As I get older, my quick recall has become delayed. So when someone says, "where should we go to dinner" or
"what are your favorite restaurants right now"? I go blank. It is like turning the computer on. I sort of need a second to boot up, then I'm good to go.
The beauty of Open Table is that I really do not need to boot up. Also, you don't need to call a bunch of different restaurants to see if there is availability. I am pretty sure Open Table is only given a certain percentage of the tables available so calling might get you in when Open Table can't but it is a beautiful thing to go online and pick a neighborhood to find a restaurant. Pure ease.
My friend made reservations for the four of us at Annisa on Thursday afternoon for Friday evening. I love Annisa. I was surprised they had an opening. Last night was probably my fifth time there. As Fred said, it is a very adult restaurant. My friend said, you mean you can see the menu and hear? We all thought that was quite funny but spot on.
The ambience is soothing. The service is wonderful. It as if you have entered Anita Lo's dining room. You are her guests. The room glows, the music is soft and the food is delicious.
I like the way the bar has only about 6 seats and looks over Bedford Street. This part of Bedford Street is off the beaten path so generally quiet. The eating area is behind the bar and raised up so there really is a separation. The bar says, sit here while we get your table ready and then we will guide you upstairs to sit. Elegant.
The menu is interesting. One of those menus where what you read is not what you expect. Always worth having the waiter explain the nuances of the dish. I began with pickled oysters. 6 pickled oysters that were placed on small squares of brown bread topped with sauerkraut and a spot of a mustard oil in front of the bread to pull through en route to your mouth. So good and so clever. Two of us went with the oysters. The other two went with the spicy eggplant. Half a baby eggplant that had been grilled with a spicy seasoning. Placed on top of a thick Greek yogurt next to a perfectly round mound of lentils. Delicious. Fred and my friend were espousing about Greek yogurt and the waiter came by and told us about the yogurt and where we could buy yogurts packed over roasted fig compote. Loved that. He even gave us the card of the place where we could get the yogurts.
Next came the main courses. All beautiful and all delicious. I went with the 4 M's. Madai with morels, mitusba and myoga. Japanese red snapper, crispy skin side up, over a bunch of Japanese mushrooms and a brown Asian flavored sauce. Absolutely sublime. My friend had the Miso marinated sable that was silky and buttery placed over a large piece of homemade tofu in a bonito broth. Light and full of flavor. Someone else had the skate. A fanned out piece of skate, browned served over an avocado radish salad. Interesting and almost hearty infused with Korean flavors. Fred had the short-ribs that had been braising for a very long time and served with a burdock root and Japanese mustard. One bite of short-ribs literally melted in my mouth.
Dessert, how could you not? One thing for the four of us. I love bread puddings so we ordered that. A small square bread pudding that almost looked like kugel with a browned top. Shaving of lemon through out the dessert and served over a lemon sauce. Incredibly light.
Such a nice night and such delicious food. Glad we went back, would go back anytime. Annisa has been around since 2000 and I can't imagine that it won't be around in 2010. Annisa will certainly be here for many years to come.