Cassia - Santa Monica

Meal #2 of our Making Lemonade Out of Lemons Staycation week… Cassia. I wasn’t sure what to expect. We’d recently tried Little Sister for upscale Vietnamese and were sorely disappointed, so while Cassia gets great reviews, I went with some skepticism.

Flatbread with Meatballs - I’d be able to write a more extensive review except my kids inhaled it. They couldn’t stop raving about the bread. At one point, my 14yo offered me the last piece of bread, but I let him having hit, because seeing the joy in his face was good enough. But yeah, it looked / smelled wonderful.

Laksa - My wife’s entree. Flavors were a bit muted for me… I like the more “authentic” versions and this one was also a bit heavy… I normally enjoy drinking the laksa soup but this was a gut buster. That said, the rice noodles they use were perfect - chewy and slippery - if not traditional and the ingredients were high quality.

Sunbathing prawns - For $25, you get 6 large prawns. Good, but I’d probably pass to try something else next time. The prawns were fresh though!

Rendang - The beef was perfect. A large cut of beef that was impossibly tender, with a vein (not sure what you call it, but it’s that layer that separates the top and bottom of a flatiron roast) that was broken down and added this wonderful unctuousness to the dish. The sauce, like the laksa, was muted versus what I’m used to, but I was fine with that. Overall, no complaints and my younger son took care of this dish. That said, I’m not sure it’s a $40 dish, which is the only reason I would order something else next time.

Half Roast Chicken - I loved my entree. Marinated in a lemongrass and other spices - reminded me of gai yang, which I love. Only bone remaining was the wing bone. Meat was again perfectly cooked and incredibly tender without being over cooked. My only complaint is the skin wasn’t crispy, but I would order this again in a heartbeat.

Desserts were coffee pudding and kaya toast. Coffee pudding was fine, but after the Republique pie today, it was a hard compare… reminded me of a Kopiko coffee candy in pudding form. And the kaya toast was just too rich for me, though the kids loved it. Could see my younger one’s eyes lolling back as he ate his piece so I gave him mine. LOL.

Overall, this was one of my favorite meals in LA thus far. Pricey but didn’t feel overpriced and execution was spot on, not to mention the service was A+. Oh, I had read reviews that the food could be salty, but I thought the salting was perfect, so the flavors of the food could shine through!


I’ve only been to Cassia once many yrs ago. Seems like I should go again (esp since they have what seems to be very nice outdoor dining areas). :slight_smile: Did you have to make a reservation?

The outdoor dining area didn’t appeal to me that much when I walked by. Plus the charcuterie is all off the menu.

Thanks for the review!

We agree on Little Sister, though some people absolutely love it.

We like but don’t love Cassia.

In the same broad genre, try Majordomo if you haven’t already.

I’ve eaten at LSXO in Huntington Beach; it caters to locals, charges them for it, and isn’t as a Viet what I would consider authentic or worth going back for. I had bo Luc lac, fried sea bass, dou miao, and strawberry shortcake.

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There is bar space for walk-ins - I think they have returned to bar service.
And I imagine you could get a table early most evenings without a rez.
But if you want the patio, or prime time (or anytime on a weekend) you should reserve.

I miss that shit so much. The charcuterie fried rice is no substitute but is outstanding I think. Packed with meat ( Lap cheong, and Tasso) and exuding wok hei. I can’t get enough of it.

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We made a reservation. But I think if you get there before 630 on a weekday, you’re fine. By the time we left (around 730 - 745), the place was bustling and I think you might have a decent wait to get a table. Super easy to make a res on Resy though! And yes, the outdoor patio looks really nice, though we sat inside.

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Ugh, I just don’t get the LS love. High quality ingredients, but flavors are just flat out off.

re: Cassia - it doesn’t strike me as the most novel restaurant in the world. Like, as you go through the menu, there isn’t necessarily one thing that jumps out at you, and makes you say, wow, I want to try that. But everything we had was superbly executed. Admittedly, we have not done much higher end dining since moving here, but are starting branch out.

100%. The Bo Luc Lac was so disappointing… The meat was clearly high quality and well-cooked, but the sauce was just bad.

Bo Luc lac at LSXO: of course, I had to ask for a side dish of salt, pepper, and lime.

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I enjoy the appetizers and salad options at LS much more than the entrees. That plus a couple of cocktails is enough for me.

I also appreciate the high quality greens they serve.

There used to be an exciting item.

The Pigs Tail was exceptional and one of my favorite dishes. Sadly it is no longer on the menu. And pretty much everything else is too spicy for me.

The Pigs tail was enough to go there

Stopped by Cassia last night, overall I think it is an excellent restaurant. No reservation, tables were not available but lots of space at the bar.
While not every dish is a hit, the stuff we like is done very well.
Service is good, and the wine list has many nice options to pair with their food.
Seafood platter had oysters, prawns, scallop crudo, crab legs, and smoked fish dip, and was very enjoyable. Meatballs with bread were quite good too. Sesame noodle salad was just ok.
Keller Riesling was fantastic, even if priced at ~3x retail, but the one we had is not really easy find in wine shops around here.


we really love Cassia. Bryant and Kim, the co-owner proprietors are fantastic and Kim is especially gracious and endearing at the front of house.

We love all the dishes where fish sauce is featured, esp the wok toss water spinach with cherries! who would have thought to put this combination together but it works with the salty and sweet.


The cocktails were excellent!

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Ah, I had that riesling as well. Not generally a white wine drinker, but for that meal, a riesling just seemed like a great fit, and it was.

indeed, my wife’s basil margarita was excellent!

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the pigs tail had fish sauce as the dipping sauce :frowning:

Ah, I had that riesling as well. Not generally a white wine drinker, but for that meal, a riesling just seemed like a great fit, and it was.

Looking at the online wine list, none of the Keller wines are marked up nearly that high relative to current California retail prices.