Bistro Cassis Restaurant
225 Columbus Ave (nr 70th St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 579-3966
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Cuisine: French (Bistro)
Area: West 70s
Many restaurants bill themselves as a bistro but not all succeed in producing classic, well-executed French favorites as well as Bistro Cassis. Service is pleasant, the atmosphere is trés Français and my only issue is that wines by the glass aren't priced on the menu; when I asked our waitress about options, she recited offerings and when pressed, said "all are in the $12-14 range." Wine is also available by the relatively expensive bottle.
Quibble aside, the food is delicious, starting with bread accompanied by a pot of butter and one with a sort of chicken liver pate. My duck entree was medium rare as requested, the thick slices accompanied by mushrooms, the whole in a cassis reduction. The boeuf bourguinoin, thick with what seemed like homemade tagliatelle, was also excellent. Bouillabaisse, the special of the day, looked inviting as it passed en route to another table. Oysters and mussels are always available; the mussels served in a number of different sauces (menieure, Provencal, Espanole etc.) Onion soup here wins raves as does the cote de porc, a good-sized chop topped with greens, apples and Roquefort cheese. Steak frites afficionados can select from a New York strip, skirt steak or filet mignon, all with crispy fries. The Cassis take on the appetizer confit de canard brings two tacos filled with chili-tinged duck. The lobster club comes on brioche with tarragon-accented mayo and there are a number of classic salads (Caesar, beet, frisee with lardons).
Lunch, served Monday through Saturday from noon to three pm, ups the sandwich offerings and adds items like quiche and pan bagnat, tuna in oil with anchovies, olives, tomatoes and lettuce on a baguette. Brunch, Sundays only from eleven to three, has many of the regular offerings plus eggs in various guises including omelets-- egg dishes with bacon or sausage and a Bloody Mary or Mimosa.
Prices here are mid-range--if you add a few glasses of wine the bill can skyrocket-- and, when the place is full, as it almost always is, there can be a wait for your table (even with a reservation) in the rather cramped entrance area by the small bar. The location is ideal for the Museum of Natural History or Lincoln Center and even when full, the noise level is bearable. For solidly reliable bistro offerings this long-time favorite remains a winner.
Review By: Mari Gold