Monday, January 9, 2012

Annisa - Review

Annisa - Dude Grade: C+
13 Barrow St, New York 10014
(Btwn 7th Ave S & W 4th St)
Phone: (212) 741-6699

I was looking for a place to take out the wife for her birthday and I thought Annisa would be a fun place to try. The wife generally likes more casual places with fun Asian influences, so Annisa sounded like it would fit the bill. Plus, it was ranked 15th on Adam Platt's Top 101 restaurants in NYC list. There were definitely some delicious things on the menu, but it seemed a bit inconsistent with some total misses. Not bad by any means and the wife and I had a nice night out. Apologies for the dark pictures - there were a couple sitting right next to us, so didn't want to blow up their romantic night by rocking the flash on the camera.

Our Menu
Chicken Livers Amuse **
The first bite of the night and it was pretty delicious. Smooth and airy chicken livers with great flavor topped with some dried fruit in a delicate crunchy tart.

Eggplant with Two Turkish Chilis in Yogurt Water
Two cold eggplants that were stuffed with two types of chiles. Average flavor and something that you might get from an average deli. Yogurt water was gimmicky - sour and a little cooling effect to play off the chiles.

Unagi and Taro Chawan Mushi **
Great texture and incredibly addicting to eat. Egg custard with pieces of unagi, crispy taro, delicious broth, and perfectly cooked rice.

Broiled Spanish Mackerel with Garlic Fried Milk, Satsumaimo and Korean Chili *

Mackerel was cooked nicely, but what made this pop was the kimchi type sauce. Really delicious sauce that played off wonderfully against the oily fish. Definitely going to steal that idea next time I try to cook a fancy pants fish dish at home.

Rabbit with Red Scallions and Japanese Curry

Think thin fried chicken cutlet cut into chicken strips, but replace rabbit with the chicken. It was dry and under seasoned. The curry was pretty average as well. The thigh meat was delicious though.

Poppyseed Bread and Butter Pudding with Meyer Lemon Curd **

Really moist, buttery, and creamy bread pudding. Probably the best bread pudding I've ever had. Delicious with the bright lemon curd.

Pear Posset with Elderflower and Shiso*
A nice light dessert - posset is generally made with cream I believe, but this was much lighter. Nice bright touches with the shiso

Petit Four *
Papaya lollipop, candied ginger, and chocolate nuts. Fun, light bites to close out the evening.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (C+) – A couple of great dishes, but a couple of misses. Meal felt pretty inconsistent.
  • Service (C+) – Server was very friendly, but the food took a while to come out. Also, it was tough to get the servers attention to get a drink.
  • Atmosphere (B) – A pretty small spot seating maybe 50 or under. Place was on the darker side and was relatively quiet. It was pretty clean and very white - walls, tablecloths, etc. Clientele consisted of half couples 20's-40's and large groups wearing suits. Place was completely full for a Monday night around 9ish.
  • Price (B-) – $78 for 5 courses at an upper echelon restaurant is a solid deal. Unfortunately, some slight misses on the service and food take it down a notch for me.
Closing Comments
A decent restaurant, but not my cup of tea. If I want this style of food, I would hit up any Momofuku as you're guaranteed to have all delicious dishes. If you are looking for a more peaceful setting like Annisa with this style of food, I would go to En Japanese Brasserie nearby.

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