We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Where's the Beef?”
Review of Cass House Restaurant - CLOSED

Cass House Restaurant
Price range: $68 - $68
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Description: The Cass House offers a locally sourced, seasonally inspired four course menu that changes nightly. Reservations are required.
Avila Beach
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Where's the Beef?”
Reviewed January 25, 2013

My husband and I had long been wanting to eat at the Cass House restaurant but we live fairly far away. Restaurant Month lured us there. In January in San Luis Obispo County, many high-end restaurants will offer a special three course meals for $30 throughout the month. In the case of the Cass House, they would only go down to three courses for $45, and then only on Sunday and Monday nights, but we saw our opportunity and leapt at it. The restaurant is in the living and dining rooms of a beautifully restored Victorian house which also rents out five bedrooms. The meals were described in elaborate detail and change every night. The service was impressive and the food delicious and adventuresome, but the quantities were laughable. The raison roll was literally the size of a walnut. Only two were served, along with two 1/4 inch slices of walnut bread. The courses were served on large white platters, but were about half a cup of food each at most. The Tarte Tatin was a three-inch round of pastry with maybe a quarter of a sliced apple on it accompanied by a tablespoon of bay leaf ice cream. At the end of the meal were were ready to go somewhere else and have dinner again, because we felt that we had only just had appetizers. And, mind you, these were discounted prices. Yet despite the ridiculously small quantities of food, the place was full on a Monday night. So you might want to come and check it out, but just don't bring your appetite.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank LoveTrippin2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cass_House, Owner at Cass House Restaurant, responded to this review, February 2, 2013
Hello Karen,
Thank you for joining us for dinner last month, and thank you for your review. My husband (who is the Chef) and I discussed your comments at length and we are both sorry that you did not leave feeling satiated. My husband takes great care in choosing each ingredient that goes on the menu (we grow a lot of our own produce and everything else comes from local farms, dairies, ranches, and fishermen), and he makes everything in house (including our salt & butter, breads, etc.), which is incredibly time consuming. For these reasons, we need to charge what we do in order to sustain our business ($68 for four courses) and uphold our values (we don't want people to come in for an hour and leave, we want people to sit and linger for 2-3 hours over a coursed dinner). We had considered not participating in restaurant month, but ultimately we thought it would be a nice gesture so we compromised (hence the price difference), although to be honest it is not a profitable experience for us at all. In order to minimize our losses, we were not able to offer beef or other specialty items (the beef we use is wagyu from a small ranch in northern California, it is very expensive). We never want our guests to leave feeling hungry, we are used to portioning each course with the intention of serving four, not three, courses and we usually include small courses in between (although for restaurant month we were only able to offer 2: a complimentary amuse bouche and petite fours after dinner). I guarantee that if you dined with us on a regular night you would leave feeling fully satiated.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

67 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Ojai, California
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Like a One Star Michelin Restaurant”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

I have eaten in 1,2 and 3 Star Michelin restaurants in France and Italy. The Cass restaurant, for what they serve and how they serve it, would come close to a 1 Star Michelin restaurant. Note: An actual 1 Star Michelin restaurant would have a much broader selection of food. I do not know if they have outdoor seating. I did not see a bar.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank OjaiJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Luis Obispo, California
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A cut above”
Reviewed November 15, 2012

The service makes you feel like royalty. The food is orgasmic. The history of the setting is fascinating.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Bethany L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Simeon
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Massive price, miniscule portions”
Reviewed October 8, 2012

For a potential of a four-course prix fixe menu, the reality was more of a tasting menu: four courses, plus an amuse-bouche, two palate cleansers, and optional cheese tray, and none more than a couple of forkfuls, some much less. I looked at the tiny coconut chocolate cake dessert and literally told myself, you've been ripped off. $127 for one person. And they don't take a Discover card? You've got to be kidding.

All right, there were some things that they did well: I had three servings of bread, and each was different. Each had salt on the side, so you could season each to taste. The food, although tiny, was tasty, providing some combinations of flavor and texture that were new to me, and pleasing. And the presentation was peerless, from the menu specially printed for the individual day to the smooth napkin enfolding the bread.

Not so great: the place looks like the Haunted Mansion, and the dining room lighting was set to match; it was literally too dark to actually examine the food. The single waiter (Ryan, though he never introduced himself) was dressed like a busboy, and, though knowledgeable, had one unfortunate characteristic: he called me "my good man." I don't know about you, but that strikes me as the British gentleman establishing his social superiority over the tradesman. I asked him to knock it off.

If you go, it should be for a very special occasion, but don't go hungry. But then, who the hell cares what I think?

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank SecretAgentX9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, United States
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A great treat”
Reviewed August 27, 2012

Great food, nice, relaxing atmosphere. Knowledgeable staff. Very accommodating to our vegetarian dining companion and our 8 month old baby. 4 course prix fixe

Visited August 2012
Thank Greg O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Cass House Restaurant also viewed

Cayucos, San Luis Obispo County
Cayucos, San Luis Obispo County
Cayucos, San Luis Obispo County
Cayucos, San Luis Obispo County
Cayucos, San Luis Obispo County
Cayucos, San Luis Obispo County

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing