Dec 6th, Bistro Cassis, 225 Columbus Ave, NY 10023.
I was long overdue to catch Ford vs Ferrari. It was decided that AMC Lincoln Square would be the venue. First lunch. Pizza? No, I had time to kill and a relaxing no rush meal was in order. An Italian trattoria like Il Violino? No, I was rooting against Italy today. A quality all American burger to celebrate the home team? I just wasn’t in the mood. Bistro Cassis is in walking distance, let’s celebrate our hosts the French.
Step in to a cozy single dinning room that seats about 60. There are high tops by the window for city street watching, something I’d normally choose but again I had over 90 minutes to spend before the movie. So, I went for comfort choosing a small table with banquette seating. At 2pm there is no one under 50 years old in the place other a couple members of the staff. From the interaction of dinners with the wait staff and manager I get the sense locals frequent this neighborhood restaurant. Quite conversation is easily had as the music volume is low and acoustics suppress the noise. The room at lunch is brightly lit with interesting art pieces on the walls. Service starts friendly and fast remaining that way. I have water and bread served as I ponder a drink from the bar.
I ordered an Old Fashioned but wasn’t asked or afforded the opportunity to select a bourbon or rye. The end result was a cocktail I wouldn’t complain about having thoroughly enjoyed it, whatever the mystery bourbon was. I should have been offered a coaster as the glass did sweat a bit. The lunch menu is a single laminated page with proper French looking font. Some one should offer an online French Menu language course. Fortunately, the menu descriptions allow one to skate by ordering in English. Interesting sandwiches like the Merguez D’Agneau, spicy lamb sausage, black olive mayo, coleslaw on a baguette were tempting, of course there is a burger available. I decide on the Quiche Lorraine which the menu says bacon, more on that later. I also order the Steak Tartare to ensure I don’t go hungry and order expensive popcorn later.
I sip my Old Fashioned and peruse social media on the phone to pass the time. When a slight disturbance happens. A homeless guy opens the door of the temporary winter vestibule to shut out a common two-word obscenity. The manager quickly responds to defuse the situation and see the guy on his way. Seeing that I was dining alone…one dines at Bistro Cassis. The manager shared with me that the guy accomplished his task, he just wanted to scream an obscenity. We got into a conversation about how these types of occurrences are getting worse. Despite the propaganda from city hall. We talked about how NYC has come a long way and is still a great city but it can all fall quickly. This isn’t a political blog so I’ll stop here.
I washed my hands allowing me to perform my standard check of the facilities. Small, clean, everything placed properly to scrub for surgery and not re-contaminate on the way out.
My lunch arrives rather quickly looking all sorts of delicious. I pair a mystery house chardonnay with my meal. Every bite of the quiche is great although I’m tasting ham not bacon. I’m not disappointed the bits of ham, egg and cheese are perfect together. The flakey buttery cup holding it all together was tasty, much more than a mere vessel. I didn’t do my foodgasm face but it was close. I won’t rave over the steak tartare; it was a nice side dish to my quiche. I’m not a greens guy but I did eat my fresh greens drizzled with a little oil and chopped tomato bits, yummy, hydrating, healthy. I sat back satisfied, not stuffed and pleased thinking I should come back. The damage before the tip was $60. They do offer a soup/salad half sandwich lunch special for $17 so that and a Coke could be a nice option for those watching the budget.
Dress is casual, although I wouldn’t do gym shorts and flip-flops.
AMC Lincoln Square is a decent place to catch an afternoon movie. I’ve never experienced an over crowed rude mob scene during matinée hours. Screens and sound system are satisfactory but it’s time for a seat upgrade, no relaxing faux leather recliners here.
Ford vs Ferrari is a must see for gear heads, catch it theaters while you still can. The car action and racing scenes beg for a proper big screen. Speaking of big. Larger than life gear head icon Carrol Shelby gets almost super hero status in this film as portrayed by Matt Damon. Once again Christian Bale proves he is among the very best actors alive as he portrays Ken Miles. A real man like an Apollo astronaut, who is brilliant behind the wheel, doesn’t suffer fools but struggles to keep his family fed while doing what he excels at. Miles is married but this film is about the bromance between Shelby and Miles as they navigate the corporate grenades tossed their way by suits at Ford. To set up this epic battle some historical deviating was done, Lee Iacocca played by Jon Bernthal mostly just looks into the camera saying little. Tracy Letts plays Hank the Duce as demanding CEO tough guy who just may have a heart. This is a rousing old-fashioned Yankee feel good film played out on the greatest road racing stage in the world, Le Man France. Using very little CGI director James Mangold put drivers in cars, delivering visual excitement in a film shot like the good old days. With a good old-fashioned run time too, don’t worry it never feels like a two plus hour film.
I know it’s not Vanishing Point or Saving Private Ryan but something is coming off my top ten list to make room for Ford vs Ferrari.