The first time we made plans to go to Annabel was when we wanted to see a horror movie with the same name, but then had to cancel. So, I had that place in mind, not knowing that this was a great find to be honest. We went twice to Annabel: for brunch and dinner, both times having a great experience food wise: the menu crafted by Chef Manuel Conrado is simply succulent. Here are some of the things we tried there:
For brunch, instead of a mimosa or bellini, I opted for their fresh squeezed orange juice, that was ok, a bit watered down.
We were not sure what to get with the pizza we wanted to try, having a choice between salads or eggs. We finally decided to try their puffy bread served with a black olive tapenade and a spicy Calabrian chili oil. That looked fantastic, the bread being indeed puffy and with a nice char, perfect with the oil or delicious tapenade that came with it.
For the pizza, that time, we decided to get their mushroom medley with caramelized onions, taleggio and truffle oil (I know that Anthony Bourdain would be outraged to know they are using truffle oil...). When the pizza came, it looked amazing: with lots of cheese and mushrooms, the truffle oil gave a very appetizing smell. And it was delicious: the crust was crispy, nicely charred in their wood fire oven.
When we went back for dinner, it is the four cheese pizza that we decided to order and we were once again not disappointed. In fact, it was an even better one as it had a nice amount of burrata on it. Know that they do not cook the burrata with the pizza, but add it at the end, so, don;t be surprised if it is cold versus the rest of the pizza being hot. If you are a cheese lover, you will probably find, like me, that this pizza is divine as they put a lot of cheese on it: besides burrata, they put taleggio, mozzarella and parmigiana regiano.
I also could not resist trying their grilled Spanish octopus, served with cannellini beans, tomatoes, broccoli rabe, mixed olives, red onions, green peppers in a (not so) spicy smoked paprika sauce. The octopus was perfectly made, nicely charred and not rubbery. I just wish there was more.
An interesting appetizer was their mushroom risotto au gratin truffles, gruyere and aged cheddar, that was again with lots of cheese and mushrooms. It was an appetizer portion, but quite filling.
With my meal, for dinner, I went for a cocktail called the Lions Tail, made with Berkshire Bourbon, St Elizabeth all spice dram that is an all spice flavored liqueur from Jamaica, and angostura bitters. That was very good, and definitely had a nice bitterness.
Last was dessert. We hesitated between the chocolate mousse and the chocolate ganache cake. We finally picked the latter that was good, sitting on a bed of strawberry preserves.
Annabel is a very good find in Hell's Kitchen: the food is delicious and it has this atmosphere of a neighborhood restaurant I would want close to home. If you are looking for a good pizza in Hell's Kitchen, it is, with B Side, one of my favorites.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Annabel - 809 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019