavor.

The space is cozy and casual, the service efficient and friendly; it feels like a neighborhood cafe. portions were surprisingly large for tapas; a friend and I ordered 5 dishes and were stuffed. We easily could have gotten 4 and been fine. These dishes were as follows:

scallops in a cava/garlic/scallion/tomato sauce: excellent. lovely scallops on the shell with some roe, perfectly cooked, plump, juicy, and tasting strongly of fresh sea and scallop, unlike most bland scallops you find. The broth was subtle, but punctuated with slivers of garlic and scallion that complemented the sharpness of the dish well.

goat cheese and pumpkin croquettes: exactly as they sound, and very good. a quite mild goat cheese, which goes well with the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin. No extraneous spices here, which is often the downfall of pumpkin fillings

sauteed seta with garlic and lemon: nicely charred oyster mushrooms with a nice kick of garlic and lemon.

wild boar in a honey sauce: as mentioned before, excellent. full, flavorful boar meat in a robust honey sauce

skirt sauce with onion marmalade: wonderfully spiced, seared skirt steak that goes great with the slightly sweet, caramelized onion marmalade.

an extensive all-spanish wine list, with cuartos available.

Altogether, a very good meal. If you're bored of the same old tapas places and want something a little more inspiring and special, this is the place. It reminds me quite a bit of lupa- in atmosphere, food quality, and price, it allows for everything from the casual quick bite to a more elaborate dinner.

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