After seeing new production of Fiddler on the Roof on Friday afternoon we headed downtown where I had dined at Annisa (http://www.annisarestaurant.com) earlier this year and had to bring my family back for the amazing tasting menu. The price went up $3 from $85 to $88 for the 5-course tasting which is probably due to minimal costs increase, but Chef Anita Lo could easily charge more after her recent outing to cook up a storm for the Obamas at the White House.
The rolls and butter win no prizes here, but the quiet serene simple décor makes it an oasis for a superb evening of quiet and great food.
We ordered a bottle of Gelber Muskateller from Heide Schrok (they use only female vendors when possible) 2013 from Neusiedlersee-Huggeland in Austria. Our server Narendra (who hailed from Nepal) said it had great acidity and it did. A slight sweetness hits the palate at first and turns quickly and then finishes with a long mineral flavor. YUM! Amuses were Tartelettes of Piquillo Pepper Puree with White Anchovy for a salty bite.
The first course arrived and I was so happy to revisit the Steak Tartare with Bulgur, Cinnamon, Spicy Sesame Tuille and Tofu Sauce, which was so good Samuel took a fork from both Will & my plates.
Next was the also Signature dish from Chef Anita: Seared Duck Foie Gras with Soup Dumpling & Jicama. A lesson is still needed in how to eat these as I always manage to have them explode as the Shanghai style dumpling is full of flavorful soup.
For the third course Samuel has a superb rich Chestnut Gnocco which is a brick-like pate form of chestnut with Grilled Maitake Mushroom (which he would not eat), Fried Sage & Kale Sprouts. The adults had Montauk Bluefish Fillet wrapped in Pickled Grape Leaves with Black Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and a superb lemony Anchovy Vinaigrette. The fish is intense but was great with our white as well as our second wine, a delicious Rioja Valencisco 2008 Reserva from Rioja Alta made by Carmen Encisco. Lots of body but not overly intense and oh so smooth red.
The main course was Lamb Tenders which was Grilled & Smoked Lamb with Mexican flavors as Chef Anita had just returned from Mexico. A bowl of posole was on the side and there were Pomegranate Seeds and a light Pomegranate Mint Sauce. This was our looking to the future as we leave for 2 weeks in Mexico in less than a month!!
Chef Anita came over to greet us and we were awed.
Dessert arrived on four plates which we rotated around the table:
Caramelized Pineapple with Pink Peppercorn, Puffed Wild Rice & Pandanas Ice Cream
Pecan Beignets with Bourbon Ice Milk to dip
Poppy Seed Bread Pudding with Meyer Lemon Curd
and the supreme winner (they were all amazing)-Sticky Date Pudding with Mascarpone Mousse
Candied Ginger, Orange Popsicles and Chocolate Mint Truffles sent us home very happy. What a great day and great dinner.