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New in Bellingham/Lynden: Cassoulet

Just through their soft opening, so really really new, is Cassoulet. Have not been yet, but understand it's on Hannegan Road at Pole Road between Bellingham and Lynden. Chef and owner Gabriel Claycamp moved up from Woodinville/Seattle because, in addition to opening a restaurant, he plans to build/operate a sustainable abbattoir to support his ambitions in charcuterie.

As it was described to me, the menu's entrees will change monthly with more frequent changes in sides and appetizers according to what's available. No liquor license as yet, but should be very soon.

I'm excited!!!

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  1. I'm excited too !!

    1. A changing menu? Wow, sounds like the chef is keepong up with what's fresh and locally available. Good deal!

      1. Wow, it looks promising. Thanks for the heads up, Neecies!

        1. Hoping for an opportunity to drive out there and check it out. Maybe we'll go for shrimp & grits for brekkie! Dinner is a little pricey for our family, $28 each. But, breakfast and lunch look great and affordable.

          http://www.cassouletcafe.com/Home_Pag...

          http://blogs.bellinghamherald.com/bus...

          1. this is very incredible. thank you

            1. My friend ate at Cassoulet last night. She had an amazing dinner. Saw the pictures, and it looked pretty spectacular. I'm excited!

              1. Oooo, just scored a Dealsaver for this place. $15 for $30. Now I have a great reason to get up there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: laurachow

                  Well done ! Here it is:

                  http://bellingham.dealsaver.com/engin...

                2. I just went here for Brunch. Weird set up in kind of a tacky "strip mall" but very cosy and simple inside. One big table in the room with a few 4 tops around it.
                  A few chalkboards outlining the food specials, drink specials, menu for upcoming events.
                  A great cocktail bar at one end, with folks that seem to really know what they are doing.
                  Prices are reasonable.
                  Staff is friendly, prompt with the food, everything was just cooked and immediately served super hot.
                  Hardly anyone was there. I think the entire time we were there, only 6 other people came in and we were there for Sunday Brunch at 11:00.

                  Okay....The Food: really inventive menu items! Seriously, I don't think another restaurant in the area compares with the inventive menu. I almost ordered what was on the chalkboard today -the shredded boar Shepherds pie,but decided to try the Chicken and Waffles with maple mustard syrup. Interesting flavors, the fried chicken was really dark brown (almost overdone on the outside) but moist on the inside and seasoned nicely. The Eggs Benedict had a tasso hollandaise sauce that was thoughtfully prepared and included bits of cubed tomato, served with home fries were perfectly done (hard to do!) and needed no other seasoning. We also ordered a small side of house made bacon that was VERY good (and I am picky about my bacon) and we ordered a hot cinnamon roll with bacon in it...just in case we didn't have enough bacon :)

                  They have a cocktail bar at one end with folks that actually know how to make cocktails. I will be back for their happy hour! I had a cocktail with brunch today that had something like- gin, elderberry liqueur and blackberries in it. Very different, light and tasty; a change from a mimosa. The Bloody Mary's looked good at the table next to us and I will try one next time.

                  I have every intention of trying out Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour! I am excited to have this type of local place. I hope they stay busy and stay in business.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: sedimental

                    How about we plan a chowhound happy hour meetup here?

                    1. re: sedimental

                      "...... really inventive menu items! Seriously, I don't think another restaurant in the area compares with the inventive menu"

                      Ding ding ! :-)

                      Then again, there ain't nothing in the same caliber for a few miles around:

                      http://goo.gl/maps/C9IpH

                      1. re: sedimental

                        We'll be going to brunch soon. Really looking forward to it. Had hoped to go last weekend, but family schedules weren't meshing with that plan. Shrimp and Grits!

                      2. Hey LotusRapper, Going to vote in this? http://chineserestaurantawards.com/in...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: laurachow

                          Good thing I checked this board (been slow of late). Thx LC. I'll cast my votes over the holidays, between meals. And food coma naps ;-)

                        2. Finally got to Cassoulet for brunch. We ordered:

                          Bagel with salmon spread: spread was light as a cloud and the house-made bagel nice and toasty. I'd have eaten the spread on a piece of cardboard, if that's all there was.

                          Shrimp and grits: my favorite. Sauce, shrimp, grits all prepared perfectly. I have no idea what was in the sauce on top, and I don't care. I just want to eat more of it.

                          Frittata special of the day: kalamatas, manchego cheese, spinach, lovely side of greens. I'm just not a fan of frittatas, so I need stop ordering them. They are just too eggy for me, but that being said, this was one of the better I've had.

                          Spanish pile-up: Everyone loved this. The chef subbed mushroom for the sausage since we had veggies at the table and they were using a goat cheese, rather than regular blue cheese. Delicious. The potatoes were exactly how I like them, browned and crisp on the outside, soft inside. The eggs had lovely soft yolks that coated the dish when you broke into them. This was a favorite at the table.

                          Croissant bread pudding: Everyone loved it, even my daughter who is not always a bread pudding fan. Had lots of delicious bits of dried apricots and nuts, and a whiskey sauce. Mmmmm.

                          They are closing around Christmas and will be tasting and selecting a new winter menu. Sounds like they also plan to tighten up their lunch menu with fewer offerings. Dinner is a bit spendy for our family, but we'll be back for another brunch. After all, we didn't have the opportunity to try the eggs benedict.

                          I have some pictures to upload, if only I can find a functional USB cable to get them off my phone.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: laurachow

                            Sounds like a winner indeed ! I'm envisioning our next tour of duty, brunch/lunch @ Cassoulet, dinner at Dragon River, in-between grazing at Rocket Donuts ......

                            Re: phone pics to PC .... if both have bluetooth, then you can transfer pics to/fro that way:

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meRZFB...

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq6T4L...

                          2. Dinner at Cassoulet! What a treat. From the cocktails to the dessert. Fantastic.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: laurachow

                              Need a "like" button :-)

                            2. Just an update review. We have been several times for weekend brunches. Always good. Last night we went for dinner and were really pleased with the food but had mixed feelings about the dinner experience. I would still like to try one of their special events dinners one day. This was just a typical Saturday night dinner.

                              We started with calamari (cooked to perfection). Nice cilantro pesto sauce and avocado aioli. Creative.

                              I had the halibut special (on the blackboard) and my spouse had a pasta dish with beef.

                              The small slice of halibut was cooked perfectly and the very few vegetables (3pea tendrils, about 10 peas and 2 thumb sized baby carrots) were artistically arranged on the plate. Good thing we had the app!

                              The beef tagliatelle was average, something I would cook at home. It was plated by itself, about a cup of swirled extremely long noodles (had to cut) and a few shreds of beef, topped with piles of really pretty, light, threads of Parmesan cheese.

                              Limited wine choices. I am not sure what is the point of such limitation. The only lighter red wine by the bottle (to go with both our meals)was 40 bucks for a simple, pedestrian (cheap) cotes du Rhone. Only 4 red wines and 2 white wines by the bottle on offer (on a saturday night?)We thought about cocktails.... it looks like they only offer 10 dollar cocktails?

                              We ordered carrot cake for dessert but sent it back. It was too dry and dense making it difficult to eat. The wait person apologized and suggested a rhubarb cake instead -and that was really great!

                              All in all, still good food, but not the best "price to value" for dinner. We are certainly not big eaters, not at all- but the portions were just too small. They were more like tapas, but the price was full sized. Maybe the actual meat dishes are normal sized? They need to offer more variety and a wine list at this level of dining....Old World Deli -downtown Bellingham- offers away more interesting wines.

                              It is still a place worth supporting, but we will be sticking with brunch.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sedimental

                                Hi, sedimental:

                                I *think* I drove by this place today on the way back from Ski to Sea. Is it is a smaller strip mall on the Guide Meridian?

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Kaleo - they're actually between Lynden & B'ham, on Hannegan Rd, hence the title of this thread:

                                  http://goo.gl/maps/s9Oig

                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                    Thanks, LR:

                                    I just caught a glimpse of it yesterday. I really only get up that way for Ski to Sea, but I'll try to make a special trip to try Cassoulet. Hard choice, what with Herb Nieman's in Everson. http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&...

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                              2. I haven't made it to Cassoulet yet. I'm wondering if anyone is interested in doing a Chowdown there, for a brunch or another meal. I heard they do a happy hour too, but I don't see anything about it on their website.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                  Interesting. I might be game, but my Nexus expires in 2 weeks and won't be renewed until July 1. I could come down via Aldergrove in Langley crossing (usually less volume) which puts me right onto SR539, however :-)

                                2. Okay, one more wine list complaint. I promise, I will not just vent here, I will actually write them a letter about this.

                                  We went for dinner tonight. We knew full well the wines were "sketchy" here, but we really wanted wine with our meal. Again, the minimal wine list was on the chalk board, just the varietals listed (not the vinyard) with the minimum price of 36 dollars per bottle, some "unknown" wines were listed at 48 per bottle.

                                  So, I asked....Who makes the Zinfandel ? The waitress says "it is a wine from California....you can't buy it in a store....The name on the bottle is "Boyle", I think. I ask "Boile"??? No, BOYLE. Never heard of it. "Well, they don't sell it in stores". Okay, we'll give it a whirl.

                                  I was busy chatting when she brings it to the table. It was poured for a taste. I taste it ......and.....strong, hot, cheap, yuk. I make a bit of a face involuntarily. I look at the 36 dollar bottle label....IT WAS BOGLE, I kid you not. 10 bucks from the grocery store. I said, this is Bogle...not Boyle...that is very different. She grimaces. I should have declined, but I was too fucking polite. I said it was okay. For some reason I felt sorry for her. I was wrong and got ripped off. I will write a letter now. This is absurd.

                                  The meal was stellar. The food here is really too good to be serving shit wine from Rite Aid. Really. The Cassoulet (signature dish) was the best I have ever had (including the same in Paris).

                                  Anyone ordering wine, they need to watch out for 36 or 48 dollar bottles of "Le Bare foote" or " Le yellow tale" or "chateau Le Gallo". Cripes.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: sedimental

                                    Sheesh. Sorry to hear of your vino pains. How can an establishment that apparently serves decent, if not very good, foods be so amiss on the wines front ?? Was the owner ever present during the multiple times you were there ? Is he just clueless ? And the pricing .... that's insane.

                                    If I wanted other bevs (I rarely ever drink wine), you think they can give me a glass of Eau de Coors Leger for maybe only $10 ?

                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                      I know!!!!!

                                      The cocktails are 10 to 12 bucks each, but are very well crafted.
                                      The beer is 6 bucks a glass and might be okay (I am not much of a beer drinker).

                                      It is just shocking to me that they care so much for their food, specialty cocktails, and desserts, but offer that skid row wine list! It is insane.

                                      The owner must be buying the wines from an outlet or something. It is weird that they are constantly erasing the types of wines available on the chalk boards too, and not listing the wineries. Something is up with that.

                                      1. re: sedimental

                                        I think I saw the owner at B'ham Costco ;-)

                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                          Can I shed some light? We had Tiffany (the owner) and her original partner over one night for dinner/wine tasting when they first moved here. Gabriel was astonishingly good on wine. When they broke up, the wine knowledge went with him. And neither she nor her new chef apparently can fill that void--but there's help in this town for that (in fact, I'm available :) ). But give her credit for holding the restaurant together while enduring such great heartbreak and betrayal. I feel terrible that I haven't been back to be more supportive--but we've been caring for a terminally ill loved one and just haven't been out much at all.

                                          1. re: Neecies

                                            It is not only the owner and the new chef that don't know anything about wine (or even how to place it on a chalkboard) but the staff doesn't know anything either. The server didn't know that Bogle was a common grocery store wine. That is pretty bad.

                                            1. re: sedimental

                                              That is VERY bad; and didn't you say she actually bragged that it wasn't available in stores? What's kind of sad is that this town is full of good foodie-oriented wine distributors who could help them choose maybe a dozen good wines that wil pair well with the food AND please most palates. Plenty of free advice available for those not savvy enough, IOW. Also, help them with pricing. Charging 3.5X retail for commonplace, mass produced grocery store wines both hurts their reputation and insults the customer, and that's a very bad way to go.

                                              1. re: Neecies

                                                Absolutely. On the plus side, they were very responsive, very concerned and interested in the issue and asked for help. Yay for them! That shows me integrity.

                                                If you get a chance to offer suggestions for wine, I think now is the time.

                                    2. re: sedimental

                                      You must have made your discontent known. Cassoulet's most recent FB post:

                                      "At the recommendation of one of beloved guests this evening we will be expanding our wine options. Which ones would you love to see with our entrees?"

                                      Nicely done! I hope you take this opportunity to help them expand their selection.

                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                        I know. They wrote back! Nice.

                                        I am preparing to send them a list of better options :)

                                        1. re: sedimental

                                          Well done.