Monday, June 09, 2008

Anisette: still getting its feet wet

There's no denying that the new Anisette in Santa Monica is a lovely room, just like being in Paris, with red banquettes, tall ceilings and tiled floors. I like the small upstairs dining area which overlooks the main restaurant and is open to the kitchen, with jars of spices lined up on open shelves looking like you've walked into Alain Giraud's home kitchen. This is probably uncharitable of me, but I'm pretty sure if it was my home kitchen, I could whip up a better plate of Eggs Benedict. The best part was the smoky, thinly sliced ham, a worthy riff on Canadian bacon. Too bad the Hollandaise was bland, with none of the anticipated lemony tang, the homemade looking English muffin didn't taste as good as Thomas's and the potato cake it sat on was dried out. My breakfast guest, used to bargain basement prices in Las Vegas, thought $13 was high for our breakfast dishes. My complaint wasn't the price, since the Benedicts at Square One are the same price -- it's simply that there was nothing particularly satisfying about the dish or the $3 cup of average coffee. Nor was I impressed by the heavy, meaty English breakfasts flying out of the kitchen, complete with black pudding -- not very appealing on a sunny morning at the beach. And our waiter managed the difficult feat of being obsequious, yet vanishing when you actually needed him. I really don't mean to complain, because they obviously put a lot of work into the place, but I hope dinner will be a much more delicious experience. Just don't try to take a picture from the stairway, because Alain was busting a girl for taking pictures just as I climbed the stairs.


Erinn said...

ooooh, so frustrating when you want a good, relaxing, hearty, weekend breakfast and you get "kaka poop" (is that yiddish?) I've been lurking around your blog for awhile, enjoy what I read, and thought it's time I chime in. Thanks for the humor and insight.

Anonymous said...

so bizarre. i had the same exact breakfast on sunday morning and it was unbelievable. fantastic coffee and the benedict was perfect. if anything there was too much service. the chef even came over and chatted for a while. a great spot.

Kate said...

Santa Monica's spotty restaurant scene and $4.50 gas have left me a broken woman. Anisette could have served me a bowl of glass shards with cilantro* on top, and I would have been delighted.

I had the English breakfast, a pot of the Earl Grey creme tea and an almond croissant -- all three were great. I asked for some mustard to go with the black pudding (admittedly, I am kind of a meat/blood/organ freak), but otherwise, it was perfect.

In fact, I went back the next day and had another pot of tea and a pain aux raisin, with far too much vanilla butter and raspberry jam spread on top. (I know, I know, but it was damn good jam.)

Maybe I wouldn't make the drive across town for this place, but I am so glad it's a 10 minute walk from my front door, I could weep.

If I could change one thing, I'd put eggs en cocotte on the bfast menu. It's the easiest thing in the world to make at home, and yet I never do.

*I really hate cilantro.

RICHARD L said...

I know it's not the buffet at The Golden Nugget, but I shared a similar experience there on Sunday morning as "anonymous said..." did.

Had the Eggs Benedict.

Sauce had quite a nice zip of lemon.
The eggs were perfectly soft inside.
Agreed, the "Canadian Bacon" was really nice and smokey.
The home made english muffin was very fresh though it would had been improved by another moment in the toaster.

The service was a bit much. Almost tripping over themselves. But ZERO attitude. These days that means a lot to me.

They're doing it better there 1st week than most places do after several years. Can't wait for try it for dinner. Like Kate, I to am a B/G/O freak.

Your friend from Las Vegas needs to have his price meter recalibrated to Los Angeles.

Quite a civilized morning, in an otherwise uncivilized world.

OK, I feel better now. Thanks

K.E.G. said...

Does anyone know if this is open for dinner yet?

Anonymous said...

I went in for a late breakfast this week...and it appears that I visited a different restaurant than you! I closed my eyes and flashed right back to Paris! Delightful! ...and the photo snapping in the restaurant?? come on, the rest of us are actually trying to enjoy a great meal, already!

Pat said...

I knew this wouldn't be a popular opinion, and the room is stunning. But I evaluate mostly based on what is on my plate, and what was there was not very memorable. Maybe the problem is that unlike Kate, I did make the drive across town.

Anonymous said...

Having just returned from Anisette and its first public dinner service, I give the place 5 stars with a few exceptions. The presentation of certain plates like the Steak Frites is a bit precious (how do you eat Frites presented in a towering cone?) and the over attentive service can be a bit annoying (I'll forgive them since it was the first time they were open for dinner and wanted to impress). I really don't need my napkin refolded into an origami bird when I get up from the table and please stop asking me if everything is OK every five minutes. Anisette ranks as one of the most beautiful new restaurants in the city. My slab of black forest cake was divine and made neighboring diners want to end their meals and dive into my dessert. A star is born in Santa Monica.