55B Wall St. Huntington, NY 631-421-4122
Bistro Cassis, with its sunny yellow walls, marble-topped tables and properly aproned waitstaff, manages to seem authentically Gallic while bending a few rules. Apparently, the kitchen's unorthodoxy doesn't faze the waiting crowds that spill out into the street on weekend evenings.
After you order, your server places a slice of baguette on your bread dish and replaces it when necessary. Mussels are plump and plentiful, served in a domed copper pot. Try them Provencale-style, in a garlic-infused basil and tomato broth - they're marvelous. Another standout is the classic salade frisee aux lardons, studded with thick chunks of bacon and topped with a soft boiled egg, which, when broken, oozes mellow warmth.
Available at lunch, a salad of sauteed shrimp over warm spinach comes with a heady orange and caper dressing. Surprisingly good is a grilled chicken sandwich with caramelized onions and melted cheese on a superior roll.
For dinner, try the expertly sauteed salmon, served with little napa cabbage bundles, horseradish cream and delicious sliced boiled potatoes. Duck a l'orange comes prettily plated, the breast fanned out in slices, the leg served as a confit, the orange sauce neither too sweet nor too citric. And while the coq au vin is not the time-honored stewed-in-wine version, it is nice as roasted chicken in a savory wine sauce. Gallic tradition is upheld by the steak frites, a simple slab of grilled beef topped with herbed butter and served with crisp French fried potato sticks.
For dessert, gateau moka is a layered affair along the lines of tiramisu, coated with the kind of hard, dark chocolate icing you'd expect to find in a French patisserie. And if the tarte tatin is a letdown, creme brulee is the real deal, crackly on top, creamy beneath.
Brunch: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This charming Gallic bistro offers a $19 prix fixe that includes a choice of mimosa, Bloody Mary or orange juice as well as coffee or tea. The menu features such dishes as banana cinnamon pancakes, mushroom and spinach omelet, onion tart, lobster club sandwich and a variety of savory crepes.