By Tes Silverman
Established by owners Hugo Garcia and Fabio Machado in 2001, Bistro Cassis has been attracting seasoned and new diners to discover authentic French cuisine in Huntington village.
Bistro Cassis, named by Machado after a black currant berry liqueur called Creme de Cassis, could be seen as a lighthearted approach to the bistro’s vision. But that is just one part of the attraction.
Garcia, who also owns Cafe Buenos Aires at 23 Wall St. in Huntington, oversees both restaurants and can be seen on any given night interacting with diners or making sure that they are taken care of by his son and manager, Gabriel. Machado’s sons, Eric and Jason, also work at Cassis.
Walking into Cassis is like being transported to Paris. The walls are lined with pictures of the Eiffel Tower, photos of the City of Lights, as well as wine bottles on shelves -- creating a quaint and relaxing atmosphere. This charming vibe plays a part in attracting diners, but the major draw is what Chef Adolfo Velasquez creates and serves on a daily basis.
And that was all part of the plan, said Garbriel Garcia, who has been at the restaurant for eight years.
“I want our diners to experience the elegant French decor, the professionalism behind our staff, and, most importantly, to experience the exquisite food that our kitchen so consistently and diligently serves,” Garcia said.
Most restaurants serve bread and butter before appetizers, but at Cassis, the baguette and paté can become appetizers, such as the escargot Persilles ($12) and brie sur toast ($14). The snails may not be for everyone, but if you are an adventurous eater, you’ll want to try it. The chewy texture of the snails with garlic herb butter make the dish tasty and may even convert a non-snail eater.
For cheese lovers, you can’t go wrong with the brie on toast. The baked brie mixed with the sweetness of a fig compote and honey drizzle on toast results in a creamy, slightly sweet appetizer that is hard to resist.
For entrees, the two to try are magret de canard au Cassis ($29) and steak frites ($36). The first is a sliced duck breast and leg was tender and is served with mushroom confit gratin, raspberries and Cassis sauce. The second dish is a New York strip steak with french fries and butter. The steak was seared perfectly and can be served with a Brandy peppercorn sauce (au poivre) on the side.
Bistro Cassis also offers sandwiches like hamburgers, a chicken sandwich and a lobster club sandwich, but if you prefer something heartier, the mussels ($12-half/$21-full) should not be missed. They are prepared five different ways (mariniere, Provencale, Pernod, au poivre and Espagnole).
And what’s a French meal without dessert? The list is long, but if you had to choose, the crepes Suzette ($8) and creme brulee ($9) are winners. The crepes are delicate and thin and the Grand Marnier sauce makes it more complex. The creme brulee is creamy and the caramelized sugar topping brings out the vanilla flavor.
If you’re more a brunch person, Bistro Cassis serves a prix fixe Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for $20. The brunch menu offers the usual fare, like omelets and pancakes, French toast, salads and sandwiches. But to make it more interesting, choices like crepes and mussels are offered as well.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 12-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 12-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.