On Tuesday we decided to go to Cassis. Everything I’d read said that this was a charming village, and I used Trip Advisor to find a nice restaurant where we could have lunch. We also wanted to check out the boat trips that leave from Cassis and go to the Calanques: fjord-like geological wonders that are a unique feature of this Mediterranean coast.
I called to make reservations for 12:30 at the restaurant, and was told that it would be too late, so I made them for 12:00. We needed to leave right away to allow time to get lost, look for parking, find the restaurant, and make it by noon!!
Off we hustled, using the address of the restaurant as a target for Jeeves. Although we couldn’t drive to the restaurant, we have found that if Jeeves can get us close, it’s a big help. Also if, as happened here, there is some kind of a detour or closed road, Jeeves keeps sight of our target! That’s tremendously helpful!
So, after taking the detour, and inventing one for ourselves as well, we finally chose a parking lot. We’d passed several, and finally decided “this is the one!”, and got one of the last spaces available there! At this point I was stressing a bit, as I was concerned that if we showed up late at the restaurant, we might have lost our place.
Well, I shouldn’t have worried. First of all, the parking lot we chose was THE closest to the village. Then, after finding the center of the village (easy, just walk down…) and asking for the street, we arrived at the restaurant about 5 minutes early! We jiggled at the door, realized we were early, and started to walk away for a few minutes, when the waiter opened the door and warmly invited us in and gave us our choice of seat in the tiny (14 tables) restaurant.
We could already tell that we were in for a treat! The waiter took his time with us, answering any questions we had about the menu, then bringing out a platter with three fish on it, and explaining which was which, and where they were on the menu, and how they would be prepared!
Cassis is a fishing/tourist village, and I had read that this restaurant’s speciality is a fish soup, so I chose the “menu” that allowed me to have that as a starter. Oh, it was heavenly!
The menu had said “with accompaniments”, and I had no idea what that might mean, exactly. The waiter brought out the steaming trough of soup (okay, I do exaggerate, but I think it could have easily served 2 if not 3 people!), and pushed the place settings, etc, on the adjoining table aside as he put it down. He walked away, and I started to reach over to serve myself, when he rushed back, saying “no, no, not yet”…and he put down a plate with crisped baguette slices and an aioli mixed with some red pepper puree (I think), and some grated cheese. Then he instructed me how to assemble: you take a crouton, spread some aioli on it, sprinkle it with some cheese, and put it in the bottom of the bowl. Do that as many times as you wish. Then you ladle the soup over the croutons! YUM!
I think that was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten! The soup itself was a rich, fishy broth, with no actual fish meat in it, but it was oh, so delicious. And the croutons “with accompaniments”…oooh la la!!! What a combination!
I definitely could have stopped right there, but I had two more courses coming! I’d ordered the “plat du jour” which was two different fish fillets with a basil sauce on a bed of sautéed peppers, onions, and zucchini. Surrounded by the most meltingly delicious potato wedges…SO good!!
For dessert – yes, more food!!! – I had crème caramel. I really wanted the chocolate mousse, but knew I was too full to really enjoy it – the crème caramel seemed like it would be a lighter choice, and I think it was…After we’d finished, the waiter brought us each a little glass – for me of Crème de Cassis, and for Roy, brandy. The people at the table next to us enjoyed Roy’s brandy, but I enjoyed my cassis!! Our waiter explained to us that this is a tradition of this restaurant to give these drinks “on the house” after a meal. Lovely.
On our way out, the owner, Jean-Marie, and I spoke a little, and I told him that we’d definitely be back! (well, actually, I told him that we’d definitely roll over – French language mishap! – but I hope he got the idea!). And we will!!