Monday, March 23, 2009
Anisette: Where's the Chorizo?
The first time I went to Anisette a few months ago, the much-hyped brasserie by the beach in Santa Monica served mediocre food and to say that the service was slow and inefficient is an understatement. Was the brasserie so authentic as to offer French service too? What a downer.
This time around, however, it seemed like they had gotten their act together compared to when they had just opened. Service was not fantastic like at The Bazaar, but at least moderately timely. The food (I only went for brunch so can't speak for lunch or dinner) was good, if not spare in its portions. I'm no fan of the massive all-American breakfasts, but to have only 4 slivers of very thinly sliced (Spanish) chorizo just doesn't cut it for this carnivore. The poached eggs on a bed of polenta with chorizo and red pepper coulis were an interesting mix of flavors and textures. The oozing egg yolks that popped as you mixed it with the polenta made the polenta creamier with a bit of saltiness. The chorizo added crunchiness as well as a much-needed saltiness and slight spiciness to the mix -- I just wished they were heftier or there were more of them! Once I quickly ran out of my slivers, I used the pepper coulis as a salsa equivalent to flavor the polenta and eggs. I liked it but my only recommendation would be to add more kick to the coulis so it adds more flavor. After all, isn't that what a relish should do?
Oh, and I take issue with the fact that bread doesn't come with the dishes. The breads are indeed very good, as all brasserie breads should be. Its croissants are very good -- buttery, crunchy and soft at the same time as you tear away layers of the beauty. The Eggs Benedict were nothing to write home about. They were ok but not as good as the polenta eggs.
My favorite part of the restaurant is its true Brasserie-like look and feel, straight out of Paris or SoHo (a-la-Balthazar). I may return for the lunch or dinner menu but not anytime soon. When I want a smaller-portioned breakfast/brunch with good bread, I'll return.
The French folks in the table next to us seemed to dislike the service with a passion and couldn't stop complaining to themselves and to the waiter about how the bread was over-toasted and the coffee wasn't right. "Mais il est con!" the old lady kept saying about the waiter.
225 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401