Among my top NYC restaurants, Annisa is always there, as evidenced by the fact that it is one of those places I keep going (no less frequently than at least once a year) even though I barely have time to make repeat visits to same places due to the number of new restaurants emerging in this great city. And how can you not love the dishes from chef Anita Lo? They are sophisticated without being stuffy, and the level of execution is always superb. With lots of restaurants advertising their cuisine these days as globally influenced without borders, mixing taste of different parts of the world, I feel sometimes the execution doesn’t always match the level of conceptual creativity. Annisa is one of those places, however, where I feel like if there is an ideal restaurant showcasing New American cuisine with Asian influences, this is the place to beat. No wonder NYTimes decided to upgrade its review with glowing accolades.
I revisited recently in a group of three and had an opportunity to sample a lot of new dishes while also savoring the old classics that I very much loved. The famous seared foie gras with soup dumplings is still one of the best appetizers in the city, and one of my dining companions fell in love with it so much that he insisted on ordering another dish (consisting of three pieces). Scallop and uni sashimi, despite its promise, didn’t come out as well as I had expected, but the fried oysters with cucumber, fennel and yogurt were very delightful, and the steak tartare with bulgur, cinnamon and a sesame tofu sauce was one of the better ones I’ve had recently, with outstanding texture and delicate balance of flavor.
I’ve had the signature miso marinated sable with crispy silken tofu in a bonito broth multiple times now, and this dish still deserves more praise. The impeccable texture of the fish combined with the aromatic broth is still a winning formula that will make me keep coming to Annisa. Duck with foie gras and pickled verjus grape toast was another nice discovery among new dishes that I’ve tried, as was the olive oil poached arctic char with black olives and fig-sumac puree. For dessert, a tasting of chocolate and malted desserts was as delightful as I had remembered, and the assortment of ice cream and sorbet, as well as roasted pineapple with pink peppercorn, pandanus ice cream and rice paper were also flavorful without being overly sweet.
The restaurant is still hard to secure reservations, so always booking in advance is a good idea. Annisa is a very quiet restaurant with relatively small but not overly cramped space. There is a full bar with some high-end wine selections that you can choose from. A lot of things change in New York dining scene, so it’s always satisfying to know that there are some wonderful institutions that do not change and still churn out excellent dishes with consistency and continuity like Annisa does. I sincerely hope it sticks around for a long time.
- Creativity: 9.0/10
- Execution: 9.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 9.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014
Telephone: (212) 741-6699