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Wilfrid1

Casa Mono

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So I had the goat ‘n’ avocado last night, chewy meat adrift on a sea of green sauce with a chunk of blow-torch blasted avocado. My takeaway was, oh so that’s why no one serves goat (or lamb) with avocado. (Sorry Johanna, not dismissing your view; maybe I’m the outlier here.)

 

Haven't been to Casa Mono - or eaten dinner out - since my son was born but it is possible your version of the goat dish was different from mine 18 months ago. They used to change the preparation for their non-classic dishes fairly frequently.

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So last night was my first disappointing meal there... It also coincided with one of my first times sitting at a table and not the counter... Though, i fondly recall several times when K was  younger, we would sit around a table as she would wait for her duck hearts to arrive.. But, so, met my cousin who had never been and Miss A and I were excited to show him the place.. The fideos did not disappoint but, were not as good as usual.. i mean clam sauce with mayo, how bad will it be.. But, as the night progressed we were not impressed.. a squid with meatballs in an xo sauce.. the sauce was well executed, i enjoyed the small pieces of either dried scallop or seemed more like smoked fish, nice heat, it was deep flavor.. but, then served with dried out meatballs and some squid that was cut like a noodle.. i liked the idea, it was a place on almost like a cold noodle dish but, yeh, boring and dried out meatball..  We ordered a merguez dish that also starred a dried out sausage.  A fried squid dish that was pretty good but, was over salted to a criminal level. 

 

anyway, yeh, if this was my first time there, which it were for my cousin, i would not have come back.. 

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Sounds like execution is faltering. I’ve never liked some of their choices, but they used to execute okay.

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Is there a Mouthfuls consensus as to how the B&B restaurants have held up after the fall of Batali? I should think at the very least there would have been a phase of demoralisation and perhaps an exodus of talent [not necessarily Batali's acolytes but simply people trying to get clear of the wreckage].

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I don't know that there is a consensus, but the word I've heard is that Otto is not as good as it was in its heyday.

 

The one place I've been back to in the past 6 months is Lupa, and they still make damn good pasta. Eataly is Eataly - I rarely shop (and never eat) there, since it's not terribly convenient, but when I do find myself in the neighborhood, I'll pop in. The breadth and scope of Italian product is, to my mind, unmatched in NYC, without maybe going to 10 different places..

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We're at Otto enough for me to say that I haven't noticed a drop off in quality.  The menu has changed, with fewer terrines of veggies, etc being offered and having a couple more larger format dishes regularly available but, otherwise, if you liked their pizzas, salads and/or pastas or even their gelato, its still pretty much the same.  No more Mario at the end of the bar holding court, but Dennis, Frank and Uriel are still keeping it friendly and efficient.

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I should go to Otto more frequently, it's only a few blocks away. But I see weird meet-ups of single Millennials in the bar area, which frightens me off. [Do they hold wine tasting classes at Otto?]

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Over the years, we've been to several wine classes there but never thought much of them.  They're trapped talking to the least common denominator who attends and, even when the group seems knowledgable, they've felt the need to go thru a pretty elementary script about wine.  Terroir's classes were much better.  However, we've also been to a recent wine dinner, featuring a specific Italian vineyard (that we never heard of) where the food was great and the wines more than good enough (& plentiful).  Overall, sitting at the bar to drink and eat has always been our norm there.  When Dennis is tending bar, you can basically have a wine class with him if he likes you.

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So, i guess we are gluttons for punishment.. outside of just being your run of the mill glutton.. But yeh, saturday was not our day for food... I met my friends for dim sum... I now also have to state, 11:45 is the time to go for dim sum  at Jing Fong but, it is also prime time.. we met friends and there was a 2 hour wait when we didn't wait..   But, yeh we arrived around 10:30 and basically, it's just bullshit.. they have a few hargow, those frozen shumai and whatever, nothing exciting.. the bbq baby pig, the good tripe, the clams, the snails, all the fun stuff starts coming out at 11:45.  Anyway, so, light meal at Jing Fong, slow walk up to union square.. we stop at washinington square park, watch tic and tac pressure tourists into giving them 20 bucks a piece... and finally say, let's just stop in for a glass of wine or two and some food at casa mono... 

It was 3 ish, completely empty.. We had been there a couple of weeks ago and were shell shocked.. two tables in the place and the hostess wouldn't seat us at a table.. well, she would be, it was super uncomfortable... the main cook is there.... we are sat, given the menu.. we look over it.. most of the poorly executed dishes are still on the menu.. no waiter, no waiter. i just couldn't do it.. We get up as the waiter scrambles to speak to us.. We leave and no one gives a shit.  Hostess least of all...  

 

Bar Jamon, there is a man on his laptop in hiking clothes taking up the three seats at the window and man spreading so he is now encroaching into on the two main high tops,  We ordered cheese, it's cold, we order salami, it's even fucking colder.. We ordered anchovy, it's freezing cold and the toast is not of recent toasting.  The wine list in what I was hoping to casually drink was pretty abysmal.    I don't know, it was an empty room on an empty weekend and well, i wish I took that hundred and something bucks I spent it almost anywhere else...   We walked up to cafe panna and had a dessert.. walked back passed casa mono, now there still two tables but different people and 2 people at the bar.   

 

We usually go to Casa Mono every new years day, as we have for the last decade or so, when we could, which was most of them and well, i think we need to find a new tradition..   Yes, something for the 2020's, that sounds fun... any suggestions welcome... where can one go have a  1 oclock new years day feast, be completely alone with good food and champagne. 

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Too bad, Daniel, about Casa Mono going to the dogs. Recently, I've been most sad about City Bakery closing - had lots of memories related to that place - but I'll also miss sitting at the Casa Mono bar when it was good.

 

Thanks, Behemoth and Sneak. Don't check in much here so missed your messages. (Moving to London early next year hopefully!)

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Yes, something for the 2020's, that sounds fun... any suggestions welcome... where can one go have a  1 oclock new years day feast, be completely alone with good food and champagne. 

 

I'm wondering, maybe here...Vini e Friti or Marta?

 

Now that I look, Vini isn't open at 1.  But Bar Pisellino is.

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This is only one snapshot, but I went to Vini one weekday evening in November or December. It was quiet and strangely dispiriting. Maybe when it’s busier it’s more fun.

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