In prep for my Barcelona tapas extravaganza, I recently visited Casa Mono in Gramercy for a warm-up. I'm a huge Mario Batali fan but hadn't made a point to try his Spanish offerings (although this may be some of his favorite cuisine as I've learned from diligently watching daily episodes of The Chew).
We settled in to 2 seats at the chef's counter, which made for a lively dinner show. We over-ordered, per usual, but everything was delicious. Highlights being the fluke crudo, the burrata, fideos with chorizo and clams and the bone marrow. I don't even like bone marrow, but this was a winner!
As for the wine, we enjoyed a bottle of 2010 "Alanda", a white wine produced by Bodegas Quinta da Muradella. The winery is known for it's organic farming/production of old vines in the Monterrei region in northwest Spain. The wine is a blend of regional grapes including Dona Blanca, Verdello, and Treixadura and is made and aged in stainless steel, allowing the bright acidity to really shine through. It was an easy drinking wine, and paired well with the various spices across all of the dishes we sampled.
Fideos is similar to spaghetti in a paella-like preparation; delicious with chorizo and clams!
Two guys on their way out told us we must order the bone marrow; not something that generally speaks to me I would have easily passed it up, but I'm so glad we didn't. Best preparation I've ever had with pillow-soft bread and capers on top!
We were stuffed by dessert but a spoonful of chocolate ganache drizzled in honey and port wine capped off the evening perfectly!
Casa Mono may not be the newest game in town, but it's a solid meal and a fun atmosphere. To avoid the crowds I'd recommend coming at an inbetween time over the weekend or weekday lunch when they offer a price-fixed menu of some of their best-selling tapas!