2101 Sutter Street (at Steiner)
Woohoo! Cassis has extended their Prix Fixe Early Bird hours this summer, so from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Sunday through Thursday (they’re closed Mondays), you can enjoy their French cuisine for $25 per person. It usually ends at 6:30 pm.
True, this is a big jump from the usual Grubgirl price range, however the value of what Cassis offers makes this a true bargain find.
Let’s dive right into the pros and cons:
- Friendly, un-snooty French waitstaff. Due to my lack of advance preparation in trying to find this place for a little rendezvous, I arrived about 10 minutes after said Early Bird time range had ended. (I had gone the complete opposite direction up Fillmore, on foot, in painful but cute boots, only to have to turn around and walk back down the hill.)Usually there is no mercy for such tough luck: I’ve encountered many staff elsewhere who blame the Point-of-Sale system for not allowing discounted prices outside of special hours (puhleeze, there’s got to be an override code), or they say something about then having to accommodate every other poor sap who arrives 10 minutes after happy hour. Surprisingly, our waiters (there were many…they seemed to have several assigned to our table) discussed the matter and said they’d accommodate me.
- Portion size. I ate everything, and was pleasantly satiated. Not completely stuffed, but not so hungry that I had to contemplate licking the plate. But I did clean everything off it. I had a beef stew with tender morsels that were in decent supply in my bowl. We did also order 1-2 appetizers as well, though this is probably more than enough for a regular diner’s stomach capacity.
- Atmosphere. Perfect for a rendezvous. The genre is up for you to decide. The space is fairly large, dimly lit, with a decent crowd without things becoming too loud, crowded, or chaotic. The decor was modern without being pretentiously so. Thus you could be there on a date, a dinner with your other young urban professional friends…or even your work colleagues, given the proximity of the medical businesses nearby.
- Multiple waiters. (I’m really reaching here, as I had a positive experience.) This is mostly a blessing, but at some times, we found a communication breakdown amongst the 2-3 that were coming to our table. For example, we got the permission that they’d honor our belated Early Bird Special (and he didn’t look like the maitre d’), but then had to tell another waiter that then had to confer with a couple others, etc. Another person came by to get our order…after we’d placed it already. Each one didn’t seem to have a particular assigned task (ie water bringer vs order taker vs bread basket refiller), so we just ended up repeating ourselves to make sure we were helping them out.
- Appetizer portion size. I realize that this will probably be something I notice at other French / finer dining establishments. Things are pretty small. We had some foie gras, and it took all my willpower not to tell my companion to order his own.
I’m not sure how well one would fare there looking for a bargain, if they were vegetarian. Glancing at their latest prix fixe menu got me salivating about my steak and salmon options but a vegetarian entree was missing. However, a reference to any of their pizzas might turn up something suitable.
Let me know if you get a chance to check it out!