Guess I will play devil’s advocate for Cassia.
Everyone in Santa Monica will eat there.
Santa Monica is home to extremely wealthy people with no concept of price. There is no difference in the original price of the pot au feu to Cassia;s regular customers as the current price. An $18 increase only matters to people that are driving in to eat there. In Santa Monica, people will pay anything to eat at a hip, sleek place with good food. These are people going to clubs and dropping multiple thousands of dollars on bottle service a couple of blocks away afterwards… it’s silly to think they would care about an $18 price increase, or anything like that.
Does it suck for everyone else? Sure.
But the real estate Cassia is sitting on must be absurdly expensive to rent out. Not sure how much you can blame them.
Prices are not really any better at Bestia. A plate of skirt steak costs $45 at Bestia, same portion costs probably $30 anywhere else. Cassia sells skirt/flank for $36; so Bestia is beating them in price level by $9.
Bestia’s prices also started out pretty high. A $22 Laksa at Cassia is about 2-3x the portion size of a pasta at Bestia, and they start at $20.
If the food isn’t good enough to justify paying for it, that’s one thing, but I don’t know if it’s fair to criticize Cassia for their prices alone. It seems more like people are just pissed off that they started low and increased prices?
Taco Maria used to be $42 with seemingly more variety, and now they’re $75, almost a 100% increase, no increase of courses, or dessert, or anything, and seemingly less variety, and no one seems to give a fuck.
I don’t know that Cassia is as great as it’s price level indicates, when in LA, I eat at Bestia every week… and Cassia rarely, but I think people should just come out and say the food sucks if it actually sucks. The economics of the place are going to force it into charging high prices. Maybe they should’ve just started high, but rapid price increases going along with adoption over the first year are not an uncommon tactic in the restaurant industry. I am not sure they should be singled out for that alone.
Finally, I am guessing Cassia has kind of transitioned into a space where it doesn’t matter what foodies/hounds think about them, clearly their core customer base is just wealthy Santa Monicans.
Whatever else it is about the place, I still don’t know where to get better Laksa, or a better pina colada for that matter shrugs
I would be super happy if the profits allowed Bryant Ng to resurrect the Spice Table as much as anyone else though. A small intimate spot with inventive food like that is still dearly missed for sure. I don’t think such a thing could open in SaMo though.