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Anisette & Absinthe

Frommtron | Jun 13, 2008 04:55 PM

I stopped by Anisette this morning to give it a looksie before planning a full-scale assault with a group and was knocked out.

I have to say that I wasn't wild about its location so close to mall-like promenade. I like Santa Monica more than most but I do think the Promenade quite lame. Once through the door though I stopped caring. Thie place is gorgeous from the tile details on the floor, through the smooth zinc bar, and up to the pressed tin ceilings with two-panel fans.

I sat at the bar and decided to test the place by ordering the omelette. I did the same recently at Comme Ca and it was an unmitigated failure as it was the worst omelette I've had in memory. Anisette nailed it, in their own way. They served a beautifully cooked disc of egg, not a rolled or folded omelette, without a hint of brown. It was just done, slightly custardy on top and studded with goat cheese. There was tarragon thoughout the egg and it was topped with sauteed diced eggplant, sliced asparagus stems, roasted red pepper, baby spinach and shallot. Last, fresh wild arugala was placed on top of that. That's when I thought, "I know this arugala. This is from Maggie's Farm. What a PERFECT location for a brasserie!" Think about it! Easy access to some of the best seasonal produce in the nation every Wednesday and Saturday. Not a bad foundation to say the least. So, I found the omelette wonderful, despite its fritatta-like disc shape and gained an appreciation for it's location to boot. The place won me over.

{The capaccino was completely competent as well, although don't expect, Luxxe/Inteligentsia/LA Mill level.}

That's all well and good, but it isn't the best part by a long shot. While sitting at the bar I carefully perused their stock. Very rudimentary whiskey offerings, barely better scotch, even the aperitifs seemed a little paltry, and then I looked up a little further. Hmmm. That's a GREAT shelf of absinthe. Wow. My eyes went up to the next level. Shock. That's a BRILLIANT shelf of ansinthe. Eyes up to the next level. GODDAMN! That's the best selection of absinthe I've ever seen. It beats out a fantastic absinthe-only bar in Antibes that I've been missing ever since I first stumbled out of it. This is serious. This is for real. This is incredibly dangerous for me but I'm in love anyway.

This is all a bit unfair as the moment I make this discovery for myself, I know I'll be leaving LA for about a month. But, of course, that wont stop YOU.

Get a group of 3-5 people, have the bartender set you guys up with an absinthe fountain, pick a few absinthes to sample, and louche it up!

In short, the food is fantastic, the absinthe selection is world class, and the atmospere is on point and bustling in a good way. It'll cost you a pretty penny but if you have a love for simple French cooking done well and a taste for absinthe then you owe it to yourself.

Oh yeah. And the bartender mentioned that dinner service will start this Monday so there's that.

Enjoy!

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