I love breezy bistro style restaurants where you can sit inside at the wine bar or take an outside table and people watch. Anisette at the NW corner of 19th Street and Third Avenue is totally captivating. They have simple country French decor and a menu to match with very reasonable prices for luscious dishes that range from a world-class Tricolor Carrot Salad over a parsley pesto with edible flowers to a deeply satisfying Short Ribs with farro, mushrooms summer vegetables and natural jus. They have a wonderful assortment of appetizers include Croquettes filled with rich potato, ham, camembert and garlic-citrus sauce and classic super-fresh-tasting Zucchini Fritters with red aioli sauce.
Let me confess that I ate ALL the dishes mentioned above along with a unique Baked Macaroni that is actually shell-shaped pasta with a creamy mixture of French cheeses including gruyere. I also tried the Steak Au Poivre which anyone who enjoys this dish with subtle (as opposed to strong) peppery overtones will go crazy for. (The chef uses a fairly thick dry-aged shell streak and puts some lovely olive-oil sauteed spinach and potato puree on the side.)
I ended my meal with Anisette’s Creme Brulee which is quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite and it is done with the truly classic recipe that could have come straight from Julia Child. It is perfection, and it is served warm on the top and cold in the center, which is not easy to accomplish (and the way it SHOULD be served).
While I did not personally try them, I hear that the charcuterie and cheese plates offered at Anisette are amongst the finest in Manhattan.
There are lovely salads other than the aforementioned Tricolor Carrot Salad offered if you want to keep things light including a Fava & Arugula Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, parmigiana reggiano and lemon viniagrette and a Warm Goat Cheese Salad which is mixed baby lettuces and arugula topped with a champagne vinagrette.
Entrees prices are 16 to $38 while apps are about $10; sides are about $7. Portions are on the large side and great for sharing. No reservations are needed although they are suggested. For more info, go to http://www.anisettenyc.com. I will be back!