My experience at Anisette
Had a friend of mine in from out of town, been reading about this place non-stop for a month, decided to give it a shot. After all the high praise, I really wanted it to stand up to it all... but sadly it didn't.
Looks-wise, the place is great. The atmosphere was a bit quiet, though at 1:30pm on Saturday I admit it was slightly an off-hour.
I'll keep it short and to the point:
Sat down, waited a few minutes, our waiter came, we ordered 2 bloody marys. Waited a really long time for the drinks to arrive (the place was almost empty). The drinks came without blue-cheese stuffed olives, as described in the menu. The waiter comes back a few minutes later to ask if we're ready to order and I ask if we can have some olives. He comes back with regular martini olives, not blue-cheese ones. Ok, not a big deal.
We order 6 oysters, but want to try a few different kinds. This is the exact exchange that went down:
Friend: Which oysters do you recommend?
Waiter: Malbec and kamoto
Friend: I always eat Malbec, any other one you recommend?
Friend: Okay we'd like to try another one as well.
Friend: I always eat Malbec, any other one you recommend?
Waiter: Malbec and Kamoto.
Okay.... SO thinking he was in a bad mood, or something else, we ordered the rest of our meal. The oysters take 20 minutes, no exaggeration, kinda long for an empty restaurant. The plate arrives with no small oyster forks. He doesn't give us any small plates either, even though he gave us two pieces of bread (and no butter, isnt this a brasserie?)
We finish the oysters, with our dining forks, we leave them and he doesn't pick them up. So I guess i'm eating my croque monsieur with an oystery fork. I order another bloody mary, it arrives in one of those long tall glasses but no straw (the first time it had one). Pretty hard to drink out of that glass, especially as it's filled to the top with ice).
My monsieur arrives, it's okay, nothing great, but incredibly greasy and almost soggy. My friends burger was pretty close to medium, as he asked. I tasted it -- the meat tasted okay.
We finish our meals. After another very long stretch our waiter comes and we ask for the bill. For 120 dollars, I expect better service at the least. Not sure whether it was due to the waiter, or growing pains, but execution of service was sorely lacking (as is unfortunately the case with most spots in this town.)
Not sure how it broke down exactly, though I recall the mary's being 12 bucks each. He had a large Chimay as well (4 drinks total) My friend payed for it; I assume 120 must have included the tip. In any case, my beef was mostly with the service as coupled with the not exactly inexpensive, but not exorbitant, tally.
Hey I had the same blue cheese olive problem! I couldn't tell if they actually gave me the right bloody mary (there are three kinds). The waiter brought me the blue cheese olives on a piece of paper bar napkin!
I've been there for dinner and brunch, and the experience was night and day--literally. Dinner: service from the time I stepped in the door to the time we left: excellent, all around. Food: excellent.
Brunch: Host: great. Waiter: horrible. Food: lukewarm!
weird. must've been a bad waiter. my experience for brunch has been excellent. i remember even commenting to my wife that the waiter was almost too nice. it was a little weird even. like he was a little to chipper, and he came to ask if everything was to our satisfaction like 8 times in the meal. anyways, guess it's all luck of the draw as for waiters. which at a place like anisette, should not be the case.
I was also sort of underwhelmed by Anisette, but decided not to post on it, b/c the disappointment had more to do with the bad service, not the actual food.
We took a friend and her husband out for dinner for her birthday about 3 weeks ago. It's definitely Balthazar-esque in appearance as all have noted. We had reservations and were seated promptly. Three of us decided to split one of the seafood towers that came very highly recommended and looked very tempting and the birthday girl opted to start with the diver scallops appetizer. Her scallops arrived before EVERYTHING -- wine, water, and a good 15 minutes before our seafood tower. They were tasty and pillowy in texture. but she felt very sheepish about eating before we had anything and we had to urge her to start before everything got cold. She was done a good 5 minutes before our appetizer came. Awkward.
The seafood tower arrived -- our server really couldn't identify any of the various oysters we had "um..these are oysters, here are clams, some mussels, a different type of oyster, crab leg" you get the idea. Very good however. We had a wonderful Sancerre with our appetizers.
For mains I had the beef tenderloin which was extraordinarliy rich and I could not get through it. I ate it the next day. Again, dishes were not served in any sort of coordinated fashion, which is amateurish in the extreme, regardless of the quality of the food. I think everyone enjoyed their food, but we were really thrown off by the complete lack of rhythm in the service.
I too have hesitated to post my criticisms, not about the food or service but about one of the specialty menu cocktails, figuring that I was nitpicking. However, it seems to me that Anisette's shortfalls, whether food/bar and/or service, means that somebody is not micromanaging the place, as any high-concept service industry business must be.
My complaint: the rum drink on the specialty menu is made with Bacardi rum (c'mon, find a premium rum for your specialty menu, this is equivalent to using Jose Cuervo in a tequila-based rink), and horrifically, the bartender pulled out a can of pineapple juice to add to the mix. It is not difficult to juice fresh pineapple, and you avoid the boost of BPA to your drink (controversial material lining inside of cans).
A continued lack of attention to details will only demonstrate in the future an overconfident attitude and other conceits of mismanagement. I hope they get the correct balance of ambition and humility in the near future as it is a beautiful venue.
Sorry I had to chuckly when I read about the service of the entree before anything else. I went for lunch on Thursday and while my app/ entree arrived in order and on time. The table next to me did not! As they were eating their soup, the waiters came with 1entree, then realized his gaffe and went back to the kitchen. Then the seafood tower arrived (looked really good) they were enjoying that when I saw them come back with 2 other entrees! After a discussion among waiters, they sent those back too. The kitchen and waiters don't seem to have good pace/ timing with each other.