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Bistro Cassis, Huntington; second disappointing visit

  • mcf Jan 24, 2009 09:19 AM
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I've posted before about Bistro Cassis; for years it's been our favorite local restaurant, always terrific food and service, completely reliably without a slipup. Now I'm posting an update after our second disappointing visit since its decline began simultaneously with the opening of partner Brasserie Cassis in Plainview. It seems that this management group has overextended its talent pool with expansion, and at least the Huntington branch is showing severe effects.

In the past, the dining room was always as filled and as busy as it was last night, yet service was seamless, servers calm amid frenetic activity, specials described, discussed, recommended, refills of bread and drinks offered, and servers checked in to be sure everything was satisfactory. Food was always fabulous, never a disappointment or slipup in our experience.

Well, that was then, and none of this is in evidence in recent months. In fact, last night we were never offered additional bread, drink refills, a pepper mill nor did our server check in with us after we were served. We were never offered dessert menus or coffee, either. In fact, we sat at our table, ignored, for at least 15 minutes before we were read the specials and our orders taken, this by a server we have been served by numerous times in the past, so it's not as if he doesn't know the drill. Management is just not preventing chaos and the stress level in the front of the house is extremely evident. About 10 minutes after he'd taken our orders, our server arrived once more, offering to take our orders. He'd not only forgotten having done so, but apparently believed it would've been routine to have left us sitting there nearly half an hour, completely ignored. When I told him he'd already taken our orders, he looked sheepish, shrugged and indicated that things are sort of chaotic and he no longer knows what he's doing. In addition, our food was good, not great. Cassis has always been brilliant with seasoning, prep and plating. The care and deft hands in the kitchen are no longer as much in evidence.

Last visit, my husband received tepid onion soup au gratin. 30 minutes later, so did the diner next to us, who sent it back. My favorite dish, the chicken au jambon was okay, but not with flavors leaping off the plate the way they once did. On that visit, upon hearing neighboring diners being read the specials, we realized they'd never been offered to us.
This visit, I had an appetizer of oysters with an insipid and gooey bechamel sauce, and filet mignon whose roquefort "sauce" turned out to be a gummy medallion of cheese on top. It was cooked to order properly, at least. The diner next to us complained about a dish that he'd received without all of what was described on the menu arriving on the plate. He complained to the server about the scantiness of the serving and the price, and about the fact that he was never told about the evening's specials.

In sum, this is the second recent visit during which we and our neighboring diners were unhappy with the food and service at what used to be a gem of a local restaurant. I hope someone will post about it if things are brought back up to snuff, because at this point, we're not going back until we hear it's back on track. I really miss the Old Bistro Cassis, it was like a trusty friend you could always count on for comfort.

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  1. Funny, b/c I've only been there twice in total, once in early Nov. and second time the weekend before Christmas. Both times I thought the food and service were both quite forgettable. I had wondered what all the fuss was about to begin with....and the prices are fairly steep.

    Bistro Citron in Roslyn is okay to sit at the bar and eat, and I am a fan of Ray the bartender there. But, that location is certainly not a destination for me either.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JGS

      I've only eaten at Bistro Citron once, for lunch years ago, and it was very good back then.
      All the fuss about Bistro Cassis *was* well deserved until recently. I don't think the prices were steep for the past quality, but it's hard to feel good about paying them for what's happening there now.