Annisa this week
Unfortunately I agree with you Eto. I was slightly underwhelmed by my experience with Annisa earlier this year as well. Perhaps my expectations were too high? I had the tasting menu as well.
The foie gras soup dumplings which get all the hype were merely OK for me. I had the exact same criticisms as you did - too hard and dry. There was virtually no liquid inside and I found the pouch shape made it awkard to eat in however man bites I was SUPPOSED to eat it in. The foie gras was excellent though.
This was followed up by a couple of good but not wonderful fish dishes which don't really stand out in my mind. However, the roasted loin of pork was really terrific with as good as sauce as I've ever had. This, in addition to the wonderful cheese plate (which, as you mentioned, was indeed high in both quality and quantity), and the superb service were the highlights of my meal.
I went to Annisa earlier in the year and had the tasting menu and was not very impressed. To me, the food was kind of drab, and during the meal, I couldn't tell if some of the items were poorly executed or haphazardly conceived. I should say first, that I'm very hard on haute Asian fusion, especially using Japanese ingredients and techniques, mostly because the flaws of those elements seem so obvious to me, and there were many with my meal at Annisa. The meal started out fine with a good amuse, and the first course was a trumpet mushroom trio, but only one of the trio was particularly interesting. The jicama/foie gras soup dumpling that everyone raves about seemed a little hard and dry to me (perhaps sitting out too long after being plated), but there wasn't much soup in there. I wanted to like this fusion, but it didn't wow me like I thought it would. First, it was a crescent shape -- just a round wonton skin folded in half and the edges pinched. Not the optimal shape for this kind of thing (and prone to getting dry). Shouldn't they make it more like a pouch (like a real xiao long bao)? I think the soup seeped out of mine as it steamed because there was not an ounce of liquid in there. The sable fish dish to me was one of those "huh?" dishes to me. Being intimately familiar with fish in soy/dashi broths, I was a bit perplexed by the combinations here. The sablefish (or gindara) was grilled and a fine specimen in itself. But the combination of the overly sweet (or poorly balanced) soy/mirin/dashi broth and then adding tobiko (flying fish roe) was completely unnecessary and added nothing to the dish, except some texture, which I imagine the chef was going after. Besides the fish being nicely grilled, the rest had my Japanese dining companion and I scratching our heads at that one.
I don't remember the rest of the meal very well at this point, but on a positive note, we had really great service from our waiter, and the cheese plate that came at the end of the meal was one really wonderful in terms of quality and quantity. I'll see if I can piece more together as I think about it. But I'm fairly lukewarm about Annisa.