Anise is closing
I found Anise to be the very opposite of boring and unimaginative. The meals I had there changed the way I think about food. I am saddened by its closing. I will miss it.
Having said that, I take some comfort that, in contrast to Les Chevres, they are going out with a party rather than a train wreck.
I don't understand all the speculations of why Les Chevres and Anise have closed.For the most part I have always heard mixed reviews of both these restaurantas and the comments were never favourable.As well there are so many 20 seat restaurants, in these areas of the city that have killed real restaurants.In my mind it is not the lack of money for high end dining-it is the lack of effort to make great restaurants work,or the lack of imaginination.Anise was boring,Les Chervres was boring,and a pastry chef is a component of a restaurant,not the main focus.I understand the people are hardworking and deserve better,but buisiness is tough and doesn't mean instant sucess,because the food critics rave about you.Its the public that should like you?
Link to an article in today's La Presse:
Anise and Les Chèvres. Two of the city's most innovative restaurants, both of them outside the downtown-Plateau nexus, gone in the last two months. I'll especially miss Anise's unique ability to envelop and transport diners, to suspend time. What a pity to lose that magical combination of food, decor and service.
Anise is dead, long live Anise! I remember fondly the one time I went.
This is indeed sad news, but not a tragedy IMO. (let me explain before the flaming starts)
I would much rather see Anise bow out in style and have Racha and the people she trained rise form the ashes in a new incarnation rahter than try to cling on to business and burn themselves out or simply live off their reputation.
Montreal is a fickle city, we are always looking for somthing new and different, especially people like me, who can only afford high-end on exceptional or on someone else's dime (Hello corporate functions!).
Ask yourself the question honestly, if you can really only afford a 300$ supper 1 to 4 times a year, would you rather go back to somewhere you have already tried or something new and recommended? I have to admit I will most always want to try a new place.
Also, food and the customer base may are not the only factor to consider here. As is mentionned Anise is 5 years old, this means the decor probably needs refreshing, (I have not been in almost 2 years) the lease may be up, key kitchen personnel may want to explore opening their own restaurants etc. Racha herself might want to explore new avenues or take a sabbatical.
All this to remind everyone that restaurant opening and closings is a normal cycle and that fine dining is not disapearing in the city, just look at Brunoise opening their Brasserie next to the Bell Centere on Feb 2nd or Jolifou's recent expansion.