- 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
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).