Scooch over, everyone, and make room for my new crush du jour! Annata, brought to you by the folks at Mazzaro's, is a wine-and-small-plates lover's dream come true. The interior is chic, warm and cozy with loads of brick, steel, dark wood and comfy-looking throw pillows lining the booths. Allow yourself plenty of time because you'll want to stay there all night...sipping, nibbling and being coddled by the exceptional staff.
I'm movin' in...you'd better get used to seeing me!
The wine list is extensive with a fantastic by-the-glass selection, and all we tried were generously poured for us and not grossly marked up. We began our feast with a stunning charcuterie platter (you may order three, five or seven components from a wide range of meats, cheeses and pates). We opted for bleu cheese, prosciutto, dry salami, silken duck cognac pate and a more rustic pheasant rosemary version. The protein elements were beautifully complemented by local honey, fig jam, cornichons, olives, dried apricots, Marcona almonds and quince paste. Party on a plank, anyone?
My resident caveman almost wept at the sight of bone marrow on the menu.
This gelatinous umami bomb had a primal, fire-roasted depth of flavor that incited a serious knuckle-dragging response in UD, who clung tightly to the caramelized femurs with his Neanderpaws until every drop was licked (or sopped) clean. That's my boy!
We then shared a luxurious Lobster Newburg fondue (and who can resist anything that shows up in its own little cast-iron pan...especially if there are large chunks of lobster lolling in it?) accompanied by slabs of toasted Italian bread and pleasingly charred-around-the-edges pita points for dipping.
Butter...cream...sherry...crustacean...life doesn't really get much better than this.
We liked the Truffled Gnocchi Mac 'n Cheese, but it was almost too rich to endure after flailing our way through the protein-intense offerings that preceded it. Gnocchi was texturally perfect, but the intense truffle infusion almost triggered sensory overload. We had to take most of this home with us.
Orange Torta proved to be the perfect palate cleansing dessert for a citrus junkie like me. A thin and crispy orange flavored "cookie" (for lack of a better word) was drizzled in zesty key lime cream and topped with a silky scoop of salted caramel gelato. It was pretty remarkable.
Blah, Annata. How am I supposed to obtain my New Year weight goal. with you around? I guess we'll have to settle for a love-hate relationship.
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.