Wednesday, August 06, 2008
When a friend generously offered to take me to lunch, I quickly choose the new and highly anticipated Anisette Brasserie. Anisette Brasserie is really stunning restaurant. High, tin-tiled ceilings, tile floors, and a long bar with oysters and spirits on display, it is really beautiful, and enjoyable to look at. Having never been to Paris, it is what I imagine the best brasseries must look like. Overall, the food was mostly good, the service friendly, but very rushed and unorganized.
We started our lunch off with a selection of oysters. Always a perfect start to a meal - cold, bright, saltly and light. Just enough to stimulate the senses.
Then on to the beef tartare. I usually love my raw meats, but this one was doused in mustard, which was really all we could taste, which covered up the delicate beef flavor.
The roasted beet and goat cheese salad was a nice combination of flavors, but way too much cheese to be palatable. An entire round of a brie style goat cheese was just too much on the stomach.
My favorite dish of the meal was the French classic, croque monsieur. Fat, on fat. It is an open-faced sandwich with ham, cheese and bechamel, thrown under a broiler until nicely browned. You can't go wrong. Fat on fat, my fave. Well, actually, the servers did go wrong by bringing it to the table when we were still working on our appetizers of tartare and salad. I am always afraid of sending back food that has arrived too soon, for fear of it sitting under heat lamps in the kitchen, so we consolidated our plates, and gobbled down our appetizers to make room on the small table for the sandwich. We opted for frites with the sandwich, which were not the best ever. They tasted double-fried, just a bit to stale.
Brasserie Anisette was hopping. The place was packed for lunch, and reservations were a must. That afternoon we spotted chefs Josiah Citrin and Raphael Lunetta, as well as owner/chef Alain Girard making the rounds. I love the decor and some of the food. Next time I will just grab a seat a the bar, and have a drink and some apps. With the hurried, unorganized wait staff, forget about having a nice leisurely meal. Be sure to set the pace yourself: order your dishes one course at a time.
225 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401