Foodies Night Out – Anisette Brasserie

Anisette seafood bar picture from LA Times.

Late yesterday afternoon, after checking out yet more motor scooters*, we decided on a whim to check out Anisette Brasserie in Santa Monica. From the moment we walked in, I had a good feeling about the place. The bar is zinc, the leather is red, the mood is relaxed and convivial, and the food…well for an hour and a half, we felt like we were back in Paris.

We started with some huitres on the half-shell (I recommend the Kumamotos, small and sweet) and an phenomenal salad of yellow and red beets with warm goat cheese. But it was my main course that really knocked my socks off: Moules frites. The mussels are small and delicate and served in a huge black bowl with a wire screen on one side so you can get at the sauce to dip slices of baguette. And the sauce…heaven! It’s a very light and brothy cream sauce with vermouth and anisette. It’s that anisette that really puts this dish over the top; it complements the flavor of the mussels without overwhelming. I can easily say that these were the best mussels I’ve ever had. The frites are light and very crispy. Both portions are quite large; I went easy on the fries but polished off the mussels, yet didn’t feel stuffed at the end, thanks to the lightness of the sauce.

Mon mari ordered a chocolate mousse with Vahlrona sauce for dessert. I had a taste and it also was above-and-beyond delicious.

At the table next to us was a couple with an adorable 16-month-old boy. Chef Alain Giraud, whose previous LA restaurant credits include Citrus and Bastide, came out of the kitchen and spent several minutes playing with the little boy, which only contributed to the mood of being in a neighborhood Paris brasserie. We will definitely be going back to Anisette!

*A combination of gas prices, a desire to be more environmentally conscious and perhaps a bit of mid-life crisis have inspired mon mari get a motor scooter for his short commute to work.

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  1. November 9, 2008 / 5:09 pm

    A motor scooter is not the typical mid-life crisis vehicle.

  2. November 9, 2008 / 5:53 pm

    wendyb – well, we’re also talking about trading my old Honda in for a convertible, but I’m holding out until they come out with a hybrid one. 😉

  3. November 9, 2008 / 5:58 pm

    Pseu, another great photograph!

    I’m so glad that you wrote about Anisette. I’ve heard about it from friends but the reports have been mixed. I’m glad that you liked it, especially the moules frite which is one of my favorites.
    I hope that they serve another one of my favorites, rognons de veau a la creme.

    I miss real French bistro food so much…

  4. November 9, 2008 / 5:59 pm

    OK, change bistro to brasserie…in the above post… but I love the cuisine of both!

  5. November 9, 2008 / 6:13 pm

    motor scooters, moules frites, zinc bar, red leather — what a perfect post! (even without shoes)
    bringing Paris home, could be another title!

  6. Erin
    November 9, 2008 / 4:48 pm

    gives me something new to try next time we are back home in Southern California.

  7. La Belette Rouge
    November 10, 2008 / 2:23 am

    Thanks to your recommendation we are going to go on Friday night. Merci!

    My father in law got a Vino scooter and he loves it.

  8. November 10, 2008 / 2:48 pm

    Aaaaaaaauuggghhh!!! Now I want moules!!!

  9. Anonymous
    November 10, 2008 / 3:38 pm

    As a woman reaching age 50, I just bought a scooter myself. It is a thrill to ride! I love to see my shadow cruising along. Of course, I really nice scarf helps the entire look. Good luck and have fun!

  10. November 10, 2008 / 4:26 pm

    If you’re not finishing those frites, I’ll have them!

    Scooters are adorable and you DO have the scarves!

  11. November 13, 2008 / 2:26 am

    Karen – I’d recommend you call them. We showed up around 5:30 on a Saturday night, and they indicated they would be pretty full up later.

  12. Karen
    November 13, 2008 / 2:13 am

    Do you think we can get in without reservations? Or is it a “plan this in advance” date night? Sounds GREAT!

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