New Restaurant ‘Cassette’ brings French-Catalonian Flavor to Franklin Street
‘Tis the season for new restaurant openings, and last week Greenpoint had three*. One of the tastiest additions to our burgeoning dining scene is a delightful French Catalonian eatery called Cassette, whose name roughly translates as ‘little box’. Don’t let the name mislead you though, as the space is anything but small. Positioned on the corner of Kent and Franklin streets, the front of the restaurant takes up at least a quarter of the block, which it comfortably shares with Ramona, Kennaland and the former Lulu’s.
Cassette is adjacent to the Kickstarter HQ on Kent, which is somewhat convenient since one of the partners is Kickstarter founder Perry Chen. In creating the new restaurant, Perry teamed up with Henry Rich, owner of Boerum Hill’s popular neighborhood Italian Rucola. Also hailing from Rucola is head chef Joe Pasqualetto whose passion for good, simple food means that Cassette’s veg-focused menu is primed for success from the word go.
“I’m excited about doing the lighter side of French faire” Joe told us before the opening. “Everyone assumes that French food is about tonnes of butter and fat and foie gras, but down in South West France it’s not really like that. Instead it’s a real Mediterranean tomato and beans and olive oil type of area…really simple.”
We popped into the restaurant last Monday for a sneak preview dinner and were warmly greeted by general manger Aron Kelly and a glowing, inviting interior. The sizable space is freshly decked out in natural woods and pale blue paintwork, but the artful arrangement of seating and some sympathetic low lighting made for a cozy, intimate feel.
A long, attractive bar sits to the left of the entrance, with the main dining area to the right. A couple of long tables lie at the center of the space, with individual tables arranged around the perimeter, and a few tucked away booths to keep things interesting.
One of the most alluring seats in the house is set into a little nook with its own stained glass window facing on to Kent. I don’t know if it’s bookable but if it is, reserve it for date night immediately! Stained glass hotspot was taken when we arrived but we happily took a seat in the main window from where we could watch the ebb and flow of Franklin Street.
We sipped potent armagnac Sazeracs, and excitedly checked out the menu which includes tiny bites (and some individual meats and cheeses), bigger bites, mains and desserts. Each dish is described by a brief list of unfussy ingredients, and all sound highly tempting. Food ranges from $4 for a tiny veg plate to around $22 for a meaty main.
Kicking things off with a selection of de rigueur small plates, we tried fried Brussels sprouts with maple and cider vinegar, roasted red peppers with white anchovies, eggplant ‘marmalade’ with jalapeño, and pumpkin crostino. The crostino’s sweet, earthy mash of pumpkin was topped with with grilled everton cheese and spicy honey, and would be the perfect accompaniment to a glass of red while perched at the bar on a chill autumn night.
Next came a flavorful, beautifully cooked fillet of Dorade over green beans and roasted fennel, and a plate of spaccatelli (short pasta scrolls) with salt cod and a fresh tomato sauce. The dishes were simple and delicious, providing just the right balance of comfort and healthfulness. Other mains on the menu that night included duck with quinoa, and roasted acorn squash with basil aioli.
After having a quick explore of the space (which allowed us a peek at the soon-to-be-completed private dining room) we mustered enough room for dessert, which came in the form of scrumptious chocolate almond cake with poached pear. I’m slightly sorry we missed out on their creme Catalan as I bet they do this rather well, but it was popular that night and they’d just run out. Ah well, just gives me an excuse to go back another time and try my luck at nabbing stained glass corner!
Cassette is at 113 Franklin street at the corner of Kent street. They are open for dinner daily from 5.30pm. In coming weeks the team will also start serving breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch.
*Also Whiskey Burger (formally Mark Bar) and Cozinha Latina (formally Red Star) – reviews coming soon.