Casa Mono is tiny, jammed, and totally New York. Furnished with a few closely packed tables that moan under the excess of mouthwatering plates as well as that mighty counter framed by a handful of seats, this grotto-like wine bar is loud, communal-and an absolute thrill. Then consider the service, which moves like clockwork and confirms that this is no slipshod show. The staff may be brisk in their presentation of the kitchen's ambitious renditions of tapas, but with flavors so delicious and concepts inventive, so be it. A faithful mix of locals and hungry out-of-towners convene for fantastic bite-sized eats like buttery bone marrow with smoked caper chermoulah-a house signature that is rich, flavorful, and entirely unmissable. Even the humble bacalao fritter attains new heights here as a deep-fried, fluffy delight coupled with sweet-citrusy alioli. Lastly, fallback plates like razor clams a la plancha in garlic-parsley sauce remain outstanding, consistent, and full of Spanish soul. This kitchen isn't frightened to explore, so skill and innovation are at the forefront of every morsel, including the thick, creamy, and luscious crema Catalana con buñuelos. One word comes to mind: bliss. Oenophiles may head next door to the drinking-focused sidekick, Bar Jamón.
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