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Anisette - very disappointing!

j
josephnl Oct 13, 2008 02:53 PM

After reading many nice things about Anisette, we finally went there for dinner last evening and were extremely disappointed with everything except our server who was very nice and capable.

First...with regard to the ambiance. I have been to France and Paris many times (10-15x), and have eaten in many bistros. I cannot recall any that was as cold and lacking in ambiance as Anisette. It is so large and the overall lack of warmth made it seem, to me and my dining companion at least, very unattractive. Sure, Parisian bistros often have small tables, especially those that attract primarily guests who may want only a glass of wine, or a coffee and a croque, a few oysters, or other snack. However, the minute tables at Anisette are a bit ridiculous for persons who want a full meal and feel reasonably comfortable. Most bistros in France are much more comfortable than Anisette, especially if they are the least bit serious about their food and want to attract a dinner crowd.

With regard the food...it was also very disappointing. We started with cocktails which were fine. Also the bread was pretty good, but certainly not memorable.

I had the pate maison and my friend had an heirloom tomato salad to start with. The pate was extraordinarily (overly) rich and creamy and not especially flavorful. Admittedly, I was expecting something more rustic and coarse, or perhaps a terrine, so I was disappointed. Nevertheless, the pate was very mediocre at best. My friends salad was likewise ok, but certainly nothing special.

For entrees, I had the moules frites and my friend had the steak frites, both of which were also just ok. True, I have recently been to Prince Edward Island in Canada, where I had freshly harvested mussels at least once a day (sometimes twice) and they were spectacular. Nevertheless, those served at Anisette were just ok. I have had much better mussels elsewhere in southern CA, most recently at Marche Moderne in Costa Mesa, and the Brussels Bistro in Laguna Beach. Similarly, my friend's steak frites was just ok...certainly nothing special.

Perhaps after reading many positive reviews on chow, and in the local press, we expected too much. In our opinion, Anisette is very mediocre and would never succeed in Paris, or even New York. We wondered if it will last in LA. For a simple bistro meal, we really prefer Mimosa in LA, and for something much more upscale, but still bistro food, Marche Moderne is way better.

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  1. lotta_cox Oct 13, 2008 03:25 PM

    I too find Anisette disappointing in ambience and food. Naturally, it would be impossible to create the same feeling in a brand new structure that one gets in the decades and older bistros in Paris. However, the room is cavernous and feels cold and impersonal. I want to love it. I am hoping they iron out the glitches by the next time I go back. So sad, so much potential in terms of chef an location. Le sigh.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lotta_cox
      y
      yogachik Oct 13, 2008 04:24 PM

      Yay! More room for me!

      The more people are disappointed, the easier it is for the rest of us to get a table. I love it there, never had a disappointing meal (except the 2 times they ran out of croissants in the morning, by 10AM). When I want to be transported to France (which I visit annually), I go there, and get my fix.

    2. c
      carter Oct 13, 2008 09:48 PM

      God, if it is as disappointing as you say, and yet you would rather dine at Mimosa, it must be awful. Mimosa is so ho-hum, yet to make that comparison really does Anisette more injustice than I had heard.
      Personally, I am going to try it myself, ignore all the naysayers, judge for myself. There is too much suspect info on every side of the discussion that it deserves a try.

      2 Replies
      1. re: carter
        j
        josephnl Oct 14, 2008 07:38 AM

        I'd love for you "carter" to try it and hear what you say. I agree that the food at Mimosa is rather "ho-hum" but not moreso than Anisette. Nevertheless, I find the overall ambiance there is much more pleasant that the rather cavernous and cold Anisette.

        Are there others out there like "yogachick" who really like Anisette, or do others agree with me?

        1. re: josephnl
          Servorg Oct 14, 2008 07:42 AM

          I loved my food at Anisette, and when you factor in the price it really shines. I had the foie gras and the beef daub. Both were outstanding. This is not Providence or Ortolan style food however. Much more "rustic" for lack of a better word at the moment. And I love the space too. Great energy/vibe.

      2. carln Oct 14, 2008 07:52 AM

        Anisette and Mimosa are not even in the same league. I thought that Anisette did a nice job and i think that Mimosa sucks. I had one of the best sweetbread dishes as an app at Anisette and was very impressed. Its not my favorite restaurant in town, but i think its unfair to say its worst than mimosa. just my two cents.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carln
          j
          josephnl Oct 14, 2008 11:52 AM

          I thoroughly agree that Mimosa is not great, but my one experience at Anisette was not great either. The food that we were served on this past Sunday night was just ok, and the overall ambiance in my opinion was less comfortable and pleasant than Mimosa. Perhaps the food was not typical on Sunday, but the minute tables would be uncomfortable any night, and the cold, cavernous room will not change. Sorry, but I guess my experience matched that of "lotta_cox", and I doubt that I will return for dinner, but perhaps breakfast or lunch if I am in the area.

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