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A Wonderful Bit of Paris in L.A.: Anisette Brasserie (Dinner, Brunch & Breakfast) [Review] w/ Pics!

(Formatted with All Pictures here:
http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/06...

)

Thanks to Chowhound threads started by Mateo R and foodiemahoodie, I learned about the opening of Anisette Brasserie in Santa Monica, the newest restaurant from former Bastide chef, Alain Giraud. Anisette just finished up a soft opening phase, and this past weekend was their first full weekend serving and debuting the Brunch Menu. And tonight (Monday, June 16, 2008) was their first night showcasing their much-awaited Dinner Menu.

A brasserie is usually an informal restaurant that can serve breakfast, lunch and/or dinner in a relaxed atmosphere, and that's exactly what Chef Alain Giraud and his business partners have created with Anisette.

Anisette occupies a gorgeous space, with warm décor, near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica: Wood paneling, large mirrors and a classic brasserie look to it all, including a stylish long bar made completely of poured zinc(!) by Atelier Nectoux from Paris. On one end of the zinc bar, they display the fresh seafood for the day.

On our three visits, the hostesses were always charming and professional, reflective of the rest of the service staff each time.

DINNER
Anisette's debut Dinner Menu did not disappoint, offering a beautiful and intricate selection of dishes. The entire menu looked enticing, but especially their Daily Specials portion. Currently they are listing the classic Cote de Boeuf for Two for Monday, Vol Au Vent Financiere (a dish made of Sweetbread stuffed in a house-made Pastry) for Tuesday, Duck a L'Orange for Wednesday, Blanquette de Veau Printaniere (a Veal Shoulder and Veal Short Ribs dish) for Thursday, Bourride de Lotte Setoise (a long-stewed Monkfish dish which the waitress said was amazing) for Friday, Gigot D'Agneau Flageolets (Rotisserie, Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb) for Saturday, and Homard Thermidor (Lobster Thermidor) for Sunday.

Besides their Daily Specials, the rest of their Dinner Menu offered up some standards and some dearly-missed French Classics, such as Onion Soup served with Cave-Aged Gruyere, Roasted Sweetbread "Jardiniere," Moules Frites, Duck Confit, some wonderful looking "Plates for Two" such as the Daurade Royale (a whole cooked Fish with Tomato Fennel and Lemon Confit) and a Rack of Lamb with a decadent-sounding Gratin Dauphinois. They also offered up fresh Seafood from their Oyster Bar, Plateaux de Fruits de Mer made up of various combinations of fresh Lobster, Shrimp, Oysters, Crab Legs, Clams, and Mussels (more on this later).

Anisette offers up an extensive Wine List, with a nice variety of Reds, Whites, Champagne and Sparkling Wines by the Glass. They also have a nice selection of bottles under $100, and a plenty over that mark. In addition they had a very extensive Specialty Cocktails section, so I opted to try a few. :)

I started with a L'Anisette, made of fresh muddled Mint, Lime, mixed with Anisette Liquor and Belvedere Vodka with a splash of vanilla bean simple syrup.

It had a nice bite to the drink, and the Anisette Liquor was standout, unfortunately there was probably a bit too much Vodka for my tastes, but it was a decent starter.

The first dish was the Provencal Fish Soup with Saffron Pearl Pasta and Rouille. The soup bowl was brought out first, with the slices of Toast, Saffron Pearl Pasta and other dry ingredients, and the Provencal Fish Soup was poured on top. It was a wonderful, extremely complex soup, really showcasing the essence of the fish, and the Rouille and Saffron Pearl Pasta added a nice touch. It was a tad salty for my tastes, but when eaten with some of the fresh Bread they provided, it was wonderful.

Their Foie Gras Sauteed, with Date Chutney on a fresh, house-made Brioche Toast was truly divine! Chef Giraud and his staff perfectly seared the Foie Gras, with a nice exterior, and the inside was perfect as well: soft, buttery, so amazingly good, especially with their house-made Brioche. It's the best version of a French-style Foie Gras preparation I've ever had in L.A.

Another dish that I was excited about trying was their Beef Tartar, made with freshly chopped Hanger Steak, topped with a fresh, organic Egg Yolk and served with Country Bread Toast. The presentation was very nice and simple, and after a bite, it was like being back in Paris again! The finely chopped Cornichons, Capers, Shallots, and the Worcestershire Sauce all were perfect complements to the freshly chopped Steak and the organic Egg Yolk. It was top-notch, and exceeded the one I had at Comme Ca. It reminded me very much of my favorite version of this dish on my last trip to Paris in February. Delicious!

I have a weakness for Duck Confit, and was anxiously awaiting this dish. Anisette's Duck Confit is served with Potatoes Lyonnaises, fresh Seasonal Vegetables (from the local Farmer's Market), and a Pommery Mustard Sauce. The Duck Confit arrived and looked amazing already. I took a bite, and it was wonderful. The Duck meat was tender with a nice crisped outer skin, but it was a little salty at times, but only just a tad bit so. It was still very good.

But the show stopper would have to be the Potatoes Lyonnaises, a classic French dish of slices of Potato and Onions baked like a pie (which is what the Duck Confit was sitting on top of). It looks so simple and plain, but Anisette's version is truly *stellar*! It's so wonderfully rustic and simple, but so soul-warming and delicious! It paired perfectly with the saltier Duck Confit, and when combined with the fresh Baby Carrots, the whole dish tasted just right! (I could eat the Potatoes all night and be happy! :). Overall, I enjoyed the Duck Confit more than Comme Ca's version, and while it fell short of my favorite place in Paris, it exceeded all the others that I've had there.

I tried out another cocktail at this point, their Belharra, made of muddled Cucumber, Agave Nectar, with St. Germain Elderflower Liquor. Unfortunately, like the L'Anisette cocktail earlier, there was just too much alcohol for my tastes, and not enough of the other fresh ingredients. It was decent, but I would've liked to taste more of the fresh Cucumber.

Next up was the Provencal Beef Daube (Beef Cheeks), served with Glazed Root Vegetables and Pommes Puree. Chef Giraud uses Australian Kobe Beef for this dish and it was obvious from the very first bite: Beautifully tender and delicate, maintaining the inherent taste and texture of Beef, but in such a unique way different from a heavily marbled piece of A5 Wagyu Beef, for example. The Red Wine reduction was outstanding, and really elevated the Beef Daube. And this is another example of where Chef Giraud's usage of only fresh vegetables from the neighboring Farmer's Market makes a real difference: The fresh Peas and Beans were wonderful, sweet and so vibrantly fresh, that whenever you bit into some of the Kobe Beef Daube with the fresh Peas, it only elevated the dish even higher. Outside of Urasawa's A5 Wagyu, this has become my new favorite Beef dish! (^_^)

The Farmer's Market Vegetables "En Papillote" (baked in Parchment Paper) came next. This is the classic cooking technique of cooking various ingredients in Parchment, and the dish arrived in a beautiful, striking, pillow-like shape. Our server cut it open to let out the steam, and immediately the aroma of fresh vegetables came pouring through. These were all fresh vegetables from the local Farmer's Market, and was served with a delightful Sauce Mousseline, made of Clarified Butter emulsified and lightened up with Fresh Cream. It was a wonderful dish and a nice pairing with any of the entrees throughout the night.

Their Black Cod Mediterranean is served with Piquillo Peppers, Clams, and Chorizo, and at first I was worried that it might be a boring "throwaway" dish to offer something lighter on the menu. When it arrived, I could see a nicely seared piece of Black Cod, but I was worried it might be dried out. One bite and all my worries were allayed: The Black Cod was perfectly prepared, with the crispy, tasty outer skin, belying the super-moist, buttery goodness inherent in the Black Cod. The Black Cod seemed like it could use a little bit of salt (but I actually liked it that way), but when combined with a bit of the sauce - rich and salty from the Chorizo - it was perfect! Further, when combined with a piece of the Chorizo and the whole dish became even more savory, salty and zesty (but a bit too salty for my tastes). In essence, this was a really interesting way to allow the eater to control how much salt they wanted with the Black Cod: By itself (nice and light), with a bit of the sauce and clams (a little bit saltier than by itself, and perfect), or with the Chorizo (even saltier and zestier). A word of warning that the Black Cod has bones in it (not too many), so those that don't like to fuss with fish bones, should be wary. But overall, it was very enjoyable.

Anisette offers up a nice Dessert Menu, with classics like Profiteroles, Chocolate Mousse, and Foret Noire (Black Forest Cake). According to the server, Pastry Chef Mehdi Boudiab's signature dish is the Vacherin Glace, made of Lavender Ice Cream, Raspberry Puree, fresh Strawberries, Chantilly Cream and Meringue Peaks, so I had to try that out. :) The Vacherin Glace arrived and was stunningly beautiful as you can see in these pics. It tasted just as good as it looked, with the Meringue Peaks providing a nice foil to the creamy goodness of the Lavender Ice Cream and fresh Strawberries. I'm not a dessert person, but this was very good.

BREAKFAST
For Breakfast, Anisette offers up three preset “International Breakfast” choices, from FRENCH (Coffee or Hot Chocolate, Fresh-Squeezed Fruit Juice, Corbeille of Breakfast Pastries, Jams and Marmalade) to ENGLISH (Coffee or Tea, Two Eggs Any Style, English Bacon, Sausage, Grilled Tomatoes, Fried Bread, Black Pudding, Mushrooms), to AMERICAN (Coffee, Two Eggs Any Style, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Hash Browns, Breakfast Sausages, Pancakes), as well as a pastry basket LA CORBEILLE (A Selection of Freshly-Baked Breakfast Pastries, Vanilla Butter, Jams, and Marmalade). However, their “Specialities” portion of the menu truly shines, from a Smoked Salmon Plate (with Michel Blanchet Salmon, Brioche, Lemon Cream Cheese), to freshly-made Crepes to a variety of egg dishes. One thing to note is that Anisette only uses Organic, Hormone-Free Eggs.

During our first visit for breakfast, our server mentioned that they had a special pastry, not on the menu, an Almond Croissant. He went on to explain that if the Pastry Chef had extra time, he would try to make a special pastry for the day, and on that Sunday it was the Almond Croissant. I had to order it to see how their freshly-made pastries were (there’s just something heart-warming and delightful about freshly-baked / homemade pastries :). The Almond Croissant arrived and it already looked amazing! Taking a bite and it was easy to see that Anisette was well on its way to being a wonderful Breakfast & Brunch destination: Delightfully *fresh* and flaky, yet at the same time, moist and decadent, without being too oily or heavy. The Almond Croissants (and all their pastries) are made from Normandy Butter, and the fresh Almond Paste, slices of Almond and Powdered Sugar all combined for the best Almond Croissant I’ve ever had.

I also had their Japanese Cherry Tea, a loose leaf blend of Japanese Green Tea, Rose Petals and Essence of Cherry. It was very fragrant and yet still maintaining the foundation of the Green Tea. On another visit I tried their refreshing Amore Tea, a flower bouquet of organic White Tea infused with Wild Roses, Organic Peppermint, and Seasonal Botanicals. All-in-all, they have seven different types of Teas to choose from, in addition to variety of choices for Drip Coffee, French Press, Espresso and Mocha.

Their Anisette Omelet was made up of Organic Eggs, Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Goat Cheese Feta, Spinach and Wild Arugula, with the vegetables all sourced from the local Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. It was visually stunning, and had a taste to match, with the slightly spicy and bitter Arugula working well with the Goat Cheese and other ingredients, all complemented by the eggs.

We also ordered the Belgian Waffles, which turned out to be a beautiful presentation in decadence: Four slices of Belgian Waffle, with fresh Bananas, topped with Dulce de Leche and fresh Blackberries, Blueberries and Raspberries, and all served with a side of Nutella, Maple Syrup and Crème Fraiche! Chef Alain Giraud stopped by and thanked us, and in our conversation, he said that he wanted to make “the most decadent Belgian Waffles” he could, and joked that maybe next time, he’ll top it with some Foie Gras. :)

BRUNCH
For their new Brunch Menu, they included some of the items from their Breakfast Menu, such as their Anisette Omelet and La Corbeille freshly-made Pastry Basket, Organic Yoghurt with Granola and Fresh Berries, etc., and added some wonderful new dishes such as the Petit Beef Filet, with Fried Organic Eggs, and bringing in Entrees from their Lunch Menu like their Brasserie Burger (with Pancetta, Brie, Avocado and French Fries), Croque Monsieur (or Madame), Poached Scottish Organic Salmon with Sauce Mousseline amongst a great new Appetizers.

We started with the Michel Blanchet Smoked Salmon, served with their fresh Brioche and Lemon Cream Cheese. In general, Smoked Salmon can be too salty or smoky at times, but the Michel Blanchet Smoked Salmon lived up to its reputation: Wonderfully tender, rich, yet light, a delicate smokiness that never owerpowered the Salmon itself, followed by this beautiful savory and sweet taste. It was complemented perfectly by the fresh-made Brioche, and their house-made Lemon Cream Cheese with hints of fresh-chopped chives was beautiful as well!

Their Warm Goat Cheese with Beets in a Hazelnut Dressing was another hit (depending on your love for Goat Cheese, of course :). The Goat Cheese is served slightly warm on top of a salad of fresh (locally sourced) Beets and Arugula. The Goat Cheese was beautiful, having been warmed up, and combined nicely with the slightly bitter and herbal flavors from the Arugula and the sweetness of the Beets, and it was all matched perfectly by the fresh nuttiness of the Hazelnut Dressing.

The Feuillete of Scrambled Eggs with White Crab Claw Meat arrived next. Made with another of their freshly baked, house-made pastries, the Feuillete is like a rectangular puff pastry, Anisette serves it with the center stuffed with Scrambled Eggs and topped with a generous portion of White Crab Claw Meat. I took a bite and literally had to shut down all my other brain activity: This was *amazing*! The fresh Scrambled Eggs, the light sweetness and freshness of the Crab Meat, combined with the mind-blowing fluffy, buttery, and airy goodness of the Feuillete Pastry has made it my new favorite Breakfast dish! (After freshly-cooked Bacon, of course (^_~).)

Next we tried their humorously named Eggs In Purgatory, made of Poached Eggs, Tomato, and Bacon Brioche, topped with a fresh Tomato Sauce. One look at the dish and we had to smile; it was easy to see why Chef Giraud named it so. The Eggs were perfectly poached, with a nice cooked-liquid yolk, and the outside still very tender and moist. The yolk, fresh Tomato Sauce and Bacon Brioche were well matched and delicious. This dish has to be eaten quickly, or else the Brioche will start to get soggy quickly.

We also tried some items from their Oyster Bar, ordering up some Malpeque and Kumamoto Oysters, along with Carlsbad Mussels and their Shrimp. It was served with four sauces: Mignonette, Cocktail, Marie Rose, and Tartare. Their Marie Rose is a house-made variation of the classic, using Spanish Saffron in addition to the Mayonnaise, Ketchup, and Lemon Juice. The Kumamoto and Malpeque Oysters were extremely fresh and wonderful. Their Shrimp was well done, but I felt it was a little overcooked. My companions thought they were perfect as is. Lastly, the Carlsbad Mussels were the only disappointment from the batch: They were decent, but lacked the amazing sweetness that can be found on the Grand Plateau at Comme Ca, for instance.

For its first “official,” full weekend in operation, Anisette’s service was excellent, with multiple servers taking care of us and being constantly attentive to our needs. When served my Tea, the server brought it out and recommended to let it steep for about four minutes. Four minutes later, he appeared and poured the Tea for me. From that point on, whenever our cups were near empty, a server would appear and refill our cups for us, without once having to ask for any service. Besides Chef Alain Giraud, we also had the Manager, and two other servers checking in our meal and making sure everything was good; a little surprising to see, where most restaurants in L.A. seem to not care or are too busy to take in customers’ feedback.

During our second visit (this past weekend for the debut of their Brunch Menu), they were completely packed, and the service had some slight hiccups (e.g., our appetizers and main courses came out, all at once, flooding our table).

But for the first night serving Dinner tonight, the service was again, impeccable, with waitstaff captain, Yannick Cueff, providing outstanding service for a brasserie, along with my regular waitress. Every dish was served and paced correctly, and they were always making sure my glass was full (whether for tea or bottled water, etc.). They were very accommodating in every way.

Of course, having just opened they have some growing pains, so we’ll see how the service stabilizes (I’m hoping more towards the first visit’s and tonight's dinner service instead of the second visit :).

Anisette Brasserie is one of the few restaurants in L.A. offering Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner that excels in each of those categories: From a wonderful, light Breakfast Menu, to enjoying a weekend Brunch with some stunning dishes, to the great Dinner Menu, filled with wonderfully-executed, classic French dishes, Anisette excels.

Speaking with Chef Alain Giraud after dinner tonight, he's always wanted to open a brasserie, even back in the days of Bastide. He's wanted a way to bring the classic French food he's grown up with to a new audience and create a place where it's immediately clear to the customer what kind of restaurant it is from the moment you walk in: a classic French brasserie. Every visit to Anisette Brasserie has consistently been wonderful. With the Pacific Ocean just a couple blocks away, and beautiful decor that's down-to-earth and very "Paris," Anisette is a wonderful destination for any time of the day. Anisette Brasserie has delivered a wonderful bit of Paris to L.A., providing great French food, without any of the fuss. Highly recommended.

*** Rating: 9.1 (out of 10.0) ***

Anisette Brasserie
225 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 395-3200

Hours: Sun - Thurs, 8:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Fri - Sat, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. (last seating at 11:30 p.m.)
(Hours subject to change.)

http://www.anisettebrasserie.com/

-----
Anisette Brasserie
225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

 
 
 
 
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  1. More pics attached. (The rest of the pics can be found in the link in the Original Post. Thanks!)

     
     
     
    1. NICE exile! anisette looks stellar, and i'd been waiting in anticipation since late last year. i am so there.

      4 Replies
      1. re: rameniac

        Thanks rameniac. Let me know how you enjoy it.

        Oh! They have a home-made Fresh Noodles Side Dish (the server said it was freshly made noodles tossed with some garlic, butter and something else). It's not Ramen, but I figured Rameniac-sama might want to try it (I'll be trying it next time I go :).

        1. re: exilekiss

          I had the noodles - they were wonderful. It's an english noodle, btw.

          1. re: yogachik

            Hi yogachik,

            Thanks for the info! :) Now I definitely have to order it next time.

            1. re: exilekiss

              No garlic, but tons of butter with the noodles.

      2. you said it all, exilekiss.

        went last night for dinner and found it a more than welcome addition to the 'hood. there's plenty there to enjoy and the ambience (think balthazar/pastis) is a real plus.

        they were surprisingly organized for an opening night. hangar steak was decent but the bearnaise was great. Great fish soup, potato lyonnaisse, butter lettuce sald. Agree that the foie gras is one of the best around.

        My only hope is that they expand their smaller plates, specials, keeping things interesting.

        2 Replies
        1. re: epop

          Also went last night and had the steak frittes, but ordered both bearnaise and poivre (couldn't decide), started with the butter lettuce. I was in heaven. And Chef Alain himself came over to see how things were! Service is stellar, indeed. I absolutely love it there, and can't wait for the late night menu (11PM), which I haven't yet seen.

          Now, about the desserts. We had the chocolate mousse, the apple tart, the profiteroles and the cherry chocolate cake (our waiter said it's his favorite). None of us are dessert eaters, but we went for it, and there wasn't a morsel left on any plate. The chocolate mousse was my favorite, light but with a rich, dark, flavor. But the apple tart is to die for, perfect balance of sweet and tart. My friend loved the cherry chocolate cake, but I found the bourbon a little overwhelming - he said it's the best he's ever had.

          I'm so thrilled to have this in our neighborhood. As my mother kept saying, she's so happy there, the room makes her happy. It's so beautiful, and just like in Paris, you get to know your neighbors. I can't think of the last restaurant I went to where everyone is looking at what everyone else is being served. The food is the star, here.

          Outstanding job by Tommy, Mike, Alain, Keith, and all the staff who have given us a restaurant that will create memories.

          1. re: epop

            Hi epop,

            Thanks. I'm glad you really enjoyed it as well!

            Totally agreed that Anisette was very organized for their Opening Night: I think their Soft Opening strategy worked very well to straighten anything out.

            Like you, I hope they keep expanding their menu, but I still have to go back and try the other dishes I missed this time around, first. (^_~)

          2. Exile,
            Your posts/reviews with pictures are always excruciatingly decadant and so well written. The restaurants you review should be paying you, or at least comp your next meal. I always feel as if I have eaten along with you. THANK YOU!!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: JEN10

              Thanks Jen. :) Hope you get a chance to visit Anisette soon.

            2. WOW! I wanna go!

              1. Fantastic report! I have missed the lavender ice cream dessert so much since Alain left Bastide. So glad to know it's served here at Anisette. Do you know if it's available all day or at dinner only?

                3 Replies
                1. re: fdb

                  Hi fdb,

                  They serve their Dessert Menu for Lunch and Dinner during the Weekdays (Mon - Fri). For Sat - Sun, they will have their Dessert Menu available during Brunch and Dinner.

                  Enjoy! :)

                  1. re: exilekiss

                    Thanks exilekiss. I couldn't stopping thinking of those lavender ice cream so I actually grabbed a friend and dropped in today for lunch. And guess what I had for dessert? Yes, it is as amazing as in good old Bastide. It's still my all time favorite dessert!

                    Btw, for our main meal my friend and I also shared some oysters, the smoked salmon with brioche, the Provencal Fish Soup, and Beef Daub. Everything was delicious except that the soup and the beef dish weren't hot enough when they were brought to our table. It was really busy from 12 to 2 today so perhaps the dishes sat too long at the upstairs counter before they were served. Next time I would try not go at peak hours.

                    1. re: fdb

                      Hey fdb,

                      I never had the Lavender Ice Cream at Bastide; great to hear it's just as good as before. :)

                2. Sounds amazing! Thanks for the rather comprehensive review. Can you give us a sense of the pricing? How expensive is it?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Nicole

                    Hi Nicole,

                    Ack! I knew I forgot something (^_^;;. I've appended my Review on my Blog with prices (I wish CH would allow us to edit our posts at any time (after X# of minutes, I can't "edit" any more). Here's the prices:

                    Breakfast ranges in price from $5.75 - $15 for most dishes. Brunch from $9 - $26.50. Dinner menu prices: Appetizers from $11 - $19.50, Entrees from $18 - $32, Plates for Two from $30 - $60, Items from the fresh Oyster Bar from $6 - $95 (which is their Royal Plateaux de Fruits de Mer (1 Poached Lobster, 8 Jumbo Shrimp, 16 Oysters, Crab Legs, 8 Clams, 8 Carlsbad Mussels).

                    1. re: exilekiss

                      Thanks so much for this additional info!

                  2. Do they take reservations?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Diana

                      Hi Diana,

                      Yes, they take Reservations now. I hope you enjoy your visit!

                    2. Prices for each meal???

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jack Flash

                        Lunch entrees are in the teens, dinner entrees are in the $20s. Daily duo special is about $30/person and meant to be split (last night's was a 34 oz steak), breakfast about $10ish. Fruits des Mer is from $30 to $75. Apps are about $12 each, drinks and dessert, too.

                        Yes they take reservations.

                      2. It just opened its doors! I hope that finally, Los Angeles will have an authentic French Brasserie. I am holding my judgment and holding my breath until more news comes out, or I can go there personally in the next few weeks when it has settled down and is up to speed. I am excited, although if it is swayed by the California beach set and winds up to be another American watered down version of the real thing, my excitement will wane quickly. We have Alain Giraud at the helm, and he should certainly know what is expected of a true Alsatian Brasserie however, partners and beach people can have a defining influence to swing it in another direction.
                        http://restaurantdiningcritiques.com

                        1. I've appended my original review (on my Blog) with the Prices - apologies for leaving that out (I was writing so much I knew I forgot something :). Here's the Pricing appended to the main thread as well:

                          Breakfast ranges in price from $5.75 - $15 for most dishes. Brunch from $9 - $26.50. Dinner menu prices: Appetizers from $11 - $19.50, Entrees from $18 - $32, Plates for Two from $30 - $60, Items from the fresh Oyster Bar from $6 - $95 (which is their Royal Plateaux de Fruits de Mer (1 Poached Lobster, 8 Jumbo Shrimp, 16 Oysters, Crab Legs, 8 Clams, 8 Carlsbad Mussels).

                          1. ooooo now open for dinner.. fantastic.. thanks for the report and i just booked a table for this coming saturday for dinner... cant wait

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Perceptor

                              Hey Perceptor,

                              Can't wait for your beautiful pics again. It's a great place. :)

                            2. All I can say is...wow. I had lunch here today and have already planned breakfast and dinner there tomorrow. My dining companion and I shared the house pate, onion soup, burger and croque madame. We took home some pain au chocolat and a cream-filled raisin bread for later. Everything was wonderful. This is such a fantastic addition to the neighborhood.

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: hrhboo

                                I can't wait to try the croissants and other pastries - everything is made with French butter!

                                1. re: hrhboo

                                  Hey hrhboo,

                                  They had a cream-filled raisin bread pastry?! Sweet! :) Is it like an Eclair, or? Report back on how it turns out if you can.

                                  I still want to try their Croque Monsieur and Madame as well. :)

                                  1. re: hrhboo

                                    Sounds like my experience was anamolous as my croque madame was good, but not amazing by any stretch (with the bread being undercooked and soggy while the egg was overcooked). The one I had at Comme Ca recently was definitely better. Will have to try again based on your review!

                                    1. re: mollyomormon

                                      The one I had today was cooked perfectly. The bread was moist but not at all soggy, the bechamel beautifully browned on top and the egg fried with a lovely runny yolk. I think the burger is now my favorite in LA - very flavorful meat, crispy pancetta and oozing with brie and avocado.

                                      Exilekiss, the raisin bread is rolled in a spiral like a cinnamon roll and is very custardy in the center. Our waitress said that it was cream-filled but it's definitely custard.

                                      1. re: hrhboo

                                        I *love* custard-filled pastries as well! (^_^) Thanks for the report. I'll definitely have to try it next time.

                                        And good to hear about the Brasserie Burger. Great to hear that the other items on the menu are just as delicious.

                                        1. re: hrhboo

                                          I'm absolutely certain the burger is my new favorite in LA -- such a great marriage of juicy beef, pancetta, brie and avocado on a brioche bun!

                                          The restaurant itself is just lovely. I imagine it will be cozy and welcoming in winter, but for the summer I'm looking forward to spending a lot of late afternoons working my way through the snack menu with a pastis. Actually, I'd be happy to move in and have all my meals there!

                                          1. re: whatsfordinner

                                            fter trying the burger a second time, I'm certain it's my new favorite too!

                                            I've now eaten at Anisette 4 times in the past week. Every single dish I've tried has been spectacular. I can't stop thinking about the place and wondering who I can bully into going there with me next.

                                            What is on the mid-afternoon menu? Our server mentioned that it is mostly light snacks but I didn't get a chance to look at it.

                                            1. re: hrhboo

                                              The snack menu hasn't come out yet. Our server thought it might come out this week. He said it would be lighter and uncomplicated fare to tide us over between lunch and dinner while the kitchen preps the dinner menu.

                                              1. re: hrhboo

                                                What's your recommendation for a Friday meal (with my wife and 4 month old); breakfast or lunch?

                                                I'm guessing breakfast since it probably won't be as crowded, but the lunch menu sounds more fun.

                                                1. re: vinosnob

                                                  I think lunch would be a better option for first-timer. Both menus are great but some of the nicer breakfast options are still served during lunch, such as the lovely farmer's market omelette.

                                                  1. re: hrhboo

                                                    Thanks! Lunch it is...

                                                    1. re: vinosnob

                                                      Went this past Friday for brunch. Beautiful room and killer zinc bar with quite a selection of absinthe.

                                                      My wife ordered the anisette omelet and it did not disappoint. Perfectly cooked soft eggs in a round form mixed with farm fresh veges and tart chevre with greens on top. Delicious!

                                                      I had the savory croissant which was filled with scrambled eggs, turkey, gruyere and tomatoes. Also very good.

                                                      For pastries, we ordered pain au choclate and the raisin; both were stunning!

                                                      I'm looking forward to trying the dinner menu and raw bar.

                                                2. re: hrhboo

                                                  I do know that they hope to be a home to those who want to come in the afternoon with a book, and enjoy.

                                                  1. re: hrhboo

                                                    :drools:

                                                    OK, after you and whatsfordinner's comments, I'll have to visit just to try their burger. :) Thanks for the yummy report!

                                          2. fantastic review!!

                                            1. so glad u checked this out...great review!!...im psyched to try it as i am / was a huge fan of bastide

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Lau

                                                Thanks Lau, wilafur. :)

                                                Lau, please report back if you visit Anisette soon. Love to hear your thoughts when you visit new restaurants around L.A. :)

                                              2. I'm so excited! My husband told me I'd been talking about Anisette so much, he went ahead and made a reservation a month ahead for my birthday dinner! (well, a few days before, since my birthdya is on a MONDAY :( )

                                                7:30, Friday the 18th, I will be there! So excited! I wish they'd post the menus online already!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Diana

                                                  Nice, Diana! Hope you have fun! :)

                                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                                    I'm sure I will! It gives them enough time to get into the rhythm of dinner.

                                                2. how bad is it trying to get a res? im coming home in a week and this is one place i want to hit, but I'm not sure what my schedule is like yet

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                    Hi Lau,

                                                    Sorry for the delay (I only returned & got a reservation this weekend). I was able to get a reservation for our table (6) for dinner with only 2 days notice. Of course this may vary depending on the circumstances of the particular day you were going.

                                                    Please report back if you do end up going. :)

                                                  2. Anisette 6/21/08

                                                    No time to go into all of the details, but this past Saturday night's meal was a real disappointment.

                                                    This was our 5th meal there in two weeks, and we really wanted it to be speciaI. We were just so looking forward to something a bit more together.

                                                    Sweetbreads - Fairly small portion & over salted
                                                    Onion Soup - A bit under powered
                                                    Warm Goat Cheese Beet Salad - really the biggest offender. The "SLAB" of goat cheese could not have been colder or more rubbery. More like a piece of feta.
                                                    Cod - descent at best.

                                                    Service was really a mess. 40 minutes to get our 1st cocktail at the table because the "bar was backed up". Actually they weren't even two deep at the time.

                                                    I know it's only their 2nd week and I'm not laying final judgment until further down the road. I have all the confidence that the chef and his staff will be able to turn it around in the near future.

                                                    Hopefully in time.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                                      How were the other 4 meals?

                                                      1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                                        Sorry to hear WileysHungryAgain.

                                                        You basically went during their first full Dinner Weekend (they debuted their Dinner Menu on Monday of that week). Still, no excuse, but I guess even their Soft Opening didn't prepare them enough for their first full Saturday Night customers.

                                                        I'm planning on visiting them again this week, so I'll report back on how the service is when I go.

                                                        1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                                          i went the same night and had the exact same experience as wileyshungryagain. 30 minute wait (twice) for drinks from the bar and no apologies from the server or manager (and we complained to both). i would expect the drinks to be comp'ed, at least.

                                                        2. Am going tonight. Excited. Thanks for the review and the recs. I'll be writing up something myself. As someone who loves Comme Ca a lot, as much for the atmosphere as anything else, I'm very curious.

                                                          1. will I be able to get a yummy pastry there at dinner? Like, maybe a croissant or something?

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Diana

                                                              Hi Diana,

                                                              Yes, you should be able to, depending on what they didn't sell out of. Since they fresh-bake their pastries daily, there should be some delicious items (try their Almond Croissant if they still have any left by dinner (^_~)). Amazing.

                                                              And they have a nice Dessert Menu during Dinner hours as well.

                                                              1. re: exilekiss

                                                                Sadly, i am alleric to nuts. An almond croissant would be sweet death.

                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                  Oops, I forgot about that, sorry (^_^;;.

                                                                  I found out that Anisette only offers their fresh-baked Pastries from Breakfast / Brunch / Lunch, but not for Dinner (they also have limited quantities and the hostess said they've been selling out by Lunchtime anyways).

                                                                  Besides the Almond Croissant (daily special), all their other Pastries have No Nuts in them, nor do they use any Nut-based Oils according to the staff.

                                                                  They said if you really wanted to try a certain Pastry or two, you could call ahead of time, and have them reserve them and set them aside for you for Dinner. :)

                                                                2. re: exilekiss

                                                                  I have eaten at Anisette probably 7 times since they opened. This past Sunday I finally tried the pain au raisin. It is truly amazing!

                                                              2. Adding the current Dessert Menu as an FYI (in case people are interested):

                                                                Desserts:
                                                                * Profiteroles (Vanilla Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate Sauce)
                                                                * Orange Meringue Tart (with Chocolate Ice Cream)
                                                                * Vacherin Glace (Lavender Ice Cream, Strawberries) (what I had in my review :) Yummy!
                                                                * Chocolate Mousse (Sweet Toasts)
                                                                * Creme Caramel (Passion Fruit Caramel, Lemon Cookies)
                                                                * Sorbet and Ice Cream (Pistachio Tuiles)
                                                                * Apple Tart A L'Ancienne (Creme Chantilly)
                                                                * Iles Flottantes (Creme Anglaise, Pralines)
                                                                * Foret Noire (Black Forest Cake) (Griottes Cherries, Cherry Coulis)

                                                                And a selection of Fromages (Cheese), you can select from 4, 6, or 8 different types. :)

                                                                They also have 6 different Dessert Wines by the Glass, and the Sauternes Chateau Roumieu Lacoste (Cuvee Leon 2003) by the bottle as well.

                                                                1. just came back from anisette, had the duck confit and the steak tartare. sampled the black cod and the french onion soup. (alas, they had just run out of moules frites, but i'll be back within days to try it i'm sure).

                                                                  sublime food, perfect atmosphere. the food is crazy authentic. so much so that it may not be for everyone. but what i really responded to was the subtle rustic quality of the cooking. the steak tartare, for example, with the capers and chopped onions, had that sort of lived-in, saturated flavor, that old world mustiness (and i totally mean that in a good way) that you only seem to find in europe. the confit was fall-apart tender and likewise earthy, if a bit too fatty for frequent consumption. time to drink more red wine! similarly, the soup came on fairly strong flavor-wise, and the black cod was moist and light, though my j-friend couldn't get into the oily european funk of the accompanying sausage slices, which i totally loved.

                                                                  as for service, i have no complaints. things were a bit slow, and people may say they're still getting into the rhythm of things, but i actually didn't mind at all. it's a french restaurant. you're supposed to take your time. sit there all day if you could. the waitstaff was even super friendly, when i was half hoping for authentic brusqueness and laissez-faire.

                                                                  if people think anisette is disney-fied, it's only because it's the real deal through and through, and we americans are so used to the faux-hyper-reality of epcot center and films like ratatouille. although i did feel like "gusteau's" had been brought to life and transplanted to santa monica. which is not a bad thing in the least.

                                                                  we spoke to monsieur giraud on the way out. he actually remembered my friend and i, BY NAME, from our visit to the peninsula, two or three years ago!

                                                                  anisette is my new favorite non-asian restaurant in all of LA. i'd post a lengthy review, but what remains to be said about this place that exile & co haven't already waxed at length about, like poets on the left bank? the place was packed at 10pm on a wednesday and it's only going to get hipper. which is a good thing, cuz you can tell they spent a fortune on it. anisette is real FRENCH cooking, minus the annoying california/fusion trappings that seem to plague every other restaurant in town. i will return, for breakfast, for lunch, and surely for dinner. over and over and over again. God bless alain giraud. seriously. may anisette reign a hundred lifetimes! viva la tradition!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: rameniac

                                                                    Hi rameniac,

                                                                    Nice report! (^_^) I'm glad you enjoyed Anisette as much as I did. :)

                                                                    Yah, I'm so happy about this place as well, and Chef Giraud is wonderful. I can't stop thinking about the simple, relaxing food for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. Be sure to try their Brunch on weekends if you get a chance. Wonderful goodness! (^_~)

                                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                                      Unfortunately, I have to disagree with the majority of these posts regarding the service. I went here this week and waited 40 minutes for lunch to receive my nicoise salad. Granted, they did just open not too long ago, but the servers couldn't have been more awkward/condescending. Maybe they're using their B team at lunch? After my experience, I'll be sticking to Comme Ca, where the service lives up to the fare.

                                                                  2. uh oh! Now I worry. I hate waiting too too long

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Diana

                                                                      Obviously, most of the reports have been that the service is very good to excellent so it shouldn't be a huge worry.

                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                        I wouldn't worry too much. I also hate long waits in restaurants. I went for lunch earlier this week. We did have to wait too long for everything, including our drinks, which is the worst thing to wait for! On top of that, they were doing minor construction--taking down some very large mirrors all along the wall.

                                                                        However, I walked out of there as happy as I could be with my lunch, as did my companion. The food totally made up for it, as did the nice staff. They were incredibly sorry about the work going on, explaining why they had to do it at that time.

                                                                        The drinks we ordered were so worth the wait. We both ordered their Pear Margarita. I don't order fruit Margaritas, as I like mine strong, not sweet. This one, however, was a perfect blend. Not too strong and not too sweet.

                                                                        We had oysters on the half shell. They were fresh and oh so perfect. They gave us finger bowls, a nice touch I've never had with oysters before.

                                                                        For our main courses, I ordered the Croque Monsieur which was cooked perfectly. The cheese was so flavorful, I am craving another as I write this. The fries were crispy on the outside and delicious.

                                                                        My companion had their burger, which is the best burger I've ever tasted (well, maybe on par with Houston's, which is very different).

                                                                        Desserts were the Black Forest cake and the lavender ice cream with strawberries. Both were winners.

                                                                        So go, expect to wait too long for everything, but then enjoy a perfect meal.

                                                                        1. re: brandygirl

                                                                          Thanks for the report brandygirl. :)

                                                                          First hrhboo, whatsfordinner, and now you've praised their Brasserie Burger... I can't wait to try it! :)

                                                                      2. Hi All,

                                                                        I returned to Anisette for another visit last night -

                                                                        (Formatted with All Pictures here:
                                                                        http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/07...

                                                                        )

                                                                        Having had three wonderful experiences with Anisette already (despite it being barely 1 month old), I was eager to return after a few weeks to see how things have been developing (and I had friends in town this weekend - 2 of them from France - and wanted to take them somewhere that was fun, upbeat and with good food :).

                                                                        The last dinner visit had a full house, but tonight (July 3, pre-holiday evening out) was a madhouse with the bar seats all taken, and another row of people behind them milling about and drinking while waiting for their tables; I guess the good reviews and word-of-mouth got around. (^_~) I was expecting a wait, but surprisingly we were seated 10 minutes *before* our reservation time, with our table ready, which was nice.

                                                                        Looking over the menu, my companions were impressed with the selection of items, and surprised that some of the items were offered in an L.A. Brasserie. We started with the Royal Plateaux de Fruits de Mer, which included 1 Poached Lobster, 8 Shrimp, 16 Oysters, King Crab Legs, 8 Clams, 8 Carlsbad Mussels. It arrived in impressive fashion, and was served with a nice variety of sauces: Mignonette, Cocktail, Marie Rose, Garlic Aioli Mayonnaise.

                                                                        We started with the Oysters, the Malpeques were wonderful, so fresh and perfect. Same for the Kumamoto Oysters as well. The Clams were fresh as well, but a couple of the Clams had a piece of sand / grit in them. The Shrimp were nicely cooked, nothing standout, but nothing bad. And the Carlsbad Mussels were decent, but nowhere near the amazing Mussels we had at Comme Ca. The King Crab Legs were nice and sweet, and the Poached Lobster was perfectly cooked, better than the version I had at Comme Ca.

                                                                        I let my friend from Paris order the wine to pair with this Plateaux: A wonderful bottle - 2005 Riesling, Reserve Personelle, Domaine Weinbach, Alsace. I'm not a wine aficionado, but this was one of the better Rieslings I've had, nice and crisp, and pairing nicely with all the seafood.

                                                                        My appetizer came next, the classic Onion Soup with Cave-Aged Gruyere. My other companions ordered either the Onion Soup as well, or the Provencal Fish Soup that I had last time. The Onion Soup was pure decadence! The melted Cave-Aged Gruyere had a wonderful aroma, and the gooey goodness combining with the bread and Onion Soup itself was perfection. This was probably the best Onion Soup I've had in L.A., and pretty close to some of my favorites in Paris.

                                                                        It should be noted that my two guests from Paris and Provence, respectively, were blown away by the Provencal Fish Soup. They said it was "very authentic" and rivaled some of their favorite interpretations of this soup back in France.

                                                                        Our Entrees arrived next, starting with the Entrecote Frites (Rib-Eye Steak and Fries). I was able to sample a bit of this dish from my friend and it was a good, nicely executed Rib-Eye Steak, cooked perfectly Medium (which is how she ordered it).

                                                                        My other companions ordered two dishes I've had previously (reviewed in my earlier writeup): the Duck Confit and Provencal Beef Daube. The two guests that had the Duck Confit both agreed that it was "a good version" of this classic dish, and I sampled it to see how it stood up to my last visit: It was still as good as before, but still not as good as my favorite version of this dish in Paris. But the Potatoes Lyonnaises was, again, to die for! (^_^)/ Just as amazing as I had it the first time, it was light and airy, simply cooked, but so delicious. My friend from Paris couldn't stop eating the Potatoes Lyonnaises and finished it before he was halfway done with the Duck Confit. :)

                                                                        There were similar reactions with the Provencal Beef Daube, with the guest who ordered it gushing at how tender and fragrant it was (this was my favorite dish from my first dinner visit).

                                                                        For my entree, I was anxious to try the famous Brasserie Burger that hrhboo, brandygirl and whatsfordinner had been praising, but sadly, it wasn't on the Dinner menu (only for Brunch and Lunch) (Oh well, that's just one more excuse to come back soon (^_~)).

                                                                        Instead, I ordered their Plats Du Jour for that evening: Blanquette de Veau Printaniere (Veal Stew with Spring Vegetables). The Veal Ribs were definitely slow-cooked, and so tender you could break off pieces with a spoon. The white wine and fresh herbs were a very nice accent to the Veal itself, and what I loved about it most was that it had this wonderful savory flavor from the tender meat, delicately balanced by the extremely fresh vegetables (that Chef Giraud sources from the local Farmer's Market). I let my guests from France sample this dish, and they said it was "very good, very authentic!" Then my friend insisted I grab a piece of bread and sop up the wonderful stew with the bread like how he grew up eating this in Paris. :) This was a complex, heart-warming dish that I would definitely order again.

                                                                        Finally we saved just barely enough room for dessert :), and we decided to split three of them. First up was the Vacherin Glace (Lavender Ice Cream, Strawberries) which I had last time, and it was just as fragrant and wonderful as before: The beautiful Lavender scent with the Ice Cream and Berries... delicious!

                                                                        Next up was the classic Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce. The Profiteroles were a little too hard for my preference, with the Puffs being a bit too dense. The Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce, though, were delightful. :)

                                                                        The final dessert was their Foret Noire (Black Forest Cake) with Griottes Cherries, Cherry Coulis. WOW! The beautiful, beautiful Chocolate pervaded every bite, perfectly complemented by the Cream and Cherry Coulis and the wine-infused bits of Cherry! Excellent!

                                                                        The Service was excellent last night. Our server, Jeana, was almost as good as Yannick who took care of me the first time I went for dinner. She was professional and always refilled our Wine Glasses and Water without us having to ask. Later, during Dessert, she also refilled our Tea whenever our cups got low. Their service isn't up to say, a fine dining, Michelin 3 Star restaurant, but for a traditional Brasserie (and even in general), I thought it was excellent and far better than some of the recent nicer restaurants I've been to. Our total came out to be ~$90 per person (including the excellent wine, tax and tip already).

                                                                        Anisette Brasserie continues to excel with standout food and a great atmosphere. My guests were constantly commenting on how much the ambiance and decor reminded them of brasseries in Paris (albeit Anisette was much bigger). Chef Alain Giraud came out to greet us during the dinner, and spent some time talking to my guests in French, waxing poetic about making sure he had the right fresh Fish for the Provencal Fish Soup (after they had complimented him about it). He also apologized to us for not having the Daurade Royale available that night: He wasn't happy with the quality of the fish, so he wasn't offering the Daurade for that evening.

                                                                        With a fun, relaxed, and energetic atmosphere, great food and ambiance, Anisette Brasserie continues to be my current favorite new restaurant in L.A., for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or Dinner (^_^). Highly recommended (still)!

                                                                        *** Rating: 9.1 (out of 10.0) ***

                                                                        Anisette Brasserie
                                                                        225 Santa Monica Boulevard
                                                                        Santa Monica, CA 90401
                                                                        Tel: (310) 395-3200

                                                                        Hours: Sun, 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
                                                                        Mon - Thurs, 7:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
                                                                        Fri, 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. (last seating at 11:30 p.m.)
                                                                        Sat, 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. (last seating at 12:30 a.m.)
                                                                        (Hours subject to change.)

                                                                        http://www.anisettebrasserie.com/

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                                                          Another great review! Thanks!

                                                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                                                            I can't wait to do back and try their dinners! Their black forest cake is the best I've ever had. So moist, and the perfect amound of cherry and wine.

                                                                            1. re: brandygirl

                                                                              You definitely have to try their Dinner Menu at least once. (^_~)

                                                                              Some great entrees and daily specials (I can't wait to go back for their Bourride de Lotte Setoise (Monkfish Braised with Aioli Sauce) and the Gigot D'Agneau Flageolets (Roasted Leg of Lamb with White Beans)). :)

                                                                          2. More Pics attached.

                                                                            All remaining Pictures of our return visit to Anisette can be found here:
                                                                            http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/07...

                                                                            Thanks! :)

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                            1. Great pics!

                                                                              What are prices like? I'm a bit bummed they haven't posted the menus on the website yet.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ElJeffe

                                                                                Thanks ElJeffe. :)

                                                                                The prices are listed in my review (on my blog - link is in the original post up top), but here's a relist for you :) -

                                                                                Breakfast ranges in price from $5.75 - $15 for most dishes. Brunch from $9 - $26.50. Dinner menu prices: Appetizers from $11 - $19.50, Entrees from $18 - $32, Plates for Two from $30 - $60, Items from the fresh Oyster Bar from $6 - $95 (which is their Royal Plateaux de Fruits de Mer (1 Poached Lobster, 8 Jumbo Shrimp, 16 Oysters, Crab Legs, 8 Clams, 8 Carlsbad Mussels).

                                                                                1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                  Great. Seems very reasonable.

                                                                                  Amazingly thorough food blog, looks like someone is a Chowhound VIP. Looks like you have a calling as a culinary photographer if you ever change professions!

                                                                                  I'm really enthused about Anisette as West Side French opinions have been pretty sparse. Can't wait!

                                                                                  1. re: ElJeffe

                                                                                    Thanks ElJeffe. :)

                                                                                    Photography? No way (^_^;; Definitely check out SauceSupreme and Perceptor's (and many others') Photos. Just amazing! (^_^)

                                                                                    Please report back on Anisette if you go. Happy eating! :)

                                                                              2. We happened to be in Santa Monica on a whim and just waltzed in without a reservation last Saturday about 6PM-ish and the hostess was very gracious in accommodating us. The service throughout the night was very prompt and gracious as well.

                                                                                Didn't read the review before we went, so didn't notice the daube on the menu. Wished we got the lavender ice cream now.

                                                                                We order the pate as an appetizer, and that was a bit strange. The topping I recalled from the menu was supposed to be some sort of wine, but it was very sweet and runny (taste more like grape jam), so it was a total miss. The steak frites were good - fries were great. The au poivre sauce was very fatty - when I tried to pour the sauce from the little pitcher all that came out was grease. But the steak was flavorful enough to not need any sauce. Hubbie had the dish of the night, which was lamb. It was really good - extremely tender and not at all gamey. The portion size for the lamb was a bit oversized.

                                                                                Unfortunately it's not a restaurant to bring the kids to, at least not during dinner. The only suitable thing we can find are the noodle side dish (per the waiter's recommendation), which was OK. I thought they may serve croque monsieur/madame during dinner but no such luck.

                                                                                Lastly the profiteroles for dessert. I didn't sample but it looks like the run of the mill stuff, except they pour a ton of chocolate sauce over the top.

                                                                                I love the ambience of this place. If I ignore the conversations I can almost imagine being back in Paris. The tables were set extremely close together - you don't have to wait for the waiter to lift it for you so you can be seated, but it's close enough that one of the person in the table next to us accidentally knocked over his drink and sent it flying to the other adjacent table.

                                                                                I think the prices are a bit on the higher side. $12 or so for drinks, and the side is $5. I think the tab for us for 1 app, 1 glass of wine, 2 entrees, 1 side, 1 dessert was about $100. Very promising, but next time I think I'll try it for breakfast or lunch.

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: notmartha

                                                                                  Hi notmartha,

                                                                                  Thanks for your review. :) The Lamb Special sounds delicious (I never make it to Anisette on a Saturday to partake in it... next time for sure :).

                                                                                  I've enjoyed their Breakfast and Brunch very much, and the prices are lower during those times. Definitely try some of their fresh-baked Pastries if you go during Breakfast / Brunch. :)

                                                                                  1. re: notmartha

                                                                                    I must agree about the au poivre sauce for the steak being too fatty/oily (the Bearnaise was much better), but totally disagree about it not being a place for kids, unless you mean kids under 5, as the menu is totally non-threatening and uncomplicated. I would have been thrilled with the choice as an 8 or 10 year old.

                                                                                    We dined there on Tuesday for my birthday, and it was exactly what I wanted.

                                                                                    Service was efficient and professional, and totally impersonal (and I mean that as a good thing; I don't need to know my server's names, where they went to high school, and all that kind of nonsense).

                                                                                    The only weird part was when a hostess noticed my teenage stepdaughter taking some pictures (of the lighting fixtures, a fork artistically placed on a placemat...not pictures of other diners) and requested that she stop, as they do not like people taking pictures of the restaurant. Huh?!?!?! What's that about?

                                                                                    I can't wait to go back, though. I would have been thrilled to make a dinner out of the appetizers: Provencal fish soup (wonderfully fishy), onion soup (next time!), foie gras (looked fantastic), and the charcuterie tower.

                                                                                    1. re: Jack Flash

                                                                                      The onion soup is delicious!

                                                                                      1. re: Jack Flash

                                                                                        Thanks for the review, Jack Flash. Definitely try their Onion Soup and Foie Gras - both are wonderful! :)

                                                                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                          We walked in for brunch this afternoon. I do like the ambience, though what struck me was how large the place looks yet it feels like it doesn't seat that many people. The food was fine- I had the burger which was a great combination of extras ( all things that I love) but since I order it rare, I expect it to be more "meaty"- it seemed a little too finely ground and steamed, not seared. Fries were a let down, though it didn't stop me from eating them. Wish that they lived up to the "serve in a cone" image- having been in Belgium and Montreal in the past few months, I expected something a little more memorable. But the real downers for me were not about the food but more about the details- the servers were completely confused as to which diner got which dish. The water served at the table was lukewarm and the glasses small and dingy. When my DH asked if bread was served, they waitress said yes, but she could bring us a pastry basket. He said fine, thinking that we had our choice- which was not true and of course we were charged an additional fee ( almost $10 I believe). He enjoyed it and did not say anything, but the waitress could have been more forthcoming about it. I will be back- nice addition to the neighborhood, but I have a feeling that I may get tired of this place quickly given how ambivalent I seem to be about it.

                                                                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                            exilekiss your monthly food bill must be outrageous.

                                                                                            i'm so jealous.

                                                                                          2. re: Jack Flash

                                                                                            Jack - Mine is almost ten, but we asked the server if there's a kid's menu, and he said no and that the kids fair best with the sides - hence the pasta for him. It's during dinner, and I believe breakfast and lunch is probably more kid friendly so that what I intend to try next time. He likes eggs and croques madame, so I know that's gotta be something there for him

                                                                                            ExileKiss - Thanks! I hope they have the almond crossiant you mentioned in our next visit. Breakfast & lunch is so that I can find more things for my son. I'm perfectly happy with the dinner selections. I do so want to try the lavender ice cream.

                                                                                            Carefreeinla - we were at Belgium for a few days for our vacation, and I think Anisette's compared favorably. Not quite the same style, as Anisette's seems to have some skin on and a tad thinner, but still - the fries were crispy/tender, and tasty. I guess they must have an off-day as our server was extremely competent and professional.

                                                                                            1. re: notmartha

                                                                                              My fries were just fried potato. Not double fried. Pale in color- yes some skin but ordinary. Not addictive. This was the kind of burger that could not hold its own plain with out the topping.

                                                                                        2. I had a late lunch there last week that was memorable. My friends and I split an order of oysters which were very tender and delicious. I had the onion soup (superb) and Nicoise salad (good). We spent a leisurely (European-style) couple of hours on this meal and enjoyed the impeccable service. However, my dining companion's steak came with a sauce that was Americanized (too sweet). The Anisette cocktail is similar to a mojito and recommended.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Johnny Pastrami

                                                                                            Ainsette, Alain Giraud’s new bistro, is generating a huge amount of press. Most reviews rave and compare it to a small bit of Paris in Los Angeles. When a restaurant gets this much buzz, the question that hangs in the air is can they handle it?

                                                                                            First, let me mention they have no GM – they are looking, but …. They have a consultant and a lot of managers on the floor, but no one who is ultimately in charge of the front of the house. Does this hurt? Absolutely.

                                                                                            Second, I question why the open kitchen was put on the second floor. The first time we were there, granted only 3 days after opening, my eggs benedict were so cold and overcooked, I might as well as ordered two hard boiled eggs with a side of hollandaise.

                                                                                            Given the above, we still wanted to try Anisette for dinner and made an early reservation for 6:30. I chose a table that most people would consider Siberia – we were on the second floor, near the kitchen, overlooking the “scene” below. I also figured that since we were close to the kitchen and our food didn’t have to travel a culinary mile from its source, our dishes would arrive hot. Byran, our server, was knowledgeable, efficient, competent and handled all service issues perfectly. From watching the first floor madhouse, I can only assume that things were not running that smoothly. As an aside, Alain was not there Saturday night.

                                                                                            We ordered a dozen oysters to start – Kumamoto (perfect), Hood canal (good, but very briny), Malpeque and New Zealand Oysters – excellent.

                                                                                            Our next courses were all splits – one for two.

                                                                                            Beef Tartar, Egg Yolk, Country Bread. My husband had raved about this dish and I was really looking forward to this dish done the traditional way with cornichons, capers and onions. This wasn’t even a close second to Bistro Jeanty’s. For some reason, there was extra “sauce” that had never been incorporated into the tartar – an absolute first for us. Also, chopped onions were missing in action and someone decided to add extra Tabasco.

                                                                                            Provencal Fish Soup, Pearl Pasta, Rouille – We remembered Alain’s fish soup when he was at Lavande and loved it. This didn’t disappoint – absolutely perfect with a wonderful depth of flavor and served at the perfect temperature – second floor dining is a definite plus.

                                                                                            Saucisee with Haricot Beans – another winner with the nod going to the beans. Many years ago, Alain made a cassoulet for us at Citrus and other than Jean Louis Palladin’s version, it won the second best version we have ever had. The beans in this dish was so reminiscent of the cassoulet beans and the sausage was delcious.

                                                                                            Over-all – Anisette has some definite issues to resolve. It is not cheap - $90.00 for 2 without drinks and tip. Consistency in the kitchen is definitely an issue and service is haphazard – thankfully with Bryan, not for us.

                                                                                            See pics here:

                                                                                            Look at the difference between Jeanty's tartar and Anisette's.

                                                                                            http://lizziee.wordpress.com/category...

                                                                                            1. re: lizziee

                                                                                              I finally made it to Anisette last night for an early dinner with my girlfriend. We shared a bottle of pinot noir (37), the beef daube (26) and duck confit (22). I may be transposing the prices of the beef and duck.

                                                                                              I haven't been to a brasserie in France so my comments about the decor aren't comparative in nature. They're just design comments from someone who reads too many architecture and interior design journals. I liked the overall look of the place. The tile floor, the columns, the wood paneled walls were all beautiful. The overall space was delightful if not a bit formulaic. It's a shame that building code requires exit signs hung down in seemingly random places. We sat at a two top on the far left (west) side of the space--I was on the bench and she was in the chair. We were both uncomfortable. The bench was too low and the base of the table made sitting with your feet in close proximity with each other impossible. You either have to go for a wide straddle or pick a side. Also, the bench was too low for the table. She was in a short dress and had similar problems negotiating the table base. Lastly, the table was too small for two plates, wine and a bread basket. I felt like I was playing Operation as I navigated the food in front of me.
                                                                                              The food: I LOVED the olive bread with butter. I could eat that in loaves with something red to wash it down and be pretty gosh darn happy. The country white was fine but overshadowed.
                                                                                              The wine was okay. We didn't want to spend more than $50 for a bottle and after telling the sommelier our budget and our courses, he recommended this. You get what you pay for. After a half a glass and once the food arrived, it was plenty drinkable but I'm not going to hunt down a bottle for my cellar/closet. By contrast, I really liked a glass of Melville 2005 Syrah that my gf had at FO on Saturday and they seem to be priced similarly at retail. One last comment on the pinot--it was served way too warm. Probably at about 70 degrees. I'd hate to spend big bucks on a bottle knowing that they are stored and served at this temperature.

                                                                                              The beef daube was delicious. Fork tender without being mushy or stringy from too many reheats or too long on the fire. It was perfectly cooked. Very rich in conjunction with the mashed potatoes. I had it in my mind to try this even though I think braises are something home cooks can often duplicate or surpass.
                                                                                              The duck confit was okay. The skin was perfectly crisped and had a lot of flavour but the meat underneath was a bit dried out and stringy. I don't have duck more than a couple times a year because it usually disappoints. It seems that all the fat is in the outer layer and none of that fat is interspersed with the meat. I'd rather have a good roast chicken for this reason even though I think the flavour of the duck meat has the edge. The potatoes lyonnaise were also just okay. I've never had them before and had no idea that they come with orange flavour, which I don't like in savory dishes. I've had much better layered potato dishes.
                                                                                              The service was perfect. The waiter was nice and the sommelier is really friendly and down to earth. I didn't love his selection but he was so charming and offered several times, without me even saying or hinting that I wasn't that thrilled with the wine, to take it back and drink it himself.
                                                                                              Lastly, I found the prices very reasonable, except for the $14 onion soup. Is that meal sized?
                                                                                              I will be back to try the burger with a pint of chimay.

                                                                                              1. re: Wolfgang

                                                                                                Thanks for the report Wolfgang. The Potatoes Lyonnaises I've had a few times didn't have any orange in them (that's weird).

                                                                                                The Beef Daube! Thanks for reminding me about that awesome dish. :)

                                                                                                The French Onion Soup is huge and filling. The Cave-Aged Gruyere they use is so delicious. I didn't mind the price, although I thought it was $11.50 the last time I was there? You should give it a try if you enjoy Onion Soup.

                                                                                          2. Countdown continues! Dinner there on Friday!

                                                                                            counting today...three...more...days!

                                                                                            My problem is I want to taste EVERYTHING people here have mentioned.

                                                                                            The Provincale fish soup, the onion soup

                                                                                            Foie Gras, tatar and more

                                                                                            Chocolate croissant, regualr bread, pastries

                                                                                            Duck, steak, moules (can't allergic, but I want them!)

                                                                                            Sacusisse, dabue, and more!

                                                                                            I only have one tummy! I wish I had twenty!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Diana

                                                                                              I wanted to try a soup but we rode our bikes down there and weren't in a hot soup place.

                                                                                              1. re: Diana

                                                                                                Nice Diana! :)

                                                                                                Hope you enjoy your Birthday dinner. (^_^)

                                                                                              2. I was there for dinner last Friday. Simply put, I loved it. The space, the service, the food! The cocktails. Alain Giraud made the rounds, what a jovial fellow! We brought 4 bottles of wine for the 6 of us, $15 corkage.
                                                                                                Everything was wonderful: my cocktail, the charcuterie/cheese/veggie tower, the Hood Canal oysters, the provencal fish soup, the sausage w/ beans (can't remember the name of those beans), the lavendar ice cream.

                                                                                                Service was fantastic. Everyone, especially our server was friendly, helpful, and accomodating. I've already booked a brunch reservation. On weekends, Sat and Sun, now they do the breakfast menu from 8 - 10 am, then brunch menu from 10 am - 3pm.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: slacker

                                                                                                  $ 15 for each bottle? or for everything?

                                                                                                  See, I was wondering if I should get wine there, or bring some favorites from my cellar.

                                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                                    It's $15 per bottle. If it were $15 for 4 bottles, that'd be the best deal in town! For 4 bottles and 6 of us, it was definitely the better value

                                                                                                2. Having lived and worked in France for several years, I'm coming to the table with high expectations. Dinner Sunday night was good, but not great. Tables are ridiculously small and too close together. We had the misfortune in not getting one of the French waiters and while our waitperson was efficient, almost rushing us along, I don't think she smiled once.
                                                                                                  We ordered a Ricard served the traditional way, and a Kir, both very nice. Starters were the house pate and fish soup. They brought out Onion soup instead, not once, but twice. I was looking forward to the house pate, but alas, it's not pate at all, but a "mousse" whipped very creamy and without the wonderful texture of a pate.
                                                                                                  Mains were the duck confit which was very tender served with excellent baby carrots and the potatoes lyonnaise which I liked very much as they were not overloaded with bechamel. The entrecote was cooked perfectly with fries. We had a glass of a French red that was very acidic and undrinkable so sent it back for a California red. The by the glass selection can certainly use a redo. Total with tax/tip $135.00. We'll go back for oysters at the bar and to try the Gigot for two. Exilekiss, true flagolets are not white beans!

                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Fresser

                                                                                                    ooh,, no! Flagolets are little greeny pills of goodness! You can get them in cans here.

                                                                                                    they served white beans and called them flagolets?

                                                                                                    1. re: Fresser

                                                                                                      Hi Fresser,

                                                                                                      Thanks for the nice report! :) It's always good to get more perspective from people more exposed to the cuisine in France than I am. Next time you go back, ask to be served by Yannick, who is amazing!

                                                                                                      Glad you liked the Potatoes Lyonnaise as well, very light, simple, subtle.

                                                                                                      Thanks for the tip on the Flagolets - I was only listing what was on the menu (that's the way they referenced them). If you enjoy Daube, their Beef Daube (using Australian Kobe Beef) is one of my favorite dishes there. :)

                                                                                                      1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                        from flageolot-beans.com. "Although the original flageolet beans are a pale green, there are now many varieties in other colors: black, white, red, or yellow." (and other sites note: "They range from creamy white to light green.")

                                                                                                        1. re: archer

                                                                                                          From the menu Saucisee with Haricot Beans - See my post for pics.

                                                                                                          1. re: archer

                                                                                                            Thanks archer.

                                                                                                            Yah, I was just chatting w/ my friend from Paris (love the power of the internet :), and she also confirmed that Flageolet Beans come in a variety of colors and she's cooked and eaten them in all their varieties.

                                                                                                      2. Just had lunch today and enjoyed it. My sister and I both loved the look of the space and the service. Onion soup good-ish, black Cod and Rotiserie Chicken were both good, fries very good though not my number 1, vacherin glace very nice. Agree with others that the tables are quite small but manageable. We sat up on the mezzanine and enjoyed looking down at the rest of the restaurant and also catch the action in the kitchen.

                                                                                                        1. I finally got to try Anisette and see what the hype is all about. I got there around 11:20 with a reservation of 11:30. We were seated right away and were inform that the server will help us in 10 mins, understandable as they were being prepped for lunch by the sous chef in the mezzanine.

                                                                                                          My wife ordered the pate gelee & goat cheese with beet salad. The pate was wonderful. It was a beautiful mix of the pate and the jelly. The melted goat cheese was devine along with the sweetness of the beet & the salad with the greens.

                                                                                                          I ordered the onion soup which was amazing! Right amount of cheese, bread, and onion. It had a very very rich broth, the best i've ever had. For entree I had the steak frites, medium rare. Some portions were medium rare but some of it was cooked to medium-ish. It was charred so its' bitterness overpowered some of the slices even if I dipped it into the sauce. The frites were cooked perfectly with a nice crunch to them.

                                                                                                          Overall, Anisette lived up to the hype and I am planning to go back for dinner. My wife loved it as well as the taste reminded of the brasserie she visited while in Paris (and with smaller portions).

                                                                                                          If I didn't have to go to a friend's birthday party tomorrow, I would've gone here for dinner.

                                                                                                          Damage was only $67 with tip. Not bad for what you are getting.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: JMan604

                                                                                                            Hi JMan604,

                                                                                                            Nice report, thanks! :) Isn't the Onion Soup just wonderful? (^_^) Definitely give their Dinner Menu a try; some really great items on there (and some fun desserts as well (skip the Profiteroles, though).

                                                                                                            1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                              Yes it was! I'll make a dinner reservation for next week then.

                                                                                                              On our way out, we got to see chef Alain Giraud sitting with a customer and made eye contact and he said hi.

                                                                                                              1. re: JMan604

                                                                                                                Alain Giraud made the rounds when I was there for dinner, and we got our photo op! He's so -- jolly! :-)

                                                                                                          2. after the review in the la times, i took myself to lunch at the bar. the service was so bad i had to say something. the waitress called over the manager who discussed my issue right in front of me, then handed me back the twenty i'd plunked on the counter to pay for my onion soup (not anywhere near as good as the onion soup at comme ca) the woman up the bar had her meal comped as well because, based on what i could hear, it was inedible. won't be rushing back here.

                                                                                                            1. We were so excited for this place to open and after many a failed attempts to walk in (they opened 'soft' with various times on various days) we finally got in for brunch. It was not good. Stall pastries, long service waits, no drink refills (always a pet peeve).

                                                                                                              Figuring this had to be because they are new, we tried twice again. One lunch, somewhat better but not great and finally dinner, which was much better overall, but not remarkable.

                                                                                                              We may go back and see if they get better in the future but we're in no hurry.

                                                                                                              On the upside, the decor is lovely and feels appropriately french.

                                                                                                              1. My husband and I found this place one day and it totally took us back to Paris. It reminds me of the cafe we ate in the first morning we had breakfast there. Amazing and so true to real french cafe food.

                                                                                                                1. Just had the Duck Confit hash for breakfast two weekends ago and it was UNBELIEVABLE!