New York City Review: Annisa

13 Barrow Street

I sat at the bar by myself for half an hour (reading Night by Elie Wiesel for class… how depresseing) until my friend Abby showed up, but my friend Mike was an hour late to dinner! Luckily it was a Wednesday night and not too busy so they didn’t seem too bothered by it.  But since high school, that’s been the story of my life- drinking by myself waiting for my friends at the bar…

Anyway, I was told that Annisa only had female staff but that turned out not to be true.  It was an elegant little restaurant- quite quiet with an older clientele.  I saw Chef Anita Lo walk into the restaurant but she didn’t greet any guests.  I think that the executive chef/owner should always greet their guests.  That’s how it is in Japan but I feel that famous chefs in the U.S. let it get to their heads and they forget that they are in the business of hospitality.  

Amuse bouche (Piquillo pepper paste with sardine) 
Clams (can’t remember what kind…) three ways: ceviche, sweet glaze bbq and fried.  The fried clams were a little overcooked and chewy and the glazed clams were a little oversalted.  I wish I had ordered another appetizer.

Abby’s Braised Boar Belly with Unagi, Daikon and Apple ($18): when I read boar with unagi, I was curious.  The unagi was crispy and actually paired nicely with the tender boar belly.
Mike’s Seared Foie Gras with Soup Dumplings and Jicama ($18): I would prefer plain old xiao long bao any day but it was okay.
Grilled Sea Scallops with Loofah and Sea Urchin ($35): I don’t think I did a very good job of choosing my dishes at Annisa.  For some reason I’ve never really had good sea urchin in the U.S. and Annisa was no exception.  The scallops were good and the loofah was interesting but overall this dish was nothing special.
Abby’s Pan Roasted Filet of Monkfish with Savoy Cabbage, Langoustine and Ankimo, Chicken Liver Sauce ($33).  This was a tasty dish and I was surprised to see ankimo (Monkfish liver) on the menu.  The langoustine was delicious of course.
 Mike’s Sauteed Filet of Wild Striped Bass with Creamed Kohlrabi and Bacon ($29).  The fish was cooked nicely and the creamed kohlrabi was my favorite part of the dish!
Chilled Pink Grapefruit, Elderflower and Fennel Soup with Almond Milk Jelly($9): was not too impressed with the presentation.  A very refreshing dessert but almond milk jelly at a fine dining restaurant? I guess it’s possible to make it work but this dessert was not that impressive.
Pecan and Salted Butterscotch Beignets with Bourbon Milk Ice Cream (on the house): these were slightly undercooked but absolutely delicious.  I liked the bourbon ice cream a lot.
Abby’s Tower of Caramelized Banana and Peanut Butter with Coconut Sauce ($9): hard to eat but pretty good.

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