At Cassia, the modern Southeast Asian brasserie from chef Bryant Ng, Kim Luu-Ng, Josh Loeb, and Zoe Nathan in Santa Monica, they ostensibly focus on Singaporean and Vietnamese flavors, but extend their sphere of influence to other parts of the continent. Clay Oven Breads & Spreads are a clear nod to Indian naan, only served with Vietnamese herbs and disparate, saucy dips. I’ve enjoyed versions with chopped escargot and Koda Farms chickpea curry, and am now enamored with the plate co-starring pork meatballs ($19).
Pull apart, char-pocked slices of naan come with refreshing herbs, a squeeze of lime and a beautiful cashew curry garnished with roasted cashews and clipped scallions. Juicy, golf ball sized meatballs are crafted with pork butt and fatback, held together with pan de mie (bread) and seasoned with ingredients like shallots, Red boat fish sauce, Thai chiles, white pepper, and chile powder. Meatballs bathe in a beautiful curry that is by no means fiery, but builds savory flavor with each bite. The rust colored sauce includes 16 ingredients, too many to mention, starting with tomato, onion, ginger, and garlic and bolstered with poppy seeds, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cream, and ground cashews. “Complex” is one of the most hackneyed food descriptors, so I won’t use it, but Cassia goes deep with this curry.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.