The boyfriend and I first noticed Casimir when we were walking around Avenue B in the East Village before dinner at Poco Restaurant. I remembered the name and Yelp searched them that night after I returned home. I was lured in by their $19 three course prix fixe that they advertised on their website. Sadly, the boyfriend and I found out that they’re no longer offering that prix fixe.
The boyfriend and I usually frequent one French restaurant but have been looking to branch out. French cuisine in general tends to be quite expensive so finding good French at our college student budget is hard. Casimir fits right into the bill because their entrees are so affordable, that a visit definitely won’t break the bank.
Casimir looks tiny on the outside, but after a candlelit dinner all the way in the back, we realized that there was actually a lot of space. We arrived around 6:00pm and were seated immediately. They were just starting for the night so there was plenty of room. By the time we left, however, there was a half full restaurant with 3 parties walking in when we walked out.
The first thing you notice after you’re seated is how dark the restaurant is. The lamps are very dim and your main source of light comes from the candle in the middle of your table. I understand the concept of romantic candlelit dinner, but Casimir could’ve benefited from a bit more light. I had to hold the menu less than 2 inches from my face in order to read it.
The boyfriend and I decided to share an appetizer – like we always do. Casimir offers Parisian Bites as appetizers, which can range from $4 to $9. We decided to go with the Escargot, since neither of us has had it in a while. Their Escargot is only $8, which I thought was a pretty good price. Our waitress brought our piping hot snails over with a new bucket of bread. She obviously knew that we would want to soak up the buttery sauce with bread! I thought the highlight of this dish wasn’t the escargot – it was the sauce that was left behind in the tray after we ate the snails. The sauce was buttery and oily and perfect for dipping!
For my entrée, I decided to go with their Monkfish Brochettes ($18) or Monkfish and vegetable skewers. The two skewers were served over a patch of rice. I have never had Monkfish but I heard it has the taste of lobsters. The texture is a bit close but I think the monkfish had it’s own distinct flavor. I loved the chunks of zucchini on the end of the skewers because they had grilled them – my favorite! The rice was quite tasty – seasoned with an abundance of herbs and not too dry. Again, I’d like to think it was a very reasonable price because Monkfish can get quite expensive.
The best deal of the night though, came from the boyfriend’s entrée of steamed mussels in white wine only cost $12 but they came in a large bowl. When I say large, I mean it was quite possibly bigger then the boyfriend’s head. When our waitress brought his dish over, our jaws dropped because we had not expected the bowl to be that big.
The mussels were so abundant in this bowl that the boyfriend had trouble finishing it. He had to eat quite a bit of mussel first in order to get down to the sauce, which was perfect for dipping. We wound up finishing our second bucket of bread by dipping it into the white wine sauce from the mussels. It was so good! You can really taste the white wine in the sauce! The boyfriend did eventually finish his mussels and I admit I did steal a couple of them. I know we’ll definitely be back for this dish because it was such a good deal!
We decided not to go for dessert because we were so full from all the bread dipping. We ended our night with a full tummy and a relatively happy wallet. The food was delicious and priced reasonably. The service was also superb! Our waitress was very attentive and checked up on us often. The busboys also kept our water glasses filled at all times. We never had an empty glass! The food came out in a very timely manner. I really enjoyed my meal at Casimir. 4/5 stars for this little French treasure.