Posted by: Hungry Korean | May 3, 2010


You may have seen this chef on Top Chef Masters – Anita Lo. She is this tiny cute asian woman that can really do mean things in the kitchen. Several years ago, her restaurant, Annisa, had a kitchen fire that destroyed the place. Recently they reopened the restaurant and Cookie Monster was on it – he got a reservation for us ASAP. We headed over there Saturday night.

The restaurant is small and sleek and a lot more upscale than we had anticipated. It verges very closely to being stuffy but it’s small enough that it still retains a relaxed atmosphere.  Instead of doing the 5 or 7 course tasting, we decided to make a mini version of our own.

He started with the tuna two ways: warm and cold. Warm was just seared tuna. The cold was a great tuna tartare.
I opted to be a bit more adventurous and got the steamer clams with chives three ways:

SIGH. Honestly this plate is absolutely divine! I have not had anything like this in so long.  To the left is the clam tartare: the siphon and chewier parts of a clam chopped up and incorporated with what had the texture of potatoes were molded to be like a clam tartare. The clam was not chewy at all and you could really taste the delicious garlicky chives. The middle is the clam bellies marinated in a garlic miso sauce with marinated ramps. THAT SAUCE WAS AMAZING! Infused into the really tender soft and delicious clam bellies, my tongue did a dance of joy. It’s just the clam bellies so you place one of those small sacs in your mouth and when you bite down, its a sea infused flavor explosion. I mopped up the rest of that sauce with my bread. To the far right is fried clams. The clams were lightly breaded and not too heavily fried and definitely not greasy. I really have not had something that made me swoon like this in so long….wow.

We shared the much raved about foie gras soup dumplings:

I think you were supposed to eat the foie gras with the dumpling but we ate it first and separately. Really rich and unctuous duck liver with this amazing crusty carmelized outside. It was a perfect contrast to that creamy liver that melts in your mouth. I chewed slowly to savor each one. The dumpling was filled with a foie gras juice and some chopped jicama. Similar to Joe’s Shanghai dumplings, you place a dumpling on a soup spoon, nibble a bite, suck out the broth inside and then eat the rest. I wasn’t totally in love with the dumpling itself but Cookie Monster loved them. I prefer Joe’s Shanghai soup dumplings – he has yet to try it and we’ll see what he says when he does.

For main course, I got the veal tenderloin with sweetbreads, oyster and artichokes in a black truffle sauce.

Sound decadent enough for you? Cuz it was. Small tender and plump oysters scatter the dish with sauce that had flecks of black truffles. Sweetbreads were delicious and creamy (aka chicken nuggets) with a nice crusty breading. The veal was cooked to pink and incredibly tender. Wow. It’s like everything you want on a plate. It’s a higher version of your traditional surf and turf. Yummers.

Cookie Monster got the butter poached lobster with sweet pea mash.

OH MY GOODNESS! The lobster was perfectly cooked and totally infused with a buttery flavor due to that butter poaching. He was nice enough to give me two bites and each one had me wanting more. The sweet pea mash was very “green” tasting and an interesting and delicious twist to mashed potatoes. It was elegant and herby and light. We both agreed that this was an awesome dish and worth coming back for. (So my next visit will have to be the clams and this lobster dish.)

For dessert Cookie Monster got the mille feuille with strawberries and cream (it was ok):

And I got the beignets:

These beignets are bite size and have nutty pecans cooked in the dough. But in the center of each beignet, the pastry cups this wonderful salty butterscotch sauce that oozes into your mouth when you bite down. We couldn’t eat these fast enough. This is your perfect combination of salty and sweet and it’s slightly fried. It’s like mini funnel cakes! We kept talking about these the next day. The cup was bourbon milk ice and it was pretty strong so we didn’t finish that.

To finish up the restaurant gives us a palate cleanser:

To the left are tiny popsicle of pineapple juice, some candied ginger and chocolate mint truffle. Cute.

This meal was amazing. At the end Anita came out to talk to some patrons next to us. Funny enough, I overheard their conversation and they were talking about people that take pictures of their food and it sounded like Anita is not a fan – she even mentioned perhaps putting up a sign that says “No photos”. hmmmmm. And this is why I never bring a full on camera to restaurants….

Run, do not walk, to Annisa. It was amazing from start to finish!

Annisa, 13 Barrow Street, New York, NY



  1. You need flash on your camera… or maybe you need to stop using your iPhone. =)

  2. WOW, sounds amazing. I really like her so I am happy she is back! Oh and btw, what’s with you and all the desserts?!?!?!

    • haha – Danielle – it’s all Mike’s doing! I normally pass on dessert when i dine without him! 😀

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