Annisa, NY 3

January 5, 2008

We went back to Annisa for dinner on January 4, 2008 with Andrea and Tony. We received a warm welcome. After considerable discussion with our excellent waiter, Michael, we ordered the seven-course tasting menu at $88 and three bottles of wine: a white wine from the Friuli (NE Italy) which was dry enough for apéritif, but with enough body to go well with the early courses, a pinot noir from Marlborough in New Zealand that went well with the more substantial fish courses and a Grenacha from Spain to go with the meat and cheese.

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The amuse-gueule was a little pastry cup filled with white bean purée with a bit of prosciutto on top.

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The first course was the Duck and Buckwheat Ochazuke. This was kasha mixed with duck confit, topped with duck carpaccio garnished with red sweet potato strips, a tea crackled duck bits scattered around. A tea broth was then poured from a teapot. I enjoyed it.

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Then came a signature dish of the restaurant: Seared Foie Gras with Soup Dumplings and Jicama. The broth in the dumplings seemed meatier to me than the last time. Unfortunately with the tasting menu you only get one dumpling; you get three if ordering à la carte.

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Third was the Miso Marinated Sable with Crispy Silken Tofu in a Bonito Broth. This is also a dish with a lot going on; the texture of the tofu was like a custard. Andrea pointed out that the strong umami of the broth went beautifully with the Pinot Noir.

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Next came a Pan Roasted Filet of Cobia with Baby Carrots, Blood Orange and Cumin. This was a very nice piece of fish, but the dish was not complex. It should have been the first course, which would have started the meal softly and would have complemented the white wine while we still were drinking it. There were little cilantro sprouts on top.

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The meat course was Grilled Australian Lamb Tenderloin with Szechuan Peppercorn, White Soybeans and Garlic Chives. The loin had been wrapped in a lamb sausage, which had plenty of flavor, so the Szechuan pepperoil was too much.

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Small slices of seven different cheeses were served; they were tasty and in good condition, but there wasn’t enough of each one to really appreciate it. There is no added value in serving cheese this way. I would prefer something that shows the talent of the kitchen, such as a cheese and fig terrine or a cheese en croute etc.

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We were each served a different dessert, the same four we had at the tasting menu in August.

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The mignardises were pineapple popsicles, candied ginger, cold minty truffles.

The meal was very nice, but with all the emphasis on seasonality and market-based cuisine nowadays I was surprised how little the menu had changed from our two meals at Annisa in August. (To see those blogposts click here and here.)

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http://www.annisarestaurant.com

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