Restaurant News & Reviews

Dining Out: A morning with the captain

Few local restaurants offer an upscale dining experience plus a glimpse into history, but this is what you get at the Cass House Inn in Cayucos.

Built in 1867 by Capt. James Cass, the house has been restored and repurposed as an inn and restaurant. The ground floor dining room, decorated with Arts & Crafts-style furniture and William Morris fabrics, is endearingly traditional yet feels comfortable and luxurious. Historical photos show the home when the Cass family lived in it, and if the downstairs guest room is unoccupied, more than likely you can take a peek.

Innkeeper Traci Nickson began serving afternoon teas last year. Recently she started serving weekend breakfasts to the public; in a few months, she plans to open for dinner.

Nickson’s attention to detail is apparent. Crisp white linens on each table are topped with fresh cut roses in glass vases. Silverware sparkles, glasses gleam.

Breakfast offerings

The breakfast menu is straightforward with about a dozen items ranging from lamb chops with eggs to fresh fruit and yogurt.

Each breakfast is a hefty prix fixe $23, but entrees include coffee, fresh-squeezed juices of the day—make that a mimosa if you wish; it’s included— and a basket of fresh baked goods.

On my visit, the day’s juices were orange and grapefruit, and although I’m not a fan of grapefruit, I was intrigued. The juice looked pulpy and thick but apparently all the diners before me also thought it looked good as well because the kitchen ran out just before our table could order. Even so, the orange juice was a refreshing start to my Sunday morning.

A silver wire basket soon arrived with warm and flaky biscuits with a side of house-made peach jam. The biscuits were soft and fluffy. On their own they were a bit plain, but ladled with jam they were a perfect combination of sweet and salty.

Our entrees arrived quickly, but then again it was 9 a.m., and I’m told that things can become slower when it’s later in the morning. The smoked salmon hash was a delicious mound of diced sweet and Yukon Gold potatoes sautéed with capers, herbs and chunks of smoky salmon and topped with a poached egg. I drizzled Pepper Plant hot sauce over the top and enjoyed a spicy and smoky breakfast hash.

Stack of ’cakes

The raspberry corn pancakes arrived as a stack of petite golden rounds with mashed raspberries between each cake. Served with warm orange-maple syrup and a side of link sausage, the dish was classic comfort food yet refreshingly light.

The bread pudding french toast was slightly sweet and enhanced with a touch of cinnamon and then topped with chopped pecans and orange slices. Soft and eggy, the dish was not as rich or flavorful as I’d expected, although it looked very pretty. I guess I prefer a more traditional french toast with crispy edges.

My guests and I enjoyed the bluesy jazz playing in the background as we finished our breakfast. Before we left, the host gave us a brief tour of the historic home, a nice ending to our pleasant weekend breakfast.

Despite its price tag — not so steep when you add in the mimosas—breakfast at The Cass House is elegant and sophisticated, a nice change from the area’s typically loud and bustling breakfast spots.

Reach Dawn White at 781-7946.

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