“It’s sort of an unknown region in Southern France, very poor, with incredible food,” explained Henry Moynahan Rich, owner of neighborhood greats like East Williamsburg’s Fitzcarraldo and Rucola in Boerum Hill. He was talking about the inspiration behind Cassette, his new French Catalonian outpost in Greenpoint. “It’s simple, rustic, healthy food, because that’s how I like to eat.”
As with his other dining establishments, Henry’s mission here is to create an ol’ reliable– a neighborhood restaurant with quality food at reasonable prices in a casual but beautiful setting. The menu reflects a more European (i.e. not obese) emphasis on well-prepared but sensible servings of protein outweighed by hefty portions of vegetables. “It’s more sustainable and more affordable,” Henry said.
Cassette aims to be a place for an after-work drink, “breakfast meetings,” and mid-week lunches in addition to a dinner spot. “A lot of people work in this neighborhood,” said Henry, pointing to the Pencil Factory and other studio spaces close to Cassette’s Franklin Avenue location. “And a lot of people work from home in Greenpoint.” As such, the restaurant will open at 8 am and serve food until midnight– breakfast, lunch, dinner, and eventually brunch. Cassette is serving dinner only for the next two weeks, after which they’ll start breakfast and lunch service.
The prices are also in keeping with a “neighborhood” (i.e. affordable-ish) establishment. For dinner, appetizers range from $9 to $13, entrees from $16 to $22, salads from $11 to $12, small sides of vegetables for $4 to $7, and meats and cheeses between $6-$7. God bless the $4 High Life bottles and glasses of wine for as little as $8.
Cassette is pretty big by neighborhood standards, with capacity to seat 91 people plus a cordoned-off dining room, complete with chandelier and eventually a large, family-style table for private parties. The restaurant also has plans for outdoor seating.
Though Henry lives in South Brooklyn, he’s been coming to Franklin Street for years and has always loved it, he said. “There’s no Rucola of Greenpoint.” While the owner invoked his Boerum Hill restaurant multiple times, Cassette is not exactly Rucola II. “It’s much easier to do a rustic Italian restaurant,” he said. “People are really intimidated by French food.” The common misperception is that it’s complicated, butter-heavy and unhealthy. “That’s not what we’re doing here.”
Instead, Cassette emphasizes simple, locally sourced ingredients and healthy mostly-plant kind of fare. And like Rucola, it’s run according to a farm-to-table ethos. Henry said the menu will “rotate often,” and with the seasons. While he’s interested in serving healthy food (stuff you can eat a couple times a week even without risk of dying an early, flubbery death) the offerings are all about environmental sustainability too. “We won’t be serving a huge steak,” Henry said.
The wine list also reflects Cassette’s commitment to French Catalonian fare with a small, but solid selection of regional wines from Languedoc-Roussilon and Sud-Ouest, in addition to farther flung parts of France. If you’re familiar with Henry’s other spots, you know they’re serious about booze. The spirit list at Cassette is no exception, with over 100 bottle varieties– Henry described it as “intimidating,” and highlighted their emphasis on apertifs.
“Eventually we’ll have an apertif section on the menu,” he explained. “It’s a really common thing in France, Italy, and Spain– having a drink before the meal with a little bit of food, it’s like a nice pre-meal.” June Wine Bar, another one of Henry’s establishments, he explained, “has the same idea,” with a selection of over 50 Amaris. “They’re less expensive and they don’t get you completely wasted,” like say a cocktail would. As for a happy hour, Henry said, “We might roll that out.”
Click thumbnails below for full dinner and drinks menu.
Cassette is located at 113 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, call 347-682-411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Correction: a previous version of this article stated Cassette is located on Franklin Avenue, the restaurant is located on Franklin Street.