It's been a while since I've been to a restaurant that's been absolutely inspiring, where every single course was a lesson in how emotional food can be. Casa Mono, in Gramercy Park, where we dropped in for lunch after an exhausting morning spent on 5th Avenue. I hate being forced to go shopping because that's what you're supposed to do in New York.
This is opened by Andy Nussar, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich - quite a small, cozy little dining room, with only a few tables, bar, and an open kitchen. We didn't have reservations, so we sat at the bar, which actually enhanced the dining experience. The tapas was extraordinary, from the fried sardines, to the grilled cuttlefish, to the baby octopus. The incredible pork face torchon sandwich, with Spanish hot peppers (name of exact variety escapes me). And of course, the reason I wanted to go, a plate of the most amazing jamón ibérico. My goodness, just silky, rich, and so intense, perfect in flavour and texture. Mind-blowing, inspired cooking that's suddenly become all too rare. And my goodness, the stunning simplicity of the dishes . . . just proper, authentic tapas with fresh ingredients, and cooked to perfection. Staff was attentive, professional, very helpful with the menu written entirely in Spanish.
A real treasure, a real find for me . . . eagerly awaiting my next visit.