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Oct 23, 2008 05:38 PM

Anisette Lunch

Had a disappointing lunch at Anisette today. After hearing some good things about it, I finally made it there for my first visit.

They did a nice job with the room; think Balthazar or Pastis, but not quite. I had the frisee lardons oeufs salad which was bad; it was extremely small, with an overcooked, almost hard boiled egg, and literally 6 tiny crumbles of overcooked bacon - what can only be described as a ripoff for $12 (total food cost < $1). I followed this with the steak tartare appetizer, which I did not enjoy, and I did not eat (I believe they did not charge for it, but I was not paying, ,so I am not sure). The tartare was very course, vinegary, and loaded with capers, and the meat was not tasty; YMMV, but I really did not like it at all. This was a meal of inauthentic copies of classic French brasserie food; frankly, the food is better at the pseudo-French place at The Grove. My dining partner had the chicken, which he said was fine, but not great. The waiter, and service in general, was excellent. It seems significantly overpriced, especially for lunch, considering what they are delivering.

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  1. the whole anisette debacle is making me sad. i was so excited to have a Balthazar-esque bistro here on the west coast.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lotta_cox

      What debacle is that? I consistently have a great meal each time I go, which is weekly. And the place is always packed, totally packed. The only thing that doesn't thrill me is that they've changed the menu a bit - for all meals.

      1. re: yogachik

        I agree - I've never had a bad meal at Anisette, and I eat there a lot.

    2. While I agree that not everything at Anisette is perfect, there's no way that anyone can assert that Monsieur Marcel is better.

      If you order correctly, it is possible and even likely that you can have a very good meal at Anisette. The last several times I've been to Monsieur Marcel they've served me completely ammoniated and horrible condition cheese. I could go to Trader Joes and make a better cheese plate in two seconds.

      1. Sorry, but I'm going to question your authenticity as I've had the tartare multiple times and the capers are always to the side. There's something suspect about your review or your dining experience.

        From my dining experiences (and I've almost been in once a week ever since they've opened), the food has been admirable and completely "French Brasserie" -- nothing faux about it. I'm pleased that Santa Monica has more french places and at a cheaper price point (and open the full day, seeing as my work hours don't fit traditional schedules.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: brunello

          You mean there was something fishki about the review? Considering Alain Giraud's "Provenance," the OP's calling his food an inauthentic copy is odd to say the least. The food at Anisette (mostly) favorably reminds me of brasseries I have eaten in while in France.

          1. re: New Trial

            The tartar was one of the worst versions I have ever had - it was swimming in sauce and the capers are not on the side. Pictures here:


        2. I couldn't agree with you more. This place opened to great expectations, and unless they make big changes fast they will surely close. I don't even like the room which I feel is so large and cold that it in no way evokes a Parisian bistro. The seating is uncomfortable with the smallest tables I've ever seen. The service we had on our last visit was poor. All of the food we had was just barely ok. Nothing was exceptional and overall the experience was such that we would never return to this place.

          Although Mimosa is clearly pretty mediocre, we would go there any day over returning to Anisette. For a wonderful French bistro experience (admittedly more expensive, but on a totally different level), head south to Marche Moderne at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. You will not be disappointed...and their $20 prix-fixe lunch is a bargain!

          1. I'm with those who are pleased with Annisette - have dined there numerous times now, for lunch, dinner AND breakfast (which is a treat - empty and quiet on weekdays) and with the exception of one indifferent server have nothing but good feelings for the place. I'm a Francophile and this is, I think, as good as LA has got.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mark Sarvas

              I too am an unrepentant Francophile (have been to France at least a dozen times, and will return to Provence in the spring) and truly crave good bistro food in L.A. I just don't think Anisette is it. I've been a few times and as stated above am totally underwhelmed.

              Aside from Anisette, and Mimosa which is quite tired, is there any such thing in L.A.? The best I have found is Marche Moderne in Costa Mesa.