I always admired Mario Batali as an Iron Chef, and after visiting his flagship restaurant, Babbo in New York City, I fell in love with his cooking (tasting menu at Babbo is probably one of my biggest ever epicurean highlights). Thus when we decided to stop by Casa Mono for lunch after attending Michael Skurnik wine tasting (blog post to follow) in New York City, I was one happy camper.
Never mind 100+ wines we tasted right before, we had to have some wine with lunch, right? Casa Mono sports an excellent wine list, focused on Spanish wines as one could anticipate. After tasting lots of young, big and dense red wines, we wanted to drink wine which would be easy enough to drink, but still the one which would complement the variety of Tapas offerings. Our choice was 2001 Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia, a white Rioja wine. Rioja wines are some of my favorite overall, but additionally, I think white Rioja is some of the most amazing white wines when it comes to aging – I had 18 years old Vina Gravona which was fresh and beautiful (you can find notes here). This 11 years old wine, 2001 Vina Gravonia, was just perfect – medium body, good acidity and minerality, good amount of fruit without being fruit forward, with hints of eucalyptus and anise. Very well rounded wine which paired perfectly with variety of the tapas dishes we had.
So for the food, as usual, it would be mostly a photo report. We were absolutely delighted with all of our choices, so without long overdue, here is the happy report.
Duck Egg with Moyama was one of the first tapas to arrive. Chicken eggs are boring – this is what I want for my breakfast!
Sweetbreads with Fennel Al Mono – delicious and perfectly executed in the small bites format:
Cod Cheeks Pil Pil with Pickled Chiles – I almost forgot to take a picture. The texture and flavor profile of this dish – with garlic, savory broth and chiles, it was “more bread, please” kind of dish – not a drop of that delicious liquid can be lost!
Potatas Bravas in the perfect tangy sauce:
And the Skirt Steak with Onion Marmelada – meat perfectly done, and very tasty in combination with the caramelized onions:
Do you think we skipped the dessert? Ha, of course not! Here it is:
Deep Fried Bay Leaves with Burnt Vanilla Custard – who would’ve thought that you can deep fry a bay leaf??? But it was delicious, and paired perfectly with the custard:
And last but not least, Orange Infused Bread Pudding with Horchata Ice Cream – the orange infusion makes this bread pudding feel absolutely the lightest and literally effervescent:
This was a great food experience, and I can only conclude with the words of the Iron Chef show host – Thank you for the wonderful meal, Chef Mario Batali!