Oh, I so wanted my first meal at The Cassidy Bar + Kitchen to be a date night with my wife. But like many of you, I have to be creative with my adulting. So instead, I slipped into one of Maplewood’s newest and most highly anticipated restaurants for a quick bite at the bar while waiting to pick my wife up at the train station and then fetch the kids from daycare.
Husband and wife team Tom and Jennifer Carlin are behind the new venture. Their Gladstone Tavern has garnered accolades since its inception. The couple has deep roots in Maplewood; Tom has lived in the village for over 30 years.
The Cassidy has a sweeping assortment of menu selections. When I sidled up to the bar, I was presented with both bar and supper menus. Think well-thought-out comfort foods (Maplewood grilled cheese, avocado and egg sandwich), a healthy dose of cheese and charcuterie platters, full dishes (crispy duck ramen, iron skillet chicken, a vegan quinoa stir fry), and slew of soups and salads.
The drinks menu also has a smart mix of cocktails, beers, and wines. I had the pleasure of watching the bartender assemble a “Maplewood” (Rittenhouse rye, Carpano Antica, sweet vermouth, maple syrup and black walnut bitters).
My drink of choice: a crisp, smooth Magnify Vine Shine beer, which is part of a healthy beer and cider menu.
I was very excited by the number of seafood options on the menu and decided that would be the subject of my gastronomical research for the evening. I ordered a sampling of crab cakes, oysters on the half shell and the snow crab claw cocktail. All were notable.
As a former resident of New Orleans, I was spoiled by the oyster options. And in the hushed early evening at The Cassidy, I had flashbacks of whiling away an hour or two in a quiet New Orleans joint while the tourists engaged in their amateur hour hijinx a few blocks away. The Cassidy is spacious, but it also provides an environment that allows diners to feel tucked in.
The snow crab was crisp and fresh. The crab cakes are well-complemented by the savory sides which include a mélange of vadouvan curry, cilantro almond pesto and orange.
The Cassidy also sports a dessert menu (including pumpkin cheesecake, figgy buns, and house-made mini ice cream sundaes) as well as a snappy “young people menu” for the 11 and under crowd. Think flatbread pizza, drumstick chicken, crispy monk fish bites as well as a burger and vegan quinoa stir-fry.
They’ve has just started serving lunch (Mondays – Fridays, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) and will soon roll out their brunch menu for the weekends. Reservations are recommended, as evenings have already become very busy.
And rightfully so.
The Cassidy Bar + Kitchen is located at 181 Maplewood Avenue. Visit their website for further details and reservations.