I read about Anella (222 Franklin Street, between Huron & Green, 718-389-8100) with high expectations, because I really liked Queens Hideaway and was sad to see it go. I'm happy to report that Anella lived up to, and maybe exceeded those expectations, with the dinner we had there last week. The seasonally-focused menu is lovely, and has a range of dishes, from veggies to seafood to pasta and pizza (which are baked in a brick-oven). Some of the veggies and greens come from the local Rooftop Farms too! My boyfriend and I went with some family to see what it was like and had an incredible, delicious meal. The space is about double that of the previous restaurant, and has a boat-like feeling, with lots of light-colored wood, narrow corridors and booths. We started out with some veggie dishes I had read about in previous reviews. The Brussels Sprouts and the Sweet Carrots. The Brussels Sprouts are separated and the leaves are tossed with arugula, capers, lemon & garlic and then roasted to create one, incredible taste experience.
The Sweet Carrots are served with whipped ricotta and arugula. Whipping ricotta seems to make a whole other ingredient, one that's velvety smooth as well as rich and light at the same time. The natural sweetness of carrots was taken advantage of here, in a good way, so that they weren't cloying, but virtually natural candy. Probably lots of butter contributed to making this as good as it was.
We also ordered the Fried Calamari with Anchovy Mayo. This is what all calamari should be like. Light and airy, not greasy or heavy at all, with tender pieces of calamari, and a savory dipping sauce on the side.
For our entree, my boyfriend and I shared the Pork & Bean Cassoulet, which, to me, is a more stew-like version of a casserole. Made with Berkshire Pork Shoulder, Flageolet Beans, Smoked Bacon and Tuscan Kale as well as small, toasted pieces of bread, this was one delicious dish. It was hearty, flavorful, and strong. The meat was smoky and rich, the kale cut through that a little and the beans warmed it up to make for a truly incredible dish.
Our dining companions ordered the special pizza (Anella has two pizzas to choose from every night). This one came with Mozarella, Soppresata and a dollop of Brocolli Rabe Pesto in the center of each piece. It was lovely, with a nice, crispy thin crust, and the ingredients well-proportioned and evenly spaced.
We were pretty full at this point, but with four of us, we couldn't resist sharing a couple of desserts. We picked the Seasonal Roasted Fruit with Vanilla Mascarpone and Vin Cotto. This was delicious, with strawberries, blueberries and currants roasted and served over thick, creamy vanilla mascarpone. The only thing that was weird was that the green leaves on top are not mint, but some sort of grilled, savory green like kale or shard, that totally took us off guard. Not sure about that - some mint would have been nicer.
We also got an order of the Lemon tart with sweet and sour citrus fruit, which included limes, grapefruit and oranges. I liked the tart, and the slices of fruit, but the creamy tart part did not taste good to me. The Lemon Tart fans of the group loved it though. It was certainly beautiful with the slices of candied citrus peel. And look, there's the mint!
So, yay! Anella is awesome. I'm so glad it was good. And come hot weather, I think they'll start using their backyard which is spacious and airy. They have a full bar with interesting cocktails, a large wine list and a few beers on tap.