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May 14, 2012 04:55 PM

Annisa: Small and lovely, with gorgeous, sexy food...short review

We had a wonderful dinner here last Saturday, at the ungodly early hour of 5:30, the only time I could get a reservation. Fabulous, our kind of place down to the ground.

Cocktails: a single-malt Irish on the rocks for him and "The Nash" for me, like a passionfruit-tasting barely-sweet Tom Collins, a perfect cocktail.

We went with the 3-course option. Appetizers: for me eggplant in yogurt water and 2 kinds of Turkish chilis (cold steamed Chinese eggplant in 2 1/2" sections, topped with yogurt and chives, very refreshing), for him artichoke gnocco (square, topped w roasted artichoke hearts, both very savory).

Main courses: tenderloin of veal with morels, fiddleheads, and (lightly pickled) rhubarb for me, for him Wagyu tenderloin with escargots and a mushroom I had never heard of for him (umami cubed). Both meats appeared to have been cooked sous-vide and then browned. Mine was supposed to come with tempura veal brains but I had it without, because I was just getting over a nasty stomach virus. Had I been paying attention to the brains being tempura, I would have had the dish as it was intended. Next time.

Desserts, a pear posset for him and the pecan beignets with Bourbon milk ice for me (oh BOY, the beignets were filled with pockets of salted caramel syrup and pecans, amazing, and so good with the ice, love temperature contrast).

Bottle of Collioure with and a glass of Sauternes after (it was served a tiny bit too cold, the only fault I could possibly find with the experience). V good coffee. Excellent wine list, lots of not terribly expensive but very interesting bottles. The wine director was very helpful and hit the nail on the head with that Collioure.

Mignardises -- tiny popsicles, candied ginger, and a cold mint truffle like the best ever After Eight.

Sexy food, excellent service (humorous and warm, à la mode de Taillevent). Very attractive room.
$300 with tip ($22 of that was for the Sauternes), ratio prix/qualité the best we've come across in the city. (It was pleasantly buzzy by the time we left, but by no matter of means loud.)

The option of a 5 or 7 course tasting menu tailored to your tastes is also offered. The people beside us were having the 7-course tasting. I would have had to have been carried out of the restaurant had we done that, the courses were about the same size as the ones we got (so if you stay away from tasting menus because of fear of getting tiny bits of this and that, this is your ideal place).

All this and Betty Carter as part of the unobtrusive background music. Our new occasion restaurant.

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  1. Detailed description of eggplant in yogurt water, please.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pikawicca

      That's about as detailed as I can get, the sections were set on end, served cold, in a soup plate with a tangy, clear liquid with the chili flakes in it.

    2. What a fabulous-sounding meal. Anita Lo is one of the best chefs around. Maybe time to look at her cookbook?

      1 Reply
      1. re: roxlet

        Absolutely want to see that book now.

      2. Sounds wonderful. Happy it worked out so well!

        1. Glad to hear you had a wonderful evening. It was likely one of the best meals we had last year, if not The Best.

          1. Forgot to mention the people who ordered the tasting were asked if their tastes were more for mild or spicy foods. A spicy tasting menu? Oh yeah. Please.

            10 Replies
                1. re: buttertart

                  Spicy tasting menu for the win! I have to go to this place.

                  1. re: Pan

                    Having some sense of your likes from reading you here, I think you'll enjoy it a lot.

                    1. re: Pan

                      Great! Then you'll be able to resolve the pressing issue of whether this place is noisy or not.

                      1. re: Sneakeater

                        I can tolerate a fair degree of noise, so it would have to be _really_ noisy, to the extent that it's challenging to have a conversation, or because they're playing pounding dance music, to bother me.

                        1. re: Pan

                          It was relatively sedate at 8 or so on Saturday night.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            That's because Saturday night isadate night

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              And the rest of the week is loud music PARTAY nights? Didn't strike me as likely to attract that crowd.

                      2. re: Pan

                        At the 5-course tasting the other weekend, she served a mackerel with spicy barbecue sauce that was just one of the best dishes ever.