This thread intrigued me, and I’ve always been meaning to try Anneke Jans, so I had to give this a go. This is another place that a lot of people rave about, and the reason may very well be a lack of decent local competition as terrystu suggests. Here’s a first timer’s take on the place:
The service was really good, we split the whole meal between the two of us and my main complaint was that a few of the items could have been split by the kitchen and that no spoons were served with the clams and mussels. I understand the whole splitting debate about compromising a dish’s integrity and so on, but it would have been a nice touch to have split one or two items.
The clam app with white beans, chorizo and bruchetta was excellent and as good as any version I’ve had in Fall River, East Providence or New Bedford: spicy, garlicky with al dente beans and ample bits of sausage.
The fried olives were ok, but I wish they were a bit saltier. I did like the tall olive can presentation.
We tried the mussels (without the blue cheese) and found them a bit blah. They were cooked well, all were open, but a number of them (about a third) didn’t have their beards removed, and I think this is just laziness on behalf of the chef . CLEAN the &*%$#^$ mussels man!
The fried oysters were excellent and perfectly cooked, loved the dish.
The iceberg wedge salad had a nice lemon vinaigrette and three strips of great bacon, but seemed to be a throwback to former, simpler times (the 70’s??). The salad was decent, but nothing to rave about.
The trout was excellent, loved the roasted potatoes (very flavorful), presentation and butter sauce.
Steamed lemon pudding was very nice and enjoyed the French press coffee.
Overall an enjoyable, casual experience. It wasn’t a “wow” experience by any stretch, but I would definitely go back. It’s about in the same league as Black Trumpet across the bridge, give or take.
I am ducking my head as I write, but we went with friends last week and found it to be thoroughly ordinary. The lobster salad app had about 1/2 oz. of finely shredded lobster and no particular flavor, the trout was overcooked, and the sauces in general seemed very bland, nothing horrible, but nothing memorable either. My feeling is this place benefits by comparison to the generally dismal Portsmouth dining scene. We live nearby, but still drive to Boston or Portland when we want a good meal.
No need to duck--sounds like you had a "meh" experience. No one in my party had the lobster salad, so I can't comment, but two of us had the trout, and it wasn't overcooked. We don't live nearby, so have only been there when we had other activities in the area--twice, to be precise--and have had good experiences both times.
Once again, Anneke Jans delivered. DH and I unexpectedly met up with friends from Boston, and the host couldn't have been more gracious about seating us together. None of the others had been there before; all were delighted with their dinners. Entrees included: trout (myself and one DC), pork, salmon, scallops, and calves liver, a real treat for the DC who says she loves it and rarely sees it on a menu. No time for proper dessert and coffee, but we did share/wolf down one bread pudding--different from, but as good as I remember from my last visit. We'll be back!
Anneke Jans continues to be one of the best, and most reliable, restaurants I know. I have been going there once every other month or so for the last couple of years and have never been disappointed. I was there earlier this week and had one of the best gazpachos I've ever tasted, deliciously pungent. The halibut was excellent. My friend's fried oysters looked great (I'm allergic these days, alas.) We ended with the molten chocolate cake, which was exemplary. If you like Cotes du Rhone, they have had a great one by the glass, although their stocks are running down and they have been unable to re-stock. I think you can't go wrong with anything on the menu, and the staff are good on wines. Enjoy!
We are big fans of Anneke Jans restaurant and ate there about three weeks ago. Every time we go we get the muscles with bacon, shallot, cream, and blue cheese. Some people have commented that the boldness of the sauce over powers the muscles but I LOVE them. A little extra bread for dipping and I am lovin it.
I also had the steak with the ramp butter. If you like ramps it is a great compound butter for steaks.