If you haven’t been to Casa Mun so far, well, your ex was right and there is definitely something wrong with you. If you haven’t been yet this month… That’s understandable, we all have stuff to do. But go! His new location, now in the heart of Palermo, is wonderful, with a spacious and airy dining room surrounding a beautifully set communal long-table, large glass windows, a winding metal staircase and even a patio where one can enjoy a pre- or post-meal cigarette while chatting with new friends. Service is personal and friendly, the wine pairings are spot on, the oshibori towel service at the beginning of the meal wonderfully refreshing and the explanation of each dish given by the Chef help make this one of the most unique dining experiences in BsAs. His March menu is fantastic and the meal, if possible, even better than last time.
To start, a playful take on the traditional Korean bento box, small bites of simple, honest little num-nums. Light, airy tofu sandwich with meat, a fluffy and moist seafood and scallion pancake with juicy shrimp running though it, ground but chunky meat seared and served on slab of crunchy green pepper and (my favorite) very thinly sliced lomo wrapped around crisp and sweet Asian pear and microgreens.
Next up, Imjasutang, the summer soup of the Korean royal family. This one was very special and unlike anything I’ve ever tried. The base was a chilled mixture of chicken stock, herbs, a bit of ginseng, very powerful and nutty toasted sesame seed and a bit of mustard to give it a fierce little kick. Sitting in the middle of this delicious, cool broth was a tower of torn (not chopped, this is very important) chunks of tender white and dark meat chicken, some shredded egg and bits of juicy, slimy little shitake mushrooms. Crunchy cool cucumber frizee sprinkled on top. Very refreshing on a hot and muggy summer day.
Miles away from the food-coloring-infused fish and Philadelphia packed crap found at most Argentine sushi joints, Mun’s rainbow rolls are wonderfully fresh, flavorful and texturally interesting. Black and brown sesame dotted, perfectly cooked sticky rice wrapped around squishy, slightly oily avocado, a few strips of crab (or was I imagining this?) and crisp chunks of cucumber. Thin slivers of salmon, beautiful red tuna, crunchy cooked and cooled, buttery-sweet shrimp and a more avocado layered on top. My hands-down-favorite was the creamy, mushy spicy tuna scooped onto little bricks of pan fried crispy rice which were amazingly crunchy on the inside and soft and chewy on the interior. The soy sauce served with it was also deliciously thick and deep in flavor.
The last of the savory dishes was the Momofuku-style pork buns, deliciously sweet and fatty braised pork with its thick, syrupy braising liquid stuffed inside fluffy white, slightly chewy pork buns served in a taco shape. A crispy fresh cucumber slice contrasted the soft warmth of the rest of the dish.
The dinner came to an end with a bang: scoops of velvety, tangy frozen lemon whip with little balls of juicy red watermelon. What I first though was a sprig of mint was actually a way less obvious garnish, a basil leaf, which harmonized surprisingly well with the sweetness of this dessert and gave it an even more refreshing twist. “Home” in dark chocolate calligraphy in one corner of the plate. What a beautiful way to end this wonderful meal!