We can still recall the warm flush of infatuation during our first meal at Annisa.
These days, more than 10 years after Anita Lo debuted her intimate restaurant in the West Village, our crush has bloomed into a steadfast affair.
The intimate space is even more civilized after its post-fire remodel. Similarly, the food at Annisa reveals that Lo's vision has grown even sharper.
Our most recent meal ($78 for five courses; $98 for seven courses) began with a sublime chicken-liver mousse in a fluted edible cup, a promising firing shot if there ever was one.
The courses then toggled between signature dishes and fresh creations, each stressing Lo's inimitable way of merging French technique and a globe's worth of influences.
There was her classic soup dumpling with foie gras and a reduction of black and balsamic vinegars. There were plenty of other twosomes, too: seared tuna belly with yuzu kosho served alongside tuna tartare; a filet of grilled striped bass flanked by a Savoy cabbage-wrapped bass mousse; rabbit leg fried and sliced like Japanese katsu and mirrored by a rolled-up rabbit loin.
Halfway through dinner, we passed the kitchen and spotted Lo. She was stationed on the line, her famous bandana on her head, chugging water.
In her smart new book, Cooking Without Borders, Lo says that she still works at Annisa most nights. We have seen proof, and our Annisa admiration has grown even deeper.
Annisa, 13 Barrow St. (at W. Fourth St.); 212-741-6699 or annisarestaurant.com
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