Olives was the first thing they put on the table when I arrived at Anise Tavern on the Upper East Side - and as I am a hard core olive addict, this set the tone just right. The olives are good, now I envisioned a different type of olives at a Greek restaurant (okay I am an olive aficionado and Greek olives are usually a mix of green and very ripped black olives), nonetheless, these were good.
Their slogan for this dish "Made with natural ingredients & served with warm pita bread" Next I ordered the hummus. I can testify that is even better than the one at Jerusalem because it is not as dry, although the one at Jerusalem is absolutely divine. My favorite part was the pitta bread from this dish, it came warm (perfect!) with a hint of garlic notes.
Now I know why Anise Tavern is known in Miami for their signature octopus - this was by far the most tender, tastier and perfectly cooked octopus I tried so far in the city. It is actually quite hard to get octopus to be at the right elasticity when cooked. I usually prepare octopus at least twice a month. Outside it has a thin crust with lemon hints and the olive oil was of quality (I hate cheap olive oil). This dish was magnificent. Period.
Well, this was not my favorite dish at Anise. I know it's a hearty dish and one of the staples of Greek cuisine and I should be more appreciative but this one definitely did not go well with me. I think that what this dish missed was an accent to it, there was no ingredient that took the lead, I did not taste the lamb, nor the eggplant and I do not recall now what other veggies were in there and that is not a good sign because if something is to remember by the time I blog about a dish, I easily can remember every ingredient, but on this one, all I remember is a mix of things that nothing deserved a piece of ram on my memory storage.
You know when people care and it makes for a much better dining experience. Anise is where locals go for a plate of goodness and to receive personalized attention by the owners who run and operate this place from the heart. I went by myself so I usually take out my laptop to write, but very discrete I was following them with my eyes over the screen and saw them the entire night coming and going, talking to people, watching all the tables, aware of every move that was happening. I like this. I truly felt that I was at someone's living room and that they personally care for me.
620 Northeast 78th Street
Miami, FL 33138-4702