My friend said to meet her at Casa Mono because she was “jonesing for the razor clams.” Um, okay, I thought silently noting that, while reliably delicious, Casa Mono was kind of an ordinary choice. A New York institution, Casa Mono’s Spanish tapas was inspired by Spain-native Andy Nusser and co-opened in 2003 with it-man Mario Batalli, Nancy Selzer and Joseph V. Bastianich. If you’ve lived in Manhattan for over a year and haven’t been to Casa Mono or Spanish sister, Bar Jamon, maybe you just don’t eat. The tiny tapas-esque restaurant is packed every night of the week. When we were late for our 6:45 reservation, there was nothing else before 10. The staff is knowledgeable and kind, offering the kind of impeccable service one should expect from the epicenter of hospitality.
About those razor clams… I for one, don’t think I’ve ever eaten a razor clam. I’ve frequented Casa Mono, but I never ordered the razor clams. My first thought was how can someone “jones” for a clam?!? Okay, a cigarette, I understand; a martini, I can relate; but what is it, a crack-laced clam? Um, basically, yes.
The razor clams are delicious as are the pumpkin and goat cheese croquetas. I haven’t eaten a dish at Casa Mono that I didn’t totally heart.
Everything is delicious. And if that isn’t reason enough to add it to your dedication rotation, here are a few more: 1) Reliability. It’s hard times! And we have to spend our dunkets deliberately. 2) The vino. Of course. And if you are trying to cut back, order one for two. It will give each patron about a 5 ounce pour. 3) The people around you are happily emersed in conversation that frequently highlights the food. 4) I spotted a dashing mid-thirties man at the bar and was after some sly inquiry was informed that he is a regular, and yes, he’s single. Visit Casa Mono…and Beuna Suerte!
Casa Mono 52 Irving Place between 17th and 18th 212-253-2773
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