We snagged a last-minute reservation to Casa Mono, Mario Batali’s nod to Spanish cuisine, last week when my father-in-law was visiting. This was my second visit to Casa Mono and I’ve been extremely impressed on both visits. The food is excellent, the ambiance is inviting and the prices are reasonable (extremely reasonable given the quality of the food…I find the same to be true of Babbo). The downside of Casa Mono is that it’s nearly impossible to get a reservation because the restaurant is so tiny. We stayed on the straight and narrow with our orders (in contrast to our last visit when we were dining with more adventurous friends…bone marrow, anyone?). Highlights included Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Croquetas, Ensalada Mono with Manchego (a sleeper order), Patatas Bravas (rivaling those at Tía Pol!), and Skirt Steak with Onion Mermelada. The wine list is dear, but we enjoyed a reasonably-priced tempranillo – Atalayas de Golban 2005 – that I recommend. If you can get a reservation at Casa Mono, you will not be disappointed.