Andy Nusser put in his time cooking Italian under Mario Batali at Babbo before an obsession with Spain landed him his own acclaimed Iberian niche. The perennially cramped and crowded Casa Mono sends patrons to Bar Jamón, the annex wine-and-ham bar next door, where you can pick at plates of jamon serrano while awaiting the main feature. Our favorites seats are at the Casa Mono counter overlooking the chef's open kitchen. Though most menu items are delectably shareable, of particular note are all things seared à la plancha, including blistered peppers and garlic-kissed mushrooms. Like his mentor, Nusser has a weakness for the neglected cuts of meat so check your food fears at the door.
Aug 10, 2011
My spouse and I dined with three family members for lunch at Casa Mono in early October 2013. We made our reservation 30 days in advance using the Open Table reservation system, and the restaurant called to confirm our date and time the day before we dined. Casa Mono has one Michelin star and two stars from the NY Times, and is located next door to sister restaurant Bar Jamon (where we had drinks in May of 2011; see my separate review.) Mario Battali
and Joe Bastianich own Casa Mono and Bar Jamon, as well as other restaurants such as del Posto, Babbo, and Becco. The restaurant space is really tiny, which we were not aware ahead of time; one member of our party has mobility issues, which could have caused problems, but fortunately did not. The restaurant occupies the corner of 14th and Irving Streets in the Union Square/Flatiron/Gramercy area of the city. There are about 12 tables, and another 12 seats at the two bars (one of which fronts the chef’s area). Next time, if just the two of us dine, we will request to sit at the chef’s bar so that we can watch the action of the open kitchen (however, you cannot reserve the seats at the chef’s bar; they are first come – first served). The restaurant does not offer parking, although you can park on the street (just be careful of the one-hour limitations on some of the nearby streets) or in a parking garage on the next block on East 15th Street. The single restroom is incredibly tiny, and is not wheelchair accessible. We loved the food! Despite the difficulty of seating five people in the tiny space, it was worth the squeeze because we were able to share so many dishes. Our server recommended ordering 2 to 3 plates per person, and we compromised by ordering 12 dishes total. Every dish was a success, and the menu is so large that we could easily eat here again and try 12 completely different menu items yet still not have tried everything on the menu. Our favorite items included skirt steak with onion marmalade, paella croquettes, scallops, fideo noodles with clams and chorizo, goat confit, beef tongue, and beef cheeks and bone marrow. The lunch and dinner menus are the same, and Casa Mono is open daily from noon to midnight. The wine list is extensive. Perhaps our only criticism is that because of the tapas menu format, each guest is given a small plate from which to taste the dishes, and those plates were only changed one time during the course of our meal, so previous items and tastes began to run together. (In the restaurant’s defense, though, we did not ask to have our plates changed, so they could not be expected to read our minds.) Service was excellent, and we compliment the staff for working together so well in such a confined space. We loved our dining experience at Casa Mono, and despite the fact that as out-of-towners we try not to repeat restaurants when we come to the city, we plan to return someday.