First Look

First Look: Anise, a Chic Foodie Destination, Opens in The Village

Matbucha Angie Quebedeaux
Over the last few months, new places have continued to open at The Village Apartments, and it’s quickly becoming “the place to be.” Again. The Drey Hotel is now officially open and has two new restaurants located inside; La Mina, which boasts modern Mexican dishes inspired by various regions, and Anise.

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.
click to enlarge Scallop crudo - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Scallop crudo
Angie Quebedeaux
Next we had a tender and bright scallop crudo served with a ras el hanout vinaigrette and cilantro.

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.
click to enlarge Hawaij-spiced short rib - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Hawaij-spiced short rib
Angie Quebedeaux
For our main dinner, we tried the hawaij-spiced short rib cooked medium rare and served with two decent-sized pieces of short ribs. The meat has a dark exterior crust of hawajj — a variety of Yemeni ground spices, typically cumin, black pepper, turmeric and cardamom — and a deep pink middle. It’s comes on a bed of saffron rice and thick labneh with pistachios. Bright orange kumquats provide bursts of citrus.
click to enlarge Lamb kofta shakshuka - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
Lamb kofta shakshuka
Angie Quebedeaux
We enjoyed our dinner so much we decided to check out their brunch the next day. The lamb kofta shakshuka comes with five meatballs smothered in a spicy tomato sauce with a poached egg. This dish is served with a side of marble potatoes tossed in salsa verde and Parmesan. Both were great alongside the house-made Bloody Mary.

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.
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Angie Quebedeaux is a freelance food writer for the Observer. A "ragin' Cajun" from Lafayette, she's been in Dallas since 2002. She is an HR director by day and loves to “laissez les bon temps rouler.”