Casa Mono

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78 Solid

Tight quarters and Mario Batali’s involvement make it harder than it should be to appreciate Andy Nusser’s Spanish cooking.

52 Irving Pl., New York, NY, 10003

212-253-2773

http://www.casamononyc.com/home.cfm

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Known For

The lowdown

Since opening in 2004, Casa Mono and its next-door wine-bar sibling Bar Jamón have generally been referred to as Mario Batali’s tapas joints. In reality, chef-owner Andy Nusser leads the charge here, and his shockingly small kitchen can turn out a vast array of truly brilliant food: tender goat confit with swipes of creamy goat cheese, slow-cooked lamb tongue that’s breaded and fried, or crispy cod croquetas with orange-scented aïoli. The restaurant’s cramped quarters, however, practically guarantee your meal will be spent fumbling for silverware and that you will think, at least once, that your neighbor is sitting a little too close. Batali’s involvement — he’s said to be divesting, but the process has dragged on — is another issue that makes it more difficult than it should be to enjoy Nusser’s fantastic food.

What you need to know

Insider Tips Mid-day is the time to go, when you’ll be able to more easily snag seats without a wait, although waiting with a glass of wine at Bar Jamón next door can make the wait for a seat a little more bearable.

Recommended DishesPatatas bravas; duck egg with black truffles; confit goat; scallops with green curry and minted cashews.

DrinksBeer & Wine Only

Noise LevelBring earplugs!