With so many great restaurants in Calgary, there are always a few that somehow get stuck on your list, for no reason other than you’re waiting for that perfect opportunity. For us, Cassis Bistro was one of them.
Cassis has been a staple in Avenue’s best restaurants and I have heard nothing but exceptional things about it. So when that perfect opportunity did come up, Cole & I were naturally just itching to get in.
With a reservation for two, we headed out into the fresh winter snow and took refuge in the warm & inviting bistro.
Their sister shop, Suzette, which I’ve raved and raved about in past posts, is easily one of my favourite spots in Calgary; so, I already knew tonight would not disappoint.
Serving French bistro-style cuisine, the small space is dimly lit with cozy benches and black and white movies that play in the background. Even though the tables are tight-fitting, somewhere between the exceptional service and the inviting atmosphere, we felt like the night was ours and we could enjoy a private conversation.
The night started by uncorking a bottle of Cassis’s house red and an attempt to interpret the handwritten label.
We each glanced through the menu, noting delicious sounding dishes like hazelnut and butternut squash ravioli and the classic steak frites.
Instead, however, we were treated to an exceptional Chef’s tasting menu which showcased a little innovation with this season’s finest ingredients and a few house staples.
Starting, with fois gras and fig jam on a crunchy yet soft slice of brioche. The sweet taste of the fig jam added some flavour to the fois gras and the crunch of the brioche added a little extra texture.
And next, slices of fresh chewy baguette, topped with French-style scrambled eggs and a generous slice of black truffle. Somewhat of a foamy texture, the eggs drizzled down the bread and meshed perfectly with each bite. Basically, a fancier and more restaurant-appropriate version of an egg sandwich.
In my opinion, these two dishes really showcased the upscale bistro cuisine and creativity that Cassis offers during the winter months.
But, after appetizers, I was ready for a real meal. And although I secretly had my hopes up for the butternut squash ravioli, we were at the mercy of the Chef that night.
Luckily, they must have read my mind.
The dish consisted of five to ten well-stuffed butternut squash ravioli, speckled with chopped hazelnuts and soft mushrooms, all topped with a butter balsamic sauce, fresh parmesan shavings, and a dash of fleur de sel.
Absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious it is the ideal comfort food for this dreary winter weather. Just be sure to ask for a couple slices of fresh baguette so you can slop up every last dripping. Because, trust me, you’ll want to.
It’s the kind of dish that if sharing, you find yourself counting each ravioli, just to make sure that you really get your fair share.
And for a second entrée, we had Alberta lamb confit on a bed of polenta puree, green beans, frisee, and thyme shoots.
Again, if you’re looking for comfort food, this is the dish for you. The lamb was exceptionally juicy and tender and the polenta is a somewhat lighter take on mashed potatoes.
To be honest, until my first bite, I had it in my mind that I hated lamb. But this dish? Game changer.
By now, we were definitely stuffed.
To ease our palates and of course, to experience a true French style meal, we decided to take a little break while enjoying a few slices of brie and an ash-covered goat cheese.
With, of course, more wine.
As we shared laughs and made plans for the weekend, we rotated between bites of cheese, walnuts, and more baguette.
Now, if you know me, I’ve always got a little more room for a few bites of something sweet.
Our last and final dish was the Cassis take on an apple pie – a layer of Graham crumbs topped with marinated apple slices and paired with a caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The apples are actually marinated skin on, but I forget with what! Regardless, the dish was sweet with a hint of cinnamon, yet light enough to still truly enjoy after a large meal. Highly recommended.
It’s another of those gems that you’ll find yourself savouring – yet fighting for every last crumb.
Cassis is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner, an intimate gathering with friends, or a place to bring the family. I highly recommend booking a reservation in advance, however, because it’s quite the crowd favourite. And now, I can see why.
All I can say is that I feel quite foolish for not having headed in sooner!
It’s located on 17th Ave SW, just past the exit for Crowchild. Check out their menu here.