Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dining Out | Annisa

Last night was a special one, as Mr. V took me to Annisa to celebrate our four year anniversary. Tucked away on Barrow Street in the West Village, Annisa is the flagship restaurant of Anita Lo, who has risen to culinary fame due to her restaurant's critical praise, a successful cookbook, and stints on Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters.

Mr. V and I met at the restaurant due to our work schedules, which really made it feel like a date (cohabitors will especially understand this). The decor at Annisa is minimalist, and manages to be cozy and quiet, largely due to its intimate size. To start the night, Mr. V ordered a bourbon on the rocks and I decided on a crisp glass of a Sauvignon Blanc from Burgundy. We were greeted with a very nice amuse-bouche, two tiny pastry shells filled with a white bean purée and topped with a marinated anchovy, which were flavorful and set a nice tone for the meal.

We decided to share two appetizers and two entrées, which our server offered to pre-split and serve in courses for us. We began with a very delicate dish, Eggplant with Two Turkish Chilis in Yogurt Water. The texture of the eggplant was highlighted by its deliciously subtle preparation, and it offered a slight kick of spice on my final bite. We followed that with the Cauliflower Gnocco with Hazelnuts and Sheep's Cheese, a rich and truly delectable bite that was Mr. V's favorite of the night.

To start our main courses, we shared the Miso Marinated Sable with Crispy Silken Tofu in Bonito Broth. A hallmark dish of Lo and a nod to her Chinese heritage, this was perhaps the most memorable plate for me due to the complexity of the tasty broth. We also devoured the Duo of Arctic Char with Savoy Cabbage, Pine Nuts, and Dill. The fish was perfectly cooked, and the cabbage was a delicious accompaniment to the hearty and boldly flavored protein.

For dessert, Mr. V had the Tasting of Chocolate and Malted Desserts, four small but powerful cocao bites. I ordered the Pecan and Salted Butterscotch Beignets with Bourbon Milk Ice, which were refreshing, sweet, and succulent. I'm not typically a dessert person, and I found this to be a wonderful end to the meal. After the desserts, we were brought three treats as final bites: miniature pineapple popsicles, strips of candied ginger, and frozen mint chocolate truffles...All were delightful! Overall, the food at Annisa felt pure and unpretentious, and the service was prompt without being overly attentive. I'd highly recommend it for a night out of your own! I was very lucky to have such a scrumptious meal with Mr. V, who is always the best company. This anniversary felt particularly special, and I feel so lucky to have him by my side. We finished the evening with a nightcap at Joseph Leonard, a restaurant just around the corner - another favorite that I'll write about in the future!

Image one by The Village Voice via Grand Life Hotels; Images two and three by Paul Goguen/Bloomberg; Image four via twofatbellies.

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