Go Now: Cassia Is Great
Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb are basically the First Family of West L.A.’s food scene. There’s Rustic Canyon, which started it all, and Hucklebrry Café, and Milo & Olive, and Sweet Rose Creamery, and now, Cassia, which they opened in partnership with another great culinary couple, Bryant Ng (R.I.P. Spice Table) and Kim Luu-Ng. With three stretch bars, a stunning Art Deco dining room, and buckets of natural light, it’s by far one of the biggest and most beautiful spaces in Santa Monica, and the Southeast Asian-inflected food is some of the best we’ve ever tasted. Having diligently worked through the menu dish by dish, we’ve decided it’s impossible to pick favorites, but did ask Chef Bryant Ng to share the recipes for two particular stand-outs.
“While visiting family in Vietnam we had, on a number of occasions, salads made with green papaya. Green papaya has a great crunch and really absorbs the flavors surrounding it, making for a perfect salad component. What I love about this particular salad is that it’s refreshing, light, and balanced thanks to the fresh herbs and peppery watercress. The spiced walnuts are addictive and great to eat on their own, but lend a nice, spicy crunch to the salad. Add some cooked chicken, beef, fish, or shrimp to make it a meal.”
“This chickpea curry is an incredibly versatile dish that can be eaten with bread, rice, noodles, or on its own with a side salad. It has a nice balance of sweet and savory, with a slight spicy heat that tickles the palate without overwhelming. As a bonus, it’s vegetarian and vegan. The recipe is based on my family’s traditional Singaporean chicken curry, which means it works perfectly well to substitute chicken for the chickpeas.”