Hello... Montreal chowhounder here. Visited Annisa several weeks back and had a great dinner. This was my first visit since the fire, but have been there twice before. The restaurant continues to impress me by its understated elegance and its remarkable consistency in the high quality of the food and service.
Positives: (1) excellent food, (2) excellent service
Negatives: (1) cold wind coming in from the front door
Price: We spent $225 for three people for the five course tasting menu, and spent an additional $120 on wine and other drinks, all before tax and tip.
Two previous great meals drew me back to Annisa yet again on my latest visit to NYC. Sure, there are much fancier restaurants in town of a similar genre (focus on tasting menus with seasonal produce and modern cuisine of various styles…), but they can cost a lot more too for the incremental impact (Per Se, Daniel, etc.). Our group had a delightful dinner for $75 a person for the five-course tasting. Though this was only my third visit, I have seen Anita Lo there every time – does she ever take a day off? It may explain the wonderful consistency in the quality of the food.
Pics of the food are attached to this post.
The tasting delivered:
Grilled sea scallops with Chinese hairy melon and sea urchin – scallops were perfectly grilled, smoky and crispy on the outside, and warm and pink on the inside. The urchin sauce was fragrant and rich. The hairy melon was cooked tender and had a briny taste.
Veal tenderloin with sweetbread, artichokes, oyster and black truffles with foam – this was my second favourite item of the night. What an incredible mix of flavours and textures with the many different ingredients.
Spanish mackerel with orange, rapini and black mustard seed – I wasn’t a big fan of the mustard seeds (looks pretty), but everything else was delicious. The citrus acidity was a perfect complement to the mackerel.
Braised wild boar belly with unagi, daikon and apple – this was my favourite item of the night. The sauce that she used to braise the pork was so rich and layered (I’m sure the collagen from the pig skin and the slow braised fat helps too!). Unagi was amazing – buttery and flavourful. And… there was a jelly of the braising juices too – looked strange, but tasted sooo good.
The presentation of all the items was beautiful. The bone chinaware (white Rosenthal) was a perfect palette for the food.
Our table had the identical savory items (3 portions of each), but we got three different desserts:
Pink grapefruit, elderflower and fennel soup with Almond Jelly – refreshing and fragrant. I’m a huge fan of almond flavours. This was a very big dessert – a big bowl of grapefruit soup!
Poppyseed bread and butter pudding with meyer lemon curd – served warm, it was also a nice dessert for a cold night.
A quartet of chocolate and malt dessert samplings – also delicious – bubble tea, flourless molten chocolate cake, malt kulfi or frozen parfait… and I don’t remember what was the fourth item!
Service was polite and attentive, and yet not overly formal. The manager was very involved with the service and checked in with us a couple of times.
Bonus points for the confiserie that they delivered at the end of the night – mango popsicles, chocolates and candied fruit.
The small bar upfront was also delightful. Nice place to hang out over drinks as we waited for our table – we got there early.
My only complaint for the night was that we sat close to the door. Every time the door opened, it was way too cold.
I love visiting NYC for the best restaurants in North America and the sheer number of choices. So I will visit other restaurants on my next trip to NYC, but will also be back again at Annisa!