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Best of New York Food 2004

Best Vegetable

  • Casa Mono

    52 Irving Place, 212-253-2773

    People scrunch up their noses at the very mention of Brussels sprouts, recalling the terrible-tasting, mushy, overcooked tiny cabbages of their youth. It takes someone like Mario Batali, and his chef-partner Andy Nusser, to turn such a bitter food memory sweet. The menu at Casa Mona, Batali’s new Spanish-Catalan tapas restaurant, is market-driven, with vegetables from Union Square, and though Brussels sprouts are not a very Spanish ingredient, they are a natural to the Spanish method of cooking a la plancha, or “on the grill.” Sitting at the bar gives an appetite-whetting view of the open kitchen as the chef deftly sears the blanched and oiled Brussels sprouts on the hot metal surface until they’re charred but still crunchy and bright-green inside. With a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of fresh thyme leaves, eating your veggies has never tasted so good.

From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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