maybe it's because my eyes are often bigger than my stomach, or that i don't want to miss out on a better dish or that i want to try everything, but i have always had a love for small plates, whether it's dim sum, banchan or tapas. the spanish variety was just beginning to experience it's heyday when i first moved to NYC in 2005, and even with a tapas laden trip to barcelona, i still couldn't get enough of it. Pinxtos (which is sadly no mas), Tia Pol, Oliva (also closed), 1492, Mercat, Boqueria. . .
and yet, despite having a fondness for it's sister tapas establishment Bar Jamon, i had somehow missed Casa Mono! it is a gem of a restaurant, tucked away on 17th and irving. the atmosphere is warm, inviting- matching the friendliness of the waitstaff. a great place for small groups or a cozy date.
our selections are pictured below: pumpkin and goatcheese croquettes, charceuterie and cheese plate, blackened beets, lobster wrapped in a banana leaf, yellowfin tuna, skirt steak, and calamares (sorry no picture) and grilled duck breast. every dish was well executed and beautifully presented.
however, there were two standouts for me. (1) the duck which was a true medium rare, therein maximizing flavor and succulence and complimented nicely with sour plums and parsnips. (2) the grilled squid served with harissa and squid ink, which managed to be both clean and decadent all at once. oh Casa Mono, am i so glad i finally found you!