We had a great dinner at Annisa with the Blumberg's and the Wilson's. Joanne Wilson wrote an outstanding post on her blog about it at http://gothamgal.blogs.com/gotham_gal/2005/09/annisa.html. It follows:
Last night will have been my third time to Annisa and I can guarantee that it will not be the last.
The ambiance is warm and inviting. There is a small bar in the front that probably holds about 5 people. The glass front on to Bedford Street makes the restaurant look like a gem in the rough. I am not so sure about the rough part but it is certainly a gem.
The chef, Anita Lo, it quite accomplished. She has been honored in her field, she has worked at a variety of top restaurants and now has a restaurant that she can call her own. I believe the restaurant is 5 plus years old. Her and her partner, both women, have not only created a wonderful setting but the wine list is basically from female run/owned wineries. Something I just found out last night.
There were 6 of us and we went with the 5 course tasting. Some of us ate only vegetables and fish so we all went with the flow and opted for the same thing. Nice call.
The meal always begins with a small treat from the chef. I can't remember exactly what it was but it was like a fish pate inside a small rounded crisp. Good start.
Our first course was white tuna tartare cut up into small pieces and shaped into a small rounded mound that was layered over Asian pears and topped with a cold cucumber ice, black sesame seeds and a fried piece of kimichi. On the side of the dish was a swath of spicy Korean chili. Delicious.
The second course was a fried zucchini blossom stuff with feta cheese, currants and dill. The different flavors of currants mixed with the dill was interesting. Very different take on what to do with a zucchini blossom that is generally filled with some type of cheese. The feta made the dish light.
The third course was our first fish dish. Sauteed fluke that was crispy on one side layered over a braised fennel. To top it off was an orange vinaigrette which really made the dish sing.
The fourth dish was my least favorite. Sauteed fillet of hake layered over Manila clams. The clams were really cooked perfectly, sweet and soft. She had taken pea shoots and turned them into a sauce that peeked out from underneath in swirled stripes.
The most magnificent performance were the desserts. They brought out 6 desserts at once. We each took a bite and passed. Very communal. There were also a small tray of candied ginger(my fave), chocolate covered mints that were shaped like mini ho-ho's and tiny coconut ice cream bars. Unbelievable taste for such a small bite. The desserts were a lemon bread pudding that looked like a piece of kugel. It was light and really divine. The crispy sesame mochis were served with a delightful coconut and pineapple dipping sauce. An apple tarte with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream was classic. The most incredible dessert was the chocolate biscuit pudding. Rich and elegantly presented with tiny pieces of small chocolate crushed.
All and all a real treat.