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A Luxurious Late Lunch at Casa Mono

April 29, 2012

Best part about taking a week day off is having the ability to take lunch at any hour.  On that laissez-faire Friday off in April, I took a leisurely late lunch and met up with SB at Casa Mono off of Gramercy Park.  This popular tapas bar is normally so packed that there’s always a long wait, making it a perfect candidate for lunch that day.

Around 2.30pm, the two of us had no problem finding a seat, although we were no where near the only ones in the restaurant.

We led with a house-made pork charcuterie platter.  This was no light fare, filled with generous servings of various pork products, from a head cheese with mushroom to whipped spicy pork belly to cured pork face and pork terrine.  All this was accompanied by two large pieces of toast rubbed with crushed tomatoes, lightly seasoned with salt and a Spanish cheese.

Pumpkin and goat cheese croquetas seemed a little out of season.  But piping hot and lightly creamy inside, these were delicious regardless.

The cod cheeks pil pil with pickled chillies were one of my favorites from a prior visit.  The tender cod cheeks were flavorful and punctuated with the perky red chillies.  A little bit of bread would have been lovely to sop up some of that broth at the bottom of the bowl.

We combined the cod cheeks with a plate of skirt steak topped with onion mermelada for a little more protein.  The steak was seasoned thoroughly and the onion mermelada along with the romesco sauce on the the bottom added sweetness.   A little overcooked for me but I guess I should remember to specify the temperature next time!

And our last dish, a side of artichokes with mint, came at the suggestion of our waiter.  This might have been my favorite of the meal.  Artichoke hearts were grilled, with smokey charred bits, and dressed in a spicy vinegar sauce.  The mint was refreshing, adding something I didn’t expect with the artichoke hearts.

By the time we finished, it was nearly 4.30pm.  Like I mentioned before, the experience is entirely different when dining in a normally busy restaurant during an off time.  The meal and service were not rushed and we were able to really catch up over delicious food.

Casa Mono | 52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003 | http://www.casamononyc.com

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