Chef Bryant Ng has brought to Cassia some of the sensibility that made his now-shuttered Spice Table such a favorite, but the context here is slightly different: He's riffing on the interplay between French and Vietnamese cuisines, both the influences that are born of the historical French occupation of Vietnam and crossovers born of Ng's imagination. Cassia is part grand brasserie and part modern Asian eating house. The menu, too, is huge and follows the laws of a brasserie, with offerings from the raw bar, a charcuterie section, small plates and larger plates. You must order a chilled seafood platter, which comes in various sizes. Rather than the tower of chilled crustacean bits that's customary, you get a sampling of Ng's cooked and raw cold seafood creations: a bowl of large prawns bathed in an aromatic Vietnamese hot sauce; smoked salmon dip topped with fresh salmon roe and served with grilled country bread; hunks of raw scallop in chili oil with tiny bits of ham and corn and gobs of fresh herbs; long spindly king crab legs cut lengthwise so the sweet meat is easy to access, topped with a lemongrass fish sauce and a flurry of shiso leaves. At $45 for the small platter, which also comes with six raw oysters, this is an incredible treat.
Seafood Platter (small); Credit: Anne Fishbein