Anisette Brasserie marks its one year anniversary today with a special Provençal menu to celebrate the occasion. Chef-partner Alain Giraud started his Week in Provence menu last night and will run it through Sunday. On the lunch menu: tomato tartar with socca crepes, fish soup with pearl pasta and rouille, grilled fish Provençal with ratatouille and an apricot tart with almond cream. The dinner menu includes a fifth course of John Dory baked in fig leaves with white polenta. The special menu is served in addition to the restaurant's regular lunch and dinner menus. Provençal cuisine is a favorite of Giraud's: the Paris-born chef featured it on the menu when he helmed Lavande in Santa Monica. Giraud was chef de cuisine at Michel Richard's original Citrus; more recently, he was opening chef at Joe Pytka's now-shuttered Bastide.
When asked what Anisette's first year has been like, Giraud pointed to his already-white hair. "It's still a daily work in progress." Giraud's stress level went up a little recently, when Michel Richard left Citrus at Social and Giraud was reported to be taking the reins, starting rumors that he was leaving Anisette. Giraud says he agreed to consider consulting as a favor to his old friend, but that a deal with Social was never inked. "We never made an agreement," says Giraud, who has no connection with the restaurant now.
Giraud has plenty on his plate at Anisette. Provençal week is the first in a series of regional menus that will run the first week of each month. Next month? "Why not Basque?" asked chef de cuisine Joshua Smith at lunch today. Why not indeed.
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Anisette Brasserie, 225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 395-3200. www.anisettebrasserie.com.