Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
Jef Fike is so focused on fresh food, his about-to-open Alki restaurant doesn’t even have a freezer.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 19th) is the official opening night for Cassis, a name already known to fans of fine food who mourned the end of its Capitol Hill edition a decade ago and cheered when news of an Alki rebirth broke last year.
As a pink sunset glow topped storm clouds off Alki a few hours ago, we stopped in by invitation for a few photos of the just-completed interior, and an opening-night-eve conversation with Fike (above).
For starters, Cassis will be open for dinner six nights a week, 4-10 pm – every night but Tuesdays. If there seems to be a market to stay open later, he might consider 11 pm. Happy hour will be 4-6 nightly, with its own menu. In April, Fike expects to add weekend brunch; then around June, he expects to be open all 7 days/nights, adding weekday lunch and Tuesday dinner.
Reservations will be accepted by phone and online, and the menu will change monthly, “to keep it interesting,” Fike says. Entrées on the first menu range from Calvados Braised Pork ($18) to Steak Frites ($24), with prices varying by night on the pasta du jour and a daily fish selection. First courses include deep-fried pancetta-stuffed olives ($8), Salade Frisée ($10), seven other options, and soup du jour. Six dessert possibilities ($6-$8) are on that menu, with flavors from apple to lemon to chocolate to black currant – and of course, creme brulee. West Seattleite Andy Dekle is Fike’s chef, as announced in December. As mentioned above, the emphasis is on fresh, with deliveries every day, nothing ever frozen, everything made in house, including those desserts (courtesy of an “amazing pastry chef”).
House wines are on tap, from Proletariat – two reds, two whites, and “a rosé in summer,” per Fike – with more than 20 others on the wine list, including sparkling wines; the cocktail menu offers location-apropos drink names such as the Alki 75 and Lost on the Beach.
Noticing the espresso machine behind the bar, we ask which roaster. Fonté, replies Fike, same as before.
Now a little more about the decor – it is by a designer that Fike says is a 4th-generation West Seattleite, Tom J. Harris of Solutions in Color.
Photos, paintings, even signs evoke a continental atmosphere, described by Fike as’60s to early’70s, with dark wood and creamy colors.
The space seats close to 50, open to all ages except, of course, for the bar area. The atmosphere even extends to the restrooms – a small, beautiful rectangular porcelain sink hugs the wall in the ladies’ room:
The space retains its high ceilings, though the dark paint keeps them from distracting you from the sights closer to eye level.
One question might be top of mind for past patrons of “Cassis 1.0,” as Fike refers to it at one point: What’s the biggest difference between that, and the new version?
Looking toward the all-windows front of the newly remodeled space, the restaurateur smiles, “The location, the view.”
Cassis (cass-SEESE) is in the former Alki Arts space at 2820 Alki SW, next to Cactus.