We ate at Cassia this week and were blown out of the water with amazing Asian flavors from the sea.
Bryant Ng is back in business. I'll spare the history which I'm sure all of you know - Spice Table etc.
We each enjoyed one of their signature cocktails - both great riffs on old favorites - I preferred the East Brooklyn finding like a lighter, brighter Manhattan
Cassia Dirty Martini
Gin, fino sherry, housemade olive brine, Castelvetrano olives
Rye, pineapple/lemongrass dry vermouth, maraschino, cio ciaro, bitters
Here was our meal started with a bang!
Vietnamese "Sunbathing" Prawns Fresno chiles, garlic, Vietnamese hot sauce -
The prawns were gorgeous and meaty and peeled but with heads still attached. The dipping sauce was worth bottling. Not too hot but fresh and bright with spice. We held on to it after they were gone because we'd eat it on anything like the naan-like bread that arrived next with the next course of -
Chopped Escargot, Lemongrass butter, herbs -
A great dish! That clay oven naan bread was the perfect foil for these snails. The lemongrass was the special flavor here that perked these little fellas right up. A little garlicky for me, but I'm very sensitive to that.
Laksa Rice noodles, spicy coconut-seafood soup - wow - really a whole meal in and of itself. The deep red, thick curry was hearty. The rice noodles substantial with what I think was sliced fish cakes strips inside. At first I thought they were mung bean strips but they had a great fish cake flavor.
Whole Singaporean White Pepper Crab. 5 words that crack my shell forever. I grew up in Louisiana and have gone crabbing in the Gulf of Mexico many times - chicken necks in collapsible string baskets, or even on a single line tossed into the surf with chicken neck and scooped them up as they scrammbled from the foam. We'd often boil them pier side with Zatarains and that was a damn good day. Soft shell crabs was my first favorite food when I was little. After moving to LA and being exposed to SGV crab I've had it lightly fried in garlic and vanilla, scrambled with barely cooked eggs and of course countless king crab claws, Joe's stone crabs, Casamento's marinated fingers etc. But never have I had a white pepper crab but I will again. And again, and again. I think I was more covered with pepper sauce than the crab at the end. I was sent into a bit of a frenzy with it. I explained to friends that it's like the cycle you get into with salted caramels where one flavor is perfect and then perfectly complemented by the other and then it all starts over again and you never tire of the flavors!! Every taste receptor was on full alert. The floral white pepper is just a match made in crustacean heaven when married to sweet crab. And the sauce was also salty enough to balance the floral notes. I think I've said enough.
Too full to speak, they brought us the Vietnamese Coffee Pudding
Coconut shortbread and it was bliss.
Overall I was most impressed with finding new takes on familiar, albeit exotic flavors. Like. That. Crab.
Sorry I missed pic of the Laksa.