went to a flick at the kendall, and upon recommendations from these boards, my friend and i stopped at anise. i'd never been to the space's previous incarnation so was surprised at how big it is. it was about 6:45 on saturday night.
there were about 5 parties in the dining room. we sat at the bar, with 2 other couples and a few people at the adjacent hightops. a young female bartender who was so slow and so inept at multi-tasking i felt sorry for her rather than annoyed. there is something painful about watching a bartender who can only do one thing at a time. the house cocktails all seemed of the sticky sweet variety so we had a manhattan and vodka martini. she nearly broke her wine key trying to open a bottle for people next to us, and nobody had silverware before their food arrived.
the menu was surprising in that you don't see stuff like chicken hearts all that often. we ordered the dumplings and "hot and numbing chicken." the dumplings were tasty but the sauce was very oily. the chicken was chunks that were mildly spicy and tasty, but i kept getting bits of cartilage -- ick.
neither of those dishes made us want to order anything else.
you need a sextant and the north star to find the restrooms. a sign might be nice. then you have to go to an exterior hall and downstairs (as cold as outside). the men's room was a mess, filthy, with a broken toilet seat on the floor and the urinals covered over with plastic.
when we left at 8:00 there was one party in the dining room. i won't go back, but then again i don't see much of a future for the place. i'll stick with the blue room next time i'm at the kendall, tyvm.