Up until this weekend, I had never been a huge Mario Batali fan. Not because I had anything against him, but more because I didn’t know much about him. He was a jolly looking red haired guy with an Italian name and a show on the Food Network. He seemed likable enough.
After Friday though, I’m ready to submit my application for his fan club. Flaneur and I went to Casa Mono, the Gramercy Spanish-style eatery that Batali is co-owner of, and since then, I’ve become a believer. Big time.
Casa Mono is cozy and small, with a cluster of tables packed closely together on the main floor and the rest of the seats lined up around the bar and cooking station. Lucky for us, we were seated right in front of all the action, right where we could see the cooks at work and hear the meat sizzling as it hit the grill.
We shared everything, tapas style, but for the first round, I ordered the calamares fritos. They were juicy and tender on the inside with a light, crispy, seasoned fried outside. The salty, tangy seasoning dusted on top went perfectly with a twist of lemon and the subtle taste of the calamari.