One of our favorite restaurants is Annisa located in the West Village. Anita Lo is probably more famous for her appearances on Top Chef Masters and Top Chef but she’s also very well known for her beautifully executed seafood and fish plates. We’ve dined here several times before and have always had an amazing experience each time. The staff is incredibly friendly, the room is elegant without being overly stuffy and the food is mindblowing.
We discovered an interesting fact last night. We were asking about the boar belly appetizer and butter poached lobster we had on two previous occasions and our server told us, we will never see those exact dishes ever again. Apparently (with the exception some of the constants: the miso sable fish, the barbecued squid and foie gras soup dumplings), once Anito Lo is done with a dish, it will never appear again exactly like that on the menu again! :c
The amuse bouche was a warm and delicate pollack mouse: light and not fishy at all.
For appetizer, Cookie Monster had the appetizer portion of the cauliflower gnocco (think of it as just one huge chunk of gnocci) with hazelnuts and sheep’s cheese:
The gnocco was seriously light as air and I believe deep fried as the outer crust was incredibly crispy. It was crisp on the outside and smooth and silky on the inside. Beautiful rainbow cauliflower scattered over the top.
I had the bay scallop crudo with bottarga, crispy caviar and uni:
The scallops were so sweet. I love bottarga and crispy caviar and the brininess was intesified because they are both versions of dried fish roe. That intense saltiness was really wonderful against the sweet scallops and the acidity of the dressing. The uni of course was a highlight for me.
We of course, as always, shared the foie gras soup dumpling appetizer (and if you are dining as a pair, make sure you ask for an extra so you don’t fight over the third. A serving comes with three dumplings):
God – what does she do to that foie gras to get that perfectly caramelized crispy ouside on the duck fat? I chew really slowly when I eat this….to savor.
For main course, Cookie Monster got the pan roasted farm chicken with sherry, white truffle and pigs feet: (sorry for the photo – I was trying to take a discreet long distance shot)
Our server told us this would be the best chicken you would ever have…..and she was right. That brown sauce was a thick, deep mushroom gravy. The chicken had a very crispy skin that was perfectly seasoned. On the inside was the pigs feet and truffles rolled in with the moist chicken meat. It was truly the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. Succulent is a good word to describe it.
After much consideration between the sauteed filet of pollack (it had both bacon AND kimchee listed as an ingredient!) and the broiled Spanish mackerel, I went with the mackerel. It is served with garlic fried milk, satsumaimo and Korean chili:
YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY! Hands down one of the best fishes dishes I’ve ever had! Mackerel is a super oily fish so the flavors can be intense but she cooked that piece of fish wonderfully – not fishy at all but just moist with a great crispy skin. The bold flavors of the fish played really well with the Korean chili paste which acted as a sauce because the Korean paste is actually slightly sweet and a little vinegary too. The fried garlic milk was exactly that – so the outside was like a donut only inside it had a creamy interior. Everything went together so well and this was a full on flavor explosion. Cookie Monster had some food envy and we actually discussed coming back again very soon to have this plate again before it went away forever. I will remember this one.
For dessert we strayed from the beignets which we get every time and got the poppyseed bread and butter pudding with Meyer lemon curd:
haha poor Cookie Monster – i think he was a bit disappointed I didn’t stop eating this. Normally I have two bites of whatever dessert and I’m done but I went to town and just kept scooping up to my mouth. The lemon curd offset the rich butter bread pudding (you can definitely taste the butter) and there were butter fried croutons on top of the bread putting which was a nice crunchy contrast to the softer, moister bread pudding cake. This dessert was not overly sweet so I really liked it. It tasted almost like a really really fancy french toast.
The restaurant also gives you some cute desserts at the end of the meal complimentary – I did not take a photo as I’ve posted photos of this before but they were : candied ginger, chocolate mint and tiny lychee popsicles. They are all bite sized. (for photos on this and previous posts on Annisa, just do a search on my website)
How often do you go to a restaurant and have an amazing meal from start to finish? I cannot complain about anything I ate – everything was perfection in my book and it is the case everytime we go to Annisa. It isn’t cheap which is why we don’t “pop by” on whim and it’s somewhat of a treat but please do yourself a favor and go to Annisa in the near future to have that mackerel dish – I am passionate about that. It was THAT amazing.
I look forward to more Anita Lo’s delicious dishes in the future. My stomach thanks her very much.
Annisa, 13 Barrow Street, New York, NY