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Casa Mono / Bar Jamon
You may not associate chef Mario Batali with Spanish cuisine, but in reality his expertise in Spanish fare, and tapas in particular, runs deep, and he lays it all on the table at Casa Mono and its sister restaurant, Bar Jamón, on Irving Place near Gramercy Park.
The Michelin-starred restaurant is inspired by the cuisine of Spain’s Costa Brava, and executive chef Andy Nusser actually grew up there, in the fishing village of Cadaqués. Casa Mono holds 13 tables and 15 bar seats, and Bar Jamón is the adjacent communal tapas bar.
Tapas includes traditional items like pan con tomate; razor clams a la plancha; patatas bravas, and fideos with chorizo, clams, and sea beans; as well as innovative dishes like scallops with apple membrills butter and spiced pomegranate salad; bone marrow with smoked caper chermoula; and sweetbreads with fennel and Marcona almond vinaigrette. They also receive whole animals from the Hudson Valley and break them down in-house, resulting in dishes like rabbit with habanero cuajada and kimchee; lamb pincho with concord grapes and hibiscus mostarda; and confit goat with avocado queso, scallion ash, and pistachios; and pork belly with jamón, leeks, and Valdeon dressing.