Cassia, the seasonal Southeast Asian restaurant in Santa Monica from Bryant Ng, Kim Luu-Ng, Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, is pretty close to a sure thing. New dishes are hits, and pre-existing dishes are prepared consistently. Bold flavor extends to the bar. Craft beer and wine are reliably interesting. Head bartender Kenny Arbuckle has created a food-friendly cocktail program with Asian influences and extends his approach to seasonal fruit soda.
Seasonal Fruit Soda ($4) rotates frequently, depending on what surfaces at the famed Santa Monica Farmers Market. I enjoyed Murray Farm Shinko pear soda with cardamom, honey and lemon, served on the rocks with a garnish of fanned pear slices. At dinner, they also served blackberry soda with ginger, lemon, and coconut. In the past, they’ve paired Fuji apple with fennel syrup and lemon. I’m looking forward to tasting how the soda program progresses.