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Restaurants & Bars 11

Review: Casa Mono

RCC | Jan 27, 2008 08:07 AM

We decided to try and walk-in at Casa Mono for dinner last night. We arrived at 7 pm and were provided a table for 2 with the caveat that we will have until 8:30 to finish up due to a full reservation night. Fair enough, we thought, for a Saturday night walk-in.

As a point of reference, we are very fond of our experiences at Tia Pol, La Boqueria, inoteca (Italian) and, to a lesser degree, Las Ramblas.

I must admit that we didn't stray much from having dishes that have been previously recommended on this board, and for the most part, the suggestions are spot on. Here's a rundown -

Pan Con Tomate is a bruschetta-like dish but was much tastier and which I attribute to the good olive oil and tomatoes that were used.

Razor Clams a la Plancha is a generous servings of about 8 full clams that's grilled just enough to make the clams slightly on the chewy side, but still a good and very satisfactory dish.

The Duck eggs with Mojama, in spite of the fact that I have not gotten the hang of really appreciating mojama, was terrific. The dish was deliciously-enhanced by sitting on a generous pool of good olive oil with truffle shavings. It was an extra treat to sop away the remaining olive oil with the provided table bread.

Pork Cheeks with Granada is slightly crispy pork cheeks with sauteed pomegranate and apples. This was just OK as the pork was overly salted for my taste.

Tripe is a dish that I usually order if available and would usually compare with those that I have high regards for (Peasant and Lupa) and Casa Mono's version, Tripe with Chickpeas, did not disappoint.

The wine list is exclusively Spanish and, as a sidenote, this is something that impresses me about Batali restaurants where the lists are usually deep in spite of being almost always regionalized to the cuisines being served. However, when compared to Lupa or Babbo, the mark-ups at Casa Mono appear to be on a much higher scale. We started with a cuartino of an Albarino whose name/producer/vintage escaped me, but it was light, slightly fruity and was a refreshing accompaniment to the razor clams dish. The bottle of 2003 Cellers Ripoll Sans Closa Batllet was new to me, and this red from the Priorat was well-structured with sufficient complexity and was approachable with waves of ripe red and black fruit.

Casa Mono is definitely one that we'd be adding to our list of preferred tapas place in the city.

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