Restaurant Review: Cassis Bistro

>> Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beef Tartare
Since the beginning of summer and the nonstop construction that is Deerfoot Trail, we’ve been talking more and more about why we still live in the area that we do. Its becoming very tempting to cut down on commute time and move closer to the downtown core, where we find ourselves during the week and even on weekends. Just thinking about the time we’d save on a daily basis is enticing enough but then I heard of the new Casel Marche they opened just off of Bow Trail, with a European styled grocery store, wine store, café and French Bistro called Cassis. I swear they built this place to lure me even more. So I headed to Cassis Bistro, just to do some research of course.

Atmosphere: Casual and contemporary chic, a light airy feel, due to the modern styled booths and quaint chalk boards reminiscent of European bistros.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30

Calamari
Food and Wine: It was extremely busy at Cassis that night we went, so I definitely recommend reservations ahead of time. After taking a look at the menu, I wanted to try everything. It was extremely hard to pick and choose only a few items. Then I saw the wall which had a ratatouille recipe and knew that I had to have a dish with it or order it as a side.

My companions and I decided to start with the Calamari de Regine, which I’ve heard great things about. Its grilled calamari and stuffed with chopped up prosciutto. Anything stuffed with prosciutto is a winner in my books and this dish proved to be so. The saltiness of prosciutto brought out the sweetness of the squid and when accompanied by the peppery arugula, it all seemed to fit (however the salad was a bit salty, but maybe I just got a bad bite). Our second appetizer was the Alberta Beef Tartare. The plating of the tartare was unique, with the raw egg still sitting in a half opened shell, which gave you an opportunity to choose not to mix it in with the tartare. My first bite of the crostini brought with it a fusion of flavours from the tangy salty capers to the creamy peppered beef. The contrast of textures is always nice.

Skirt Steak
It was hard to choose only a couple mains and there was a few times where we wanted to order one of each and had to hold back. We had the Organic Alberta Skirt Steak because I remembered ordering a dish similar to this in Paris and it was amazing. This dish was no different. The steak was succulent and juicy especially when topped with sweet caramelized onions, you can’t go wrong there. The side of sauteed potatoes was crispy (I dislike soggy potatoes) and served with a creamy aioli.

Our second entrée of Wild Atlantic Salmon was served over top sautéed asparagus, red peppers and morel mushrooms. The salmon was crispy on the outside yet still slightly pink and flaky on the inside, which is the only way salmon should be served. The herb pistou was a nice added touch for both presentation and added a light richness to the dish. We decided on the Alberta Rack of Lamb for our final entrée dish due to the ratatouille that accompanied it. The lamb itself was cooked to a perfect medium and seasoned well, but I’d have to say that the star of the dish was the ratatouille. Each vegetable component of the ratatouille was perfectly braised and were like little flavour bursts. I’d definitely recommend it.

Salmon
Like Parisian restaurants the desserts du jour were displayed on a chalkboard. Similar to the entrees we were tempted to try them all but decided on three of the four for good measure. When they arrived each reminded me of éclairs because they were so precious looking. My first bite was of the Paris Brest, which is essentially a praline cream filled profiterole or cream puff. The cream tasted just like a ferrero rocher chocolate, full of hazelnut flavour and extremely velvety. My second bite was of the Tropezienne, a dessert made famous in St. Tropez, France and is made of soft sweet brioche cake with a rich yet light cream filling. It was hard to decide which one I loved more at this point so I carried forth. For the last dessert we ordered the Tarte aux Pommes otherwise known as an apple tart. It had a layer of apples sitting on a light puff pastry shell. The tart itself was a bit dry and could have used a bit of ice cream, which would have offset the dryness of the pastry. I immediately went back to the first two desserts, just to reevaluate which one I liked more of course.

Our wine for the evening was the Domaine Montrose 2006 Syrah Cabernet. It was a deep garnet red color and tasted of oak and pepper. A dry full bodied red, where the cabernet softened the bold tannins of the syrah. It went will with our protein heavy meal and contrasted our sugary desserts.

Desserts
My Picks: Calamari, Organic Alberta Skirt Steak, Paris Brest

Overall: We had a blast and the owner even stopped by a couple of times to say hi. He mentioned that the changing seasons will bring with it new menu options reflective of what produce are available at the time. They just don’t stop the allure here at Casel Marche, so I guess I’ll just have to come back again soon (to do more research of course) and who knows maybe a move is just what I need afterall.

Chalkboard
Cassis Bistro105 2505 17th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 262-0036
Website: http://www.thecassisbistro.ca/

Cassis Bistro on Urbanspoon

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