Saturday, August 30, 2008

Anisette Brasserie - 07/20/2008

225 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-3200

With all the press Anisette has been receiving lately, I couldn't wait until the 5x5 dinner at La Terza to try Chef Giraud's cooking. I prefer trying new restaurants during dinner service, but I was in the area around lunchtime and thought I'd stop in. The restaurant was a bit cramped for my tastes but with a lively atmosphere only possible in a place full of satisfied diners.

Croissant Au Beurre
It seemed wrong not to try the pastries given they are baked fresh daily on the premises. I went with a classic butter croissant which was crispy on the outside light and airy inside, with a sweet buttery flavor. Good but I don't really have too much to compare it against.

Cold Petits Pois Velouté - Fresh Mint
Although I am not a big fan of peas, recently I have enjoyed a number of dishes featuring peas as a key ingredient so I decided to try the pea soup here. The soup's cool temperature and the mild sweetness with a hint of mint on the finish were perfect foils for the warm summer temperature. The bowl was a bit too large and I ended up being too full to truly enjoy my entrée.

Savory Turkey Croissant - Gruyére, Scrambled Egg, Sautéed Spinach, Vine-Ripe Tomatoes
The turkey was moist and flavorful and went very well with the cheese and tomatoes. I only had one bite but that left me wanting more

Brasserie Burger - Pancetta, Brie, Avocado, French Fries
The burger was a bit of a let down, the bun was toasted a bit too long for my tastes and the flavor a bit muddled and nondescript. Perhaps I was already too full or expecting a revelation like the burger at Father's Office, but I just wasn't impressed.

Chocolate Mousse - Sweet Toasts
I was expecting something light and whipped but I couldn't have been more wrong. This was a thick intensely pure chocolate, just the way I like it. The sugared toast points provided a nice contrast in texture to the decadent chocolate.

Vacherin Glacé - Lavender Ice Cream, Strawberries
Alternating pieces of strawberry and meringue arrayed on the edges of a scoop of lavender ice cream topped with vanilla ice cream like petals of a flower. The lavender ice cream steals the show here with a soothing herbal/floral flavor that really has to be tasted to be understood.

I ended up with mixed feelings on the restaurant, by and large the food was very good, but I had overly high expectations. Hopefully trying dinner here will help resolve the confusion.

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