This week, Besha Rodell returns to write a review on Cassia, the long awaited comeback of Bryant and Kim Ng, the former proprietors of downtown's much beloved Spice Table. The expansive Santa Monica space, put together in partnership with Rustic Canyon duo Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb, is so "big and flashy," that one might "miss how inventive the food really is, how uncommon the quality."
Here the interplay of French and Vietnamese cuisines finds success in every dish, from the delightful raw platter and charcuterie plate to the thick laksa noodle soup to the much discussed pot au feu. Ultimately, the LA Weekly critic concludes:
As I said, the excellence of Cassia kind of sneaks up on you. Dish after dish, you find yourself exclaiming, "This is fantastic!" — and after a few meals I realized I had said exactly that about everything that had hit the table. It may look and feel like just another trendy restaurant, and certainly there is a sense of taking all that's fun about big, fashionable places and pouring those elements on thickly. But Cassia delivers so much more in the substance of the cuisine, so much more heart and flavor and ingenuity. If the setting is big and loud and fun, all the better. [LAW]
Cassia scores four stars.
The Elsewhere: Darin Dines has another reliable meal at Redbird, Jim Thurman heads to West Covina to eat classic Burmese dishes at Rangoon Kitchen, and Bill Esparza digs into hot dog tacos at Puchica Guatamalan Bar & Grill.