Cassia Bryant Ng Kim Luu-Ng Cassia
1314 Seventh St. (Arizona Ave.)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
A Southeast Asian brasserie in downtown Santa Monica.
Openings: Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner Tues.-Sun.
Cassia, Santa Monica, CA

Cassia Restaurant Review:

Chef Bryant Ng and his wife, Kim Luu-Ng, who steered The Spice Table to national praise, teamed with prolific restaurateurs Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan (Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, Rustic Canyon, Sweet Rose Creamery) on this Southeast Asian brasserie in downtown Santa Monica. Cassia, whose name that refers to a variety of Vietnamese cinnamon, occupies the ground floor of an Art Deco building, alongside sister establishment Esters Wine Shop & Bar. A patio lines the sidewalk, while the interior has an industrial feel with concrete ceilings and light bulbs ensconced in bird cages. A number of seating options are available, including marble-topped tables, booths, a communal table and three bars: a counter facing the wood-fired oven, a raw seafood bar and the bar serving up craft cocktails and California draft beers. There is also a semi-private wine room, as well as another private room that seats up to 20. Some dishes popular at The Spice Table have made the transition west, including kaya toast. Other starters include house-cured charcuterie and Chino Valley egg custard with sea urchin roe and braised mushrooms. Culinary influences primarily draw from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Vietnam, resulting in dishes like Vietnamese pot au feu, white pepper crab, beef rendang and tandoor-blistered naan with chopped escargots. Steak frites, a staple of brasseries, also makes an appearance on the menu. Zoe Nathan and Laurel Almerinda have dreamed up desserts such as Vietnamese coffee pudding and a lemon lime coconut tart.

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