Tasty Tapas at Casa Mono

We returned from our trip to Florida on Wednesday and were beyond tired out. Mr. Trekker did the correct thing and took the rest of the week off from work. I went in on Thursday & Friday and of course had two of the most stressful and hectic days ever. Luckily I get out of work early on Friday's and was home by 3:30. Since Mr. T was home as well and neither of us had had lunch yet (since he was just waking up), we decided to grab a late lunch at Casa Mono.

Casa Mono has been in our neighborhood for years now and always gets rave reviews. Unfortunately the place is super small and seating is a little cramped. It is also filled to the brim for dinner at night with at least an hour waiting list. The nice thing about the place though is that they serve their menu all day! So we figured it being an off hour we might be able to have the place to ourselves.

It was a really rainy and gross day so we hurried into the place and found it almost empty. There were 2 couples dining at the bar and one table was occupied. We decided to grab a seat on the far side of the bar near the windows to enjoy the dreariness of the day.

We order a fantastic bottle of white wine,which the sommelier helped us choose and of course I don't remember the name, and got to work on ordering.

We figured we would order 3 plates here and then head over to Pipa, another place we'd been meaning to try out, and order a couple more. For some reason we both thought the tapas would be tiny and the plates expensive; seeing that it was a Mario Batali place.

Our first dish was the Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Croquetas.

The plate was pretty big! As you can see there's a good 6-8 croquetas there!

Inside the croqueta.

Yum!!! These were heavenly. It's a little hard to tell from the picture but the goat cheese to pumpkin ratio was about 50:50. Usually the cheese kind of overpowers any other taste but the pumpkin really came through. Absolutely delightful!

Next we got the Fideos with chorizo and clams.

I honestly ordered this because it was the dish that Iilan Hall made on Top Chef that won him the round. Since I am not a pasta fan; find chorizo too spicy and dislike clams, I figured I would at least try it and Mr. T could enjoy the rest.

Know what? I think I may have eaten more than him! The flavors were fantastic together! The chorizo was minced into little cubes so the spice didn't over power it and the sauce that was on top cooled it down as well. This is a perfect example of why I love eating out! On paper, this sounds like a dish I would loath. But somehow, this chef got everything together just right to make it spectacular!

Our final dish was the lamb chops with chickpeas. I couldn't get a picture because the sky had turned black as night because of the storm and the sun had been the only light. It was very good though- perfectly cooked with a nice char on the outside.

After the 3 dishes we were stuffed. When we got our bill we realized our moderately priced bottle of wine ended up being more than all 3 dishes put together. Really quite a deal!

So was Casa Mono perfect? Well unfortunately our service was horrendous. As I said earlier the whole time we were there only about 6 people at most were there with us. You would think that with a wait staff of about 6 people we would have no problems.

Unfortunately our waiter sucked. He took forever to take our food order, he never filled our water or our wine glasses (we had to flag him down each time) and he literally would stand in front of the bar and gaze right through us looking stoned.

So that was a little upsetting. Especially because one of the waiters seemed to notice our displeasure and did nothing.

Oh well. The food was good enough that we will be going back and maybe I'll even give Batali's other place, Otto, another shot.

We were too full to get any more food so we just went to Pipa for a quick drink. I stuck with a Negro Modelo but Mr. T tried out their Coconut Lime Mojito and it was fantastic! Really tasty and quite a fun place. Next time we won't eat so much before planning to eat there!