NYC: Annabel

The night of the Parov Stelar concert, my husband made reservations for our group of friends at Annabel.  It was a 15 minute walk from our hotel, and another 15 minute walk to the theater.

At first I thought it was going to be another pizza joint…something quick and easy, plain, bland, blah….
Man, was I wrong…..and I am sooooo happy about how wrong I was. This place utterly blew me away.


One great thing about this place is that it has non-threatening options for those who don’t like exploring new foods or have weaker stomachs.  Conversely, it also has some delicious culinary experiences for those with more sophisticated palettes. Finding this gem was like a highlight on my recent trip to NYC. The staff was extremely friendly, the ambiance was warm and inviting, and of course the food was utterly phenomenal.

In this post, I took screen shots of the menu items from their website.

 

  

This carpaccio, I felt, was superb.  My friends on the other hand, were impressed but not blown away.  Let me explain…

The beef was very mild in flavor, which is perfect.  The accompaniments however, did not suit the likings of my non mushroom loving friends. It lacked salt…that, which is certainly made up for with a bite of the mushroom tapenade and the parmigiana crostini.  When eaten together, it is perfection.  If you do not fancy mushrooms, the lack of salt in the dish is more than apparent. While unfortunate for my friends, I was quite pleased, as I LOVE [most] mushrooms!

My husband is one that is NOT pro-mushroom. Luckily, he was still able to find comfort in this dish with the dollop of mustard that was provided.  It was a good flavor contrast from the bland meat with drizzled oil on the plate.

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This Spanish octopus left me wanting more….MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE.  I could eat the whole octopus if it were cooked this immaculately. Comprehension of this deliciousness cannot be described through words, but I will try.  The octopus was cooked PERFECTLY.  Charred on the outside, but tender and not too chewy. This dish was out of this world.  The emulsion which was drizzled all over was so amazing, I wanted to lick the plate clean.  I didn’t, of course, because I’m a lady…but mostly because the restaurant was packed and I didn’t want to be that girl. [Even though I was that Asian girl using flash photography]

The broccoli rabe was a great complement, as it was not bitter, or too “green” tasting, if that makes sense.  Something like kale would have overwhelmed the flavors, but the broccoli rabe was delicate enough to not take away from the star of the plate.  The potato wedges that were laid out surrounding the octopus, were also very well cooked.  Not too mushy, not too crisp.  I loved this appetizer.  Every drop, every leaf, every grain.

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One word: WOW.

This flat bread pizza made my night.  It completed me.
It was an interesting menu item, and we figured, why not.  It’s on the menu for a reason, right?

The reason?  ::RAISES HAND::  Right here!  

I feel like this pizza was made just for ME. The bread was everything I love about bread…squishy, chewy, fresh, flavorful.  The duck prosciutto was….sex.  Everything about it…the delicate-ness, the fattiness, the salty flavor, the way it melts on your tongue….you just want each bite to last forever.

The blueberry chutney…don’t even get me started.  I’m not the biggest fan of jam, and was fully expecting this to fail, but the blueberry chutney has such a mild sweetness, there’s nothing that could have complemented the pizza better.  The ricotta was also a great mild flavor that helped fuse all the ingredients together.  The combination of all those things, plus the spice of the arugula, made this pizza truly artistically beautiful.

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   This bacon mac n cheese wasn’t bad.  I’m biased though, because I claim my bacon mac n cheese to be the best I’ve ever had.  With my own as my standard, I judge pretty heavily when I have mac n cheese at restaurants.  Can you blame me? If you can make it better at home, why waste the time, money, and effort to try it anywhere else?

What sets this apart, however, is the pork rib.  It is so tender and juicy, you fork it and it falls apart.  The crispy rice gave it a nice crunch that you can’t achieve with breadcrumbs or panko.  Very innovative, I would say.

I guess if you’ve never had my bacon mac n cheese, this is pretty good.

Not shown are the desserts….get them. They won’t let you down.

NOTHING will let you down, that’s how great this place is!!

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