French cuisine is under-represented in the Vancouver food scene, likely due
to a combination of the perceived cost and the �fear factor�. A dish named daube
de boeuf can be intimidating until a steaming bowl of rich beef stew arrives
at the table. This is not the bland North American version, but the real deal
with porcini mushrooms and burgundy wine ($9.20).
But let�s not get ahead of ourselves. No one should visit Cassis without
trying the fondue. Choose from four types of cheese: goats� cheese ($9.20),
gruyere ($9.20), brie ($11.20) or the raclette ($12.80), all of which are
delicious, although I always order the classic gruyere. The fondue is served
with toasted focaccia strips and a dish of grapes, a lovely starter course. The
salad nicoise ($8.80) is also a great way to start, or if you�re not starving
there are lots of accompaniment dishes like Yukon gold potato pave (scalloped
potatoes - $5.20), escargot-stuffed baby red potato ($7.80) and glazed summer
asparagus ($5.60). The nice part about mixing and matching smaller plates is the
control those with food allergies or special dietary requirements have. Do check
with the server, though, to ensure the dishes meet your special dietary needs.
If you are looking for a main dish, you cannot go wrong with the signature
items like the daube de boeuf (mentioned above), the bouillabaise
($9.20), and the coque au vin ($8.20). These classic French recipes are
what make this restaurant special. The bouillabaise is a classic seafood
stew originally created in Southern France by fishermen and the tastes of
fennel, saffron, and tomato make this a heavenly dish, especially in the winter
season. My favourite of the three, though, is the coque au vin, a
wonderful dish consisting of free-range chicken cooked in pinot noir wine with
mushrooms and pancetta, which gives it a slightly salty tang. The coque au
vin is satisfying without leaving you stuffed and with a glass of red wine
($6-$11.50/glass or $24-$46/bottle), makes a perfect meal to get cozy over.
Cassis was voted to have the Best Value Wine List 2004 by Vancouver
magazine, and was Best New Restaurant according to the Georgia Straight in the
same year. The menu has expanded and is unfortunately a bit more expensive than
it used to be, but it is still reasonable and the quality of the food is worth
it. The heritage building gives it a romantic air, the staff members (and the
owners) are young, cute, and friendly, and they throw fun parties. Word has it
that the crepes ($7.80) served at lunch are authentic and delicious as well.
Monday - Friday 11:30 a.m. � 2:30 p.m.
Sunday � Wednesday 5:30 p.m. � 12:00 a.m.
Thursday � Saturday 5:30 p.m. � 1:00 a.m.
Reviewed by: Shannon Miller
Last reviewed: Nov. 4, 2005