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Cassia Has Amazing Desserts and a Killer Pot au Feu in Santa Monica

LA's new critical darling has almost all good news.

Cassia
Cassia
Wonho Frank Lee

Welcome to Good News/Bad News on Cassia, the triumphant return of Spice Table's Bryant and Kim Ng. Critics and bloggers alike have almost nothing negative to say about the restaurant's French-Vietnamese fare, with a glowing four-star review by LA Weekly's Besha Rodell and three-star review by LA Mag's Patric Kuh. So what's the overall word?

Bottom line: the food is delicious

"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." [LAW]

"Is it good? Absolutely, and that seems to be the primary question Ng is concerned about." [LAM]

"As former huge Spice Table fans, we were thrilled to hear the team had opened Cassia. Not only have they not disappointed, but they've taken the food, the ambiance, and the execution to an impressive new level in this considerably larger restaurant space." [OpenTable]

But that pot au feu is a standout

"Much has been made of the Vietnamese pot-au-feu, which has quickly become the restaurant's signature dish for its clever mash-up of the French stew and the Vietnamese soup. One of pho's etymological origin stories has the noodle soup named in part for its similarities to the French staple, and Ng's version plays on those similarities, replacing pot-au-feu's traditional, mild beef broth with a fragrant, herb-laden concoction." [LAW]

"But the pot-au-feu is brilliant and soothing, the crossover successful: Ng, trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, is claiming the essence of French cooking as his own; colonizing the colonizers." [LAT]

"Picking up the brasserie theme, he serves short rib pot-au-feu in a slurpable pho broth made from brisket and oxtail. Redolent of star anise and coriander, it's perfect for dunking the singed wedges of Nathan's country bread, which have been slathered with green bird's eye chile sauce." [LAM]

"The short rib was the hero here, arriving near falling-apart tender and loaded with all the bovine flavors that you'd want, the spicy pho-like broth adding additional richness and depth to the dish." [kevinEats]

Don't skip dessert

"One of our city's most inspired pastry chefs, Nathan—teaming up here, as ever, with Laurel Almerinda—dials back her flair for homey warmth enough to craft naan-like flatbread for savory treats and desserts such as Vietnamese coffee pudding, a feathery mousse with condensed milk and whipped cream with a fillip of tangy crème frâiche." [LAM]

"We closed with a spot on rendition of mille-feuille, one with a great balance between the deep, fruity notes present and the contrasting lightness of the cream, all while puff pastry provided a fantastic textural component." [kevinEats]

"Stuffed silly, We still made room for dessert. Vietnamese coffee pudding, dark chocolate cake and the beignets!!! Wowza!" [Yelp]

There are a few misses here and there

"Does everything work here? Not entirely. Black cod in a pot, looking a lot like the classic Vietnamese caramelized catfish but made with black cod, was a little overcooked, a little grainy and plunked into a bland broth soured with tamarind." [LAT]

"The wontons were unfortunately sent back due to being very much overcooked and really lacking flavor, but the rest of the dishes, including the Lemon-Lime Dessert, were quite good." [Yelp]

Cassia

1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 393-6699

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