Casa Mono – Glad we finally tried it

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Casa Mono has been around for quite some time, but we always perceived it as a high-priced tapas bare where it was difficult to get a reservation without planning weeks in advance. I’m happy to say we were wrong. One trick to be aware of is that they do not list prime time spots on Opentable, but go to the restaurant and voila, tables available on short notice.

As far as prices go, it’s no more than Boqueria, Socarrat or the now-defunct Tertulia, which have been favorites of ours. The quality and creativity of the food, though, is head and shoulders above. We’ve been here twice now, and every dish has been delicious.

On our recent visit, we had lamb belly, goat confit, pork meatballs, and merguez sausage. I can’t recall with certainty what we had the first time, but I’m fairly certain it was baby squid, sweetbreads, cod cheeks, and quail. Four dishes are plenty for two people.

The only disappointment is that they do not have Sangria, which we have always considered a staple of tapas bars. I suspect it is that they can only serve wine and beer, and sangria includes liquor. The all-Spanish wine list is pricey but I ordered the cheapest bottle, BaBeViBoBu 2014, from Valencia, $42 and it was a winner. They obviously know their wines.

Service is efficient but not rushed. Tables are crowded and the noise level can be high, but oh, that food…

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PICO DE GALLO – STUYVESANT, NY

Pico de Gallo is a nice addition to the Columbia County dining scene, a bit off the beaten path on the Hudson in Stuyvesant Landing.

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We’ve been there twice now, for a Friday dinner and a Saturday lunch.  It’s more Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex than what you would eat in Mexico, though the chef is Mexican, with a fairly typical menu of tacos, enchiladas, burritos etc., but it is all well-prepared, fresh and tasty.

At dinner, we started with fried calamari, a heaping plate of tender squid, then shared fish tacos and pork quesadilla for the main course.  The portions are very generous, and we were quite filled, but we couldn’t resist the tres leches cake, which turned out to be so good we downed in about one minute.  Margaritas were very good.

The weekend brunch leans heavily toward breakfast type dishes.  I had the huevos rancheros, which were excellent, and a huge plate of food, while Stanley had a breakfast burrito.

The atmosphere is charming, service attentive, and the view of the river is lovely.

https://www.picoonthehudson.com/

 

 

 

 

Pinch Chinese – Interesting and Tasty in Soho

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Pinch does an upscale modern take on Chinese, with various regions represented.  The menu is limited and prices are higher than we normally expect Chinese food to be, but the dishes are interesting and well-executed.

We started with pork soup dumplings and cumin lamb ribs.  The dumplings were an excellent example of the genre, and the ribs were delicious, with a heavy dose of cumin which we love.  Dan dan noodles were very good, and we particularly liked the three cup chicken.  This was quite a bit of food and not really all that expensive.  We enjoyed it and I would return, especially with a few more people so we could share some of the larger dishes.

https://www.pinchchinese.com/