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Welcome to Cardinal Directions - a catalog of my favorite food & travels to help you navigate New York & beyond.  

 

 

Tapas at Casa Mono

Tapas at Casa Mono

After a bit of a hiatus...I'm back! Sorry y'all - still low-key functioning on Spanish time (3 weeks later...). And in honor of my recent trip to Spain, talking about an incredible tapas restaurant, which also happens to be in my back yard.

One of my favorite things about New York is that you can live in a neighborhood for years and still constantly be discovering new places. Today, I'm chatting about how I finally ended up at Casa Mono. I've walked past this restaurant more times than I can count on my way to Irving Farm or Daily Provisions, but never really thought to go in.

The outside looks relatively unassuming - 'Casa Mono' is stamped in a banner across the brick facade of the restaurant in bright blue & yellow caps. But walk inside and you're immediately transported by the dimly lit interior.

The inside of the restaurant is bustling with activity and filled with an intimate boisterousness - each party quietly enthralled in their own private conversations. The glint of well-polished wooden counters & wine glasses provide an instantly refined feeling. 

We popped by on a whim and were able to grab a couple of spots at the bar - but if you're looking to make an evening of it, I'd highly recommend making a reservation in advance. 

Instead of giving you a full run-down on the menu, I'm going to assure you that almost everything here is pretty damn tasty - so grab a bottle of red and settle in. 

Most of the menu is tapas style, so you can order a variety of different dishes to share. My personal two favorites are the foie gras (you may be noticing a trend here) and the piquillo peppers.  

The foie gras here is just barely seared before being delicately stacked atop crisp crostinis and draped in five different onion preparations. The luxurious fatty finish of the foie gras, the crunch of the crostini and the sweetness of the onions all come together to make the perfect bite. Watch yourself - there won't be all that many of them. 

The chefs play on a similar juxtaposition of savory & sweet for the oxtail-stuffed piquillo peppers, but the rich earthiness of the oxtail leads you down an entirely different culinary experience. 

For those of you that are scoffing because you've long since discovered this neighborhood classic - good for you. For everyone else that's playing catch-up like me - here to tell you it's worth it. And it's the perfect spot for those of you looking to have a nice, low-key dinner this labor day weekend.

Cheers! 

(menu | reservations)

Olamaie, oh-la-my

Olamaie, oh-la-my

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High times at Hi-Collar