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“Casa Mono/Bar Jamon”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Spanish Gramercy Moderate Great

With Casa Mono, a snug little restaurant on the corner of 17th and Irving Place, Mario Batali has stepped off of familar Italian earth and onto virgin territory--the land of Spain, specifically of the culinary and fashion hotbed known as Barcelona. By all means, if you have not visited, go now, and dont miss La Vigne de Senior, a charming little wine and tapas bar in the hip neighborhood known as the Borne. But back here at Casa Mono, you can get a taste of what awaits across the ocean. Here in this cozy corner restaurant, the kitchen is in the able hands of chef Andy Nusser, who was Batali’s chef de cuisine at Babbo for many years. Cooking in an open kitchen (sit up close and you may learn a thing or two), Nusser delivers a menu that excites and invigorates in its simplicity. This is food that makes you smile until your face hurts.


The room is warm and rustic, with Moroccan-tiled floors, crowded tables, and a glossy espresso-toned wood food bar for up close and personal dining next to Nusser, who cooks in an open kitchen with Elizabeth and Brad, his terrific crew of sous chefs. The room fills up quickly, but the seats at the bar are held for walk-ins, and waiting for tables is done next door at Bar Jamon, the most divine sort of waiting room I have ever known. (Hospitals, dentist’s and doctor’s offices take note. Serving copious amounts of wine, Jamon Serrano, Manchego cheese aged in rosemary and lard, plates of smoked trout salad, and tortilla d’Espana make waiting significantly more pleasant than reading back issues of People.) Both Casa Mono and Bar Jamon draw large crowds throughout the night, so it may be that you can barely fit between the slinky babes dressed in Stella McCartney’s best, the tribes of metrosexuals discussing the and the pros and cons of Kiehl’s All Sport shampoo, and the chic, dressed down neighborhood regulars scattered about, wondering who these fabulous people are, but the right thing to do would be to grab your sliver of real estate and be patient. You’ll soon be rewarded.

All plates on the menu at Casa Mono are appetizer portion size and range in price from $3 for a classic Catalan dish of toasted bread rubbed with tomato flesh, garlic, and sea salt to a $14 knock out plate of simply grilled lamb chops marinated in preserved lemon, served under a shower of homemade slivered parsnip chips. Nusser also turns out a stunning dish called Sepia a la Plancha (on ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Gramercy :
+ Casa Mono/Bar Jamon   + Pure Food & Wine   + Parea   + Gramercy Tavern (Lunch)   + 15 East   + Tocqueville   + Irving Mill   + Bar Milano   + Irving Mill   + Maialino   + Asellina   + Corkbuzz Wine Studio   + Breads, by guest reviewer Tracy Weiss   

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