We got a gift certificate to Annisa from Page Six (thanks, Page Six!) last summer and we finally used it last week. Cookie Monster and I have both been to Annisa several times and we both love the food for it’s ingenuity and wonderful flavors. Cookie Monster has declared Annisa his favorite restaurant in NYC!
We both went our typical dining plan of an appetizer each, share the foie gras soup dumplings and then an entree each. The menu had changed since we were last there as Annisa has a menu that changes seasonally.
The restaurant served us an amuse bouche of chicken liver in tiny tiny tart cups. The chicken liver was fantastic! SO creamy and deliciously seasoned. I could have had 10 more of the little treats. My appetite was whetted….
Cookie Monster started with the braised wild boar belly appetizer with unagi, daikon and apple.
That fried unagi (sea eel) on top is unreal. I mean seriously. It’s not greasy but delicately crunchy and then you have that meaty sweet unagi inside. The boar belly was not gamey at all but braised to a lovely, tender piece of meat. There is daikon (which is like a radish) sitting at the base of the unagi and boar belly tower and it was soft and had absorbed all the braising liquid which was like a sweet soy. Speaking of which, that spoon with the small round sphere is a jelly encasing the braising liquid! The server recommended that Cookie Monster eat that first then go on with the rest of the plate. Cookie Monster said it just coats the tongue and sort of preps it for the boar belly. YUM!
I had the tuna served two ways: hot and cold.
The left was the “cold” tuna – tuna tartare. The right was the “hot” – seared tuna filet. I LOVED the tuna tartare. It was addictively delicious and the little green cubes were basil cubes I think? The tartare was topped with some chunky sea salt so each bite had a nice salty crunch to it. The “hot” tuna was ok. Nothing new or innovative but it was cooked perfectly rare. Cookie Monster definitely chose the better appetizer this time around – I was green eyed.
We shared the foie gras soup dumplings which Annisa is known for:
The order actually comes with 3 dumplings but they added an extra so we each got two. I love the seared foie gras on top of the dumpling. I usually eat that first and alone because I want to enjoy the taste of the unctuous duck liver on its own. The dumpling (I believe) is stuffed with foie gras jus and jicama. I’m not a huge fan of the soup dumpling itself but I can never say no to anything with foie gras in it. Cookie Monster adores this appetizer and we get it every time.
For main, Cookie Monster got the roasted rack of lamb with South African flavors.
The lamb chops were cooked perfectly pink with a side of lovely fall root vegetables and a small round of what tasted like ground lamb gyro. That little round of ground lamb was delicious! I love gyro and the spices used were very similar to gyro spices I thought.
I got the pan roasted filet of monkfish with savoy cabbage, langoustine, monkfish liver and in a chicken liver sauce.
The solo langoustine was cooked perfectly as was the fleshy monkfish filet. The savoy cabbage added a nice vegetable component as well as texture to the plate. However, I found the chicken liver sauce just ok. I thought I would love it (as a huge fan of chicken liver) but I can’t explain it…something was missing from that sauce and I felt it failed to bring all the separate pieces of this dish together. The monkfish liver (that small round perched on top) was very fishy so for those of you that aren’t used to that type of flavor, beware. I thought the dish missed something overall and although I enjoyed the plate, it wasn’t my favorite thing I’ve ever eaten at Annisa. I was a bit disappointed.
For dessert we got the butterscotch filled beignets:
These tiny morsels of fried dough are filled with that buttery sweet sauce and just gush out into your mouth when you bite down. There is a side of scotch liquor sorbee but we find it way too strong (alcoholic content wise) and usually leave it alone. This is our “go to” dessert at Annisa.
The night is rounded off with Annisa’s petite fours, compliments of the restaurant:
I love Annisa and will continue to come to this restaurant. The room is elegant and the waitstaff is incredibly friendly and attentive. The food is so delicious and done in such interesting ways, I am never unsatisfied when I walk out. You must try Annisa.
Annisa, 13 Barrow Street, New York, NY