Annisa, NYC 4

August 21, 2008

On August 20, 2008, Linda, Karl and I joined Pat to celebrate her birthday at Annisa. We really like this restaurant for its inventive, well-executed dishes and its restrained, quiet ambiance in the midst of a raucous neighborhood.We ordered a bottle of 2007 Penner Ash Viognier and a bottle of 1999 ‘Don Miguel Vineyard’ – Marimar Torres Pinot Noir. Both wines were excellent.

The amuse-gueule was a snail with bacon in a little pastry cup.

Good start.

Pat’s first course was
Chilled Sweet Pea Soup with Giant Clam and Bacon Fried Milk Croutons.

This was excellent. It used sugar snap peas, which are not out of season and yielded more flavor than regular peas. The clams and croutons each added slightly salty complementary textures and tastes.

Linda started with
Seared Foie Gras with Soup Dumplings and Jicama.
This is a signature dish of the restaurant. I should have ordered it, too instead of trying something new.

Karl had a
Field Green Salad with Fresh Herbs.

My first course was
Gratin of Sea Scallops, Sea Urchin, Seabeans and Kaisomen.

This looks nice. The scallops were fresh, but, not having been seared, they were boring. There wasn’t enough sea urchin to make a statement. I assume that either the yellow globs or the transparent noodles are kaisomen, but googling it only brings up the Annisa menu.

Pat’s main course was
Skate with Avocado and Radishes, Korean Flavors.

This was superb. There was just the right amount of fire in the spices on the skate wing. I think that is skate tartare in the round stack between the avocado and the radish.

Linda and Karl went on to the
Saddle of Rabbit, Southern Preparations.
This good dish was quite complicated. The loin rolled with tasty greens and a crispy crust was luscious and nice on top of the seasonal fresh corn. The little rack of ribs had been marinated in milk and chili powder and roasted. At the photo top is a miniature rabbit pot pie. These really were “southern preparations.” Nice

My main course was
Veal and Veal Sweetbreads with Heirloom Tomatoes, Cavaillon Melon and Caperberries

I really enjoyed this. The contrast between the soft veal loin slices and the crispy sweetbreads was good. The tomato, melon, caper mound also included surprisingly nice marinated croutons.

For dessert Linda had an
Apple Tarte with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream
while Pat and Karl shared a tarte with a birthday candle.

The caramel sauce is particularly good – not too sweet.

My dessert was
Chilled Blueberry Soup with Immortality Herb Panna Cotta and Black Pepper Crumble.

I really liked this. The blueberries were slightly tart and the pannacotta neutral so the crumble, which tasted more of brown sugar than pepper, was just the right texture and flavor balance. (Jiaogulan, or “Southern Ginseng” is called the “Immortality Herb” because it is supposed to contribute in many ways to a long life.)

The mignardises

were hibiscus popsicles, freshly preserved ginger and fresh cold chocolate mints.

The meal was excellent, with only my scallop dish being merely ok. The service was cheerful, friendly and efficient. We could hear each other talk. We’ll be back.

Pat takes in a big breath to blow out her birthday candle.

Karl and Linda as we were leaving.

To see our last blogpost on Annisa with the tasting menu click here. There you can find the links to the two posts before that.

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