Michelin Stars: 1
Address: 52 Irving Place
There has been a tendency in the past for some critics to sneer at tapas restaurants, feeling that they’re unworthy of comparison to more standard or traditional eateries. The existence of Casa Mono is the perfect riposte to anybody holding such a view. This Spanish house of delight was awarded a Michelin Star for the first time in 2009 and has held onto it for every year since.
The restaurant is the product of a collaboration between Mario Batali and his protegee Andy Nusser, with the former encouraging the latter to think outside the box about what to put on his plates. The result is food that comes in the tapas format but is made up of ingredients less courageous Spanish restaurants wouldn’t dare to serve. Anybody can give you chorizo and a spicy sauce; Casa Mono brings you cock’s combs with cèpes, and duck’s eggs on sautéed potatoes.
Everything you order is served up in plain sight; you watch the chefs in the open plan kitchen conjure your order with their skilled hands, and then pass it on to the serving team who’ll walk it out to you in the jaunty and lively dining room, which has an array of wine bottles mounted on the walls to remind you that you’re here to have a good time. The price you pay will depend on your appetite and thirst, but the average small dish is a mere $15. Top tip: You’ll want to sample the Spanish cheeses.