Santa Monica: Dinner and Drinks at Cassia
To kick things off at Cassia, one of LA’s best restaurants, I got the Pina Colada and added a couple extra bucks for the strawberry balsamic gastrique (aka “lava flow”). We were really excited to try the food so I was a little surprised how much I enjoyed this drink. I’d order another one in a heartbeat. Cue “Escape,” (the pina colada song).
Pina Colada – coconut infused- Santa Teresa anejo rum, pineapple, coconut cream
We decided to get a couple of appetizers including the snow crab claws. I had heard good things about the seafood at Cassia but knew we couldn’t go baller status with a tower. Turns out we made the right choice. I loved the dip with the snow crab claws. I wished for more bread. The crab almost became an after thought.
Recently the New York Times reviewed Cassia, the first non-New York restaurant they awarded stars too. This is a big deal. I was then afraid of how difficult it’d be to get reservations. Luckily it’s a large restaurant and we picked a reservation on the earlier side. It seemed they did take walk ins and they were able to accommodate groups quite easily even on a Friday night. In the review, food critic Pete Wells was quite taken with the pig’s tail. We decided to get this. Unfortunately the restaurant seemed very much in a hurry to rush us out. Later I talked to others who go to Cassia more frequently and it’s always the same story. They send out the food very quickly (to better accommodate walk ins?) and so we had to tell our server to slow down the dishes. We ended up getting this last and although we liked it, I didn’t have the same orgasmic moment as Wells. Possibly because we were full but also I felt it was a very non-genteel way to end our nice meal with greasy hands.
Our server had warned us the spicy lamb was SPICY but hey, I like spicy food. I may not be able to handle it but I do like it. It was great but I’d probably order something that wasn’t so spicy. Or at least not order two spicy dishes that got sent out at the same time.
The lamb belly was very tender and I almost wanted more rice. I realized the rice was my crutch for spicy food.
While I was in love with my pina colada, my friend thought her Whiskey Passion Sour was not very balanced. It had a beautiful head due to the aquafaba (the liquid from canned garbanzo beans) and I just thought it had too much citrus. It could use a dash or two more of simple syrup to round it out.
Whiskey Passion Sour – Iwai Japanese whisky, passionfruit, grapefruit liqueur, aquafaba, lemon
As mentioned, we had another spicy dish. I wanted to get some noodles and my eyes fell on the laksa, one of my favorite dishes. This curry soup with seafood was really filling and a great value. I’d totally order this again.
I need a better game plan for Cassia – more cocktails and more seafood. Who’s down for another run through?(310) 393-6699 © The Minty 2016