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Casa Mono

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Tia Pol is closed on Mondays. 

Too late for this evening, but for future reference, Tia Pol began opening on Mondays a couple of months ago.

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Guest Suzanne F

Back to discussing Casa Mono:

 

Finally made it there, before a (skippable :) ) show at Union Square Theater.

 

Cockscombs with cepas (and cloves of roasted garlic): Quite richly flavored and wonderful. Given their similar appearance, the slight variation in texture between the combs and the mushrooms (one a bit more gelatinous, the other chewier, but both soft to the tooth -- although not as soft and melting as the sweet garlic) made each bite surprising. We practically licked the sauce out of the cazuela.

 

Sepia a la plancha: Chewier than I expected, but also sweeter-fleshed. Pleasantly toasty flavor where it hit the flattop. The salsa verde was mildly garlicky (raw garlic in this one) but not discernible herby. No matter; the sepia was fine without any help.

 

Lengua with piquillo alioli: We did not expect the meat to come partially breaded -- had no idea what to expect, actually -- and found the sharp contrast between crunchy coating and tender meat quite enjoyable. I haven't had piquillos much, so the sauce tasted like mild chipotle to me (was that right?). Accompanied by pickled fiddleheads and shaved celery/celery leaves in a sharp vinaigrette -- a nicely acetic/ascetic contrast to the somewhat rich meat and mayonnaise.

 

Artichokes a la plancha: rather heavy on the black pepper, but tasting fully of spring and youth. Also toasty from contact with the hot surface, and zippy from mint. Many times more artichoke-y than the sad specimens at Per Se last fall. :D

 

A cuarto of an albariño blend and one of a tempranillo-cabernet blend. Both worked well with the food (the albariño a bit better, I think).

 

Very happy to have been able to get in (no res), and definitely looking forward to trying it again.

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Had a very nice, clean and fresh tasting dish off their tasting menu yesterday. A pile of leafy spring ramps sitting on top of a sweet roasted pepper and olive oil based sauce with a large sunny side up egg resting on top. Sh1t that was good.

 

The other standout dish was a braised lamb shank sitting on a light lamb reduction sauce over white beans. Shreds of preserved lemon and basil accented the beans and slivers of fresh horseradish root cut through the rich lamb perfectly.

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Guest Suzanne F

We were very tempted by the tasting menu, but only had an hour. :D

 

A table next to ours had the lamb shank, which looked more like a racion to me. Not that that's a bad thing . . . :)

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During lunch they allow you to order two plates from the Tasting Menu to supplement the regular menu - not sure what the dinner policy is. We also tried the langoustines a la plancha from the T.M. which were decent but coming off a recent dining orgy in Paris my tastebuds have been spoiled.

 

Assuming racion translates to ration?

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Guest Suzanne F

But it was so hard to decide amongst just the regular items! :) Still, that's good to know. :D

 

According to Penelope Casas, a ración is twice the size of a tapa. Given that the tapas as Casa Mono are rather large (American-style, I guess), a racion there would be enough for a meal -- which the lamb shank dish looked to be.

 

Does anyone remember -- is pintxo just the Catalan word for ración? Or is it the small (regular) size tapa? I can't remember, and can't find it in my reference materials.

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Daisy and I had a very good dinner at Casa Mono last night. We had one of those moments where we could not decide what to order because we literally wanted everthing on the menu. After hemming and hawing we decided on the duck egg with mojama (of course), razor clams a la plancha, jamon and the special of the day, fried softshells.

 

The duck egg has been described before -- it comes sunnyside up on a bed of potatoes. I'm dying to try the version on the tasting menu. I loved the razor clams too -- smoky, garlicy.

 

By the way the tasting menu looks very reasonable at $52. A definite reason to go back, along with all the other dishes that we couldn't sample.

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Does anyone remember -- is pintxo just the Catalan word for ración? Or is it the small (regular) size tapa? I can't remember, and can't find it in my reference materials.

Just saw this. Usage is loose. In Madrid, far from Catalunya, tapas are often called pinchos - Castilian spelling. I don't recall seeing pintxo used much in Barcelona. Just about everything I remember eating at Casa Mono has been racion sized. Indeed, that's generally true of so-called tapas in New York. Which, as I have said elsewhere, presumably makes restaurants feel better about charging $15 for a tapa.

 

I must go back back to Madrid and Granada, where tapas are free. :)

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I've always wanted to try this place. I stopped by a couple times, but it was jam-packed with a 2 hour wait for a seat at the bar.

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Back to the whole tapas in New York issue. It's senseless. You can walk in at Casa Mono at off-peak hours, but for evening you need to reserve well ahead, and plan around it. Now, there is no way you can eat tapas, as such, on that basis. It has to be a meal. Which is why the dishes are larger and more expensive than tapas. And so it goes on.

 

Even Bar Jamon is almost unusable: I don't believe it takes reservations, so getting in takes a real commitment. Get there early or wait a long time.

 

Someone needs to figure out the economics of offering tapas in a genuinely casual environment - casual as in, you can wander in when you feel like it, stand up or sit down, and not base your evening around the whole thing. Then we might get some food served which actually resembles tapas.

 

Excuse bee in bonnet.

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I've always wanted to try this place. I stopped by a couple times, but it was jam-packed with a 2 hour wait for a seat at the bar.

You'd definitely like it. Also we need help with the wine list.

 

Daisy and I arrived really early last night, around 5:30. It was a chilly, rainy evening so the place wasn't too bad for most of our meal. I'd say that you should try it on off hours.

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Also we need help with the wine list.

 

A palo cortado to start, then a bottle of Rotllan Torra Priorat.

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I'd say that you should try it on off hours.

That was the same advice I got from #1 Jewel Bako VIP customer. But, I couldn't seem to find a time when it wasn't packed with young upwardly mobile professionals. Maybe, it's because it was so new then.

 

I'll put it on the list for next trip. Maybe I'll check the flights for this weekend . . .

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