Monday, July 2, 2012

Annisa is Still My Favorite Restaurant

I love Annisa for a lot of reasons. The dining room is the right balance of comfortable and elegant, the bar is great for downing one signature cocktail after the next (try the Nash), and on the menu, there is always something new to taste and something familiar to savor. But the best reason to love this place is safety in trying a completely new (to me) ingredient. I can almost guarantee that I will enjoy whatever this new thing is. But then, I'm spoiled by how great it is. For example, I tried my first soft shell crab here, and, thinking I really liked it, ordered at a few other restaurants before realizing I only really like Anita's soft shell crab. C'est la vie.

On our last visit I tried cooked calf liver for the first time (had an amazing raw version at Bozu two years ago, though). Annisa's, with bacon, sweet peas and maple blossoms, was fantastically prepared, with warm, hearty, tender meat practically melting into sweet peas and tangy onions. So comforting and yet so original.

Frog's legs. I have never tried frog's legs until a recent Annisa visit. They remind me of tiny chicken wings with funny, tiny bones, only super tender and delicate. The delicacy was offset by buttery lobster in buttery grits, at once a familiar Southern comfort and a decadent luxury. Those lobstery bites may well have been my favorite of the evening.

There were a few other new things for me, too. Fried calf brain came alongside medallions of veal, and after a few timid bites, I realize I really liked the soft, fragrant and meaty nuggets, if only I could forget what they were. And pig's feet, stuffed with sherry inside a whole pan roasted chicken.

And while we're on the topic of new fried food, I really liked the garlic fried milk that accompanies the Spanish mackerel. It wasn't at all what I expected. I assumed it would be more of a liquid than a savory, creamy beignet. Almost like a cheese puff.

I'm going back in the Fall. And I already can't wait!

13 Barrow St.


Ted Bourbeau said...

The variety in Annisa’s menu makes them standout. They serve mainly American dishes, but they have French and Asian twists. The service is impeccable as well. The restaurant is a wee bit small, but the ambiance totally makes up for that flaw. Annisa’s definitely one of the best in New York!

Daphne Michaels said...

Annisa’s definitely has a very eclectic menu. I agree with Ted in thinking that this is what makes the restaurant truly stand out. The dishes aren’t your typical meats and vegetables. It’s a totally different experience, probably even an adventure.

Lawrie Brinkerhoff said...

Oh wow, it seems that Annisa has a lot to offer! I’m particularly intrigued by the frog legs, as you don’t often see exotic foods being served. I think this vast range of food techniques is the reason why Annisa continues to attract customers. I hope you still feel the same about this restaurant, Lauren!

Lauren said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! Lawrie,totally agreed on Anita's advanced techniques preparing exotic ingredients. It certainly makes Annisa stand out. It frustrates me that the Times only gave the restaurant 2 stars when they seem to give 2-star ratings out like candy. It clearly deserves more recognition.