Anise is a bright space with a relaxing vibe just off the hotel lobby and a great menu of Mediterranean specialties including mezze, raw and pickled dishes, salads, flatbreads, charcuterie and traditional large plates. (Anise is a Mediterranean spice, different from star anise that you often find in Vietnamese cuisine. It is a bit spicier and usually blended with other spices).
There are many big names behind this restaurant, including executive chef Aaron Skoultchi who previously had ties at Boulevardier and Rapscallion and is now making his mark with the menu at Anise.
Seats at the long, sleek, wooden bar allow diners to chat with the bartenders and order a few cocktails. We started with marinated Mediterranean olives; three varieties are served in a dish with orange zest, rosemary and fennel pollen.
A deep red matbucha (photo at top) is made with tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, onion sofrito and paprika, served with homemade fresh pita. The spice has a nice kick, but you’ll want to order additional pitas to ensure you devour the entire dish.
They also have an extensive wine and cocktail menu with wine on tap and a variety of pours of 3 or 5 ounces; half or full bottles are also available.
There are so many other things on this menu that we would go back and try. Our server recommended the smoked eggplant dip, mujadara, crispy octopus, harissa-rubbed chicken and the whole roasted branzino. The whipped ricotta and the lamb shoulder tagine are also on our list for next time.
Anise, 5630 Village Glen Drive. (The Village). Open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday - Thursday, 3 p.m. - 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday, Closed Monday.