It’s been a few years now since The Village Apartments completed their renovation and have become “the place to be.” Part of the update includes The Drey Hotel, which now has two restaurants located inside the hotel. La Mina, which boasts modern Mexican dishes inspired by various regions known for their Mexican cuisine, including Texas and Anise, which offers a very relaxing vibe right off of the hotel lobby and a great menu of Mediterranean mezze, raw and pickled dishes, salads, flatbreads, charcuterie, and large plates. Anise is a Mediterranean spice, different from Star Anise found in Vietnamese cuisine. It is a bit spicier and usually blended with other spices, which is what makes Mediterranean food so special – the blending of spices and cultures.
If Anise is not on your short list of must try places, it should be. For starters, the Marinated Olives are a great choice to snack on as you quench your thirst with a few pre-dinner cocktails. There are three different varieties of Mediterranean olives served in this dish with orange zest, rosemary, and fennel pollen. The Salmon Crudo is served with smoked trout roe, pickled shallots, bonito and chive oil. The salmon melts in your mouth and the spice combination is an unexpected surprise that will transport you to an exotic place in the Mediterranean.
It is difficult to choose just one appetizer because they all sound amazing. The Bacalao Fritters, however is a fantastic choice. A crispy light crust filled with cod and potatoes and cinched up like a purse plated over a delicious roasted tomato aioli with roasted garlic.
For entrees, the menu has four choices. We recommend the lamb belly, served with aleppo, romanesco, baba ganoush and farro. Other options include crispy eggplant, olive oil poached salmon or harissa half-chicken.
If you happen to be there during brunch hours, This Morning’s Bread is a great way to start your day. Lamb Kofta Shakshuka is also a fantastic choice. Served with 4 -5 lamb kofta meatballs smothered in a spicy tomato sauce and poached eggs. The lamb is tender and not gamey and is a savory combination with the sauce and eggs. The Marble Potatoes are a great side choice. They are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside – and seasoned with salsa verde and parmesan. Both were great alongside their house-made Bloody Mary’s. They also have an extensive wine and cocktail menu with wine on tap and a variety of pours from 3 oz to a full bottle. If you’re a lover of sweet brunch dishes, the Chocolate Babka French Toast with lemon ricotta, hazelnuts and maple syrup is a must.
There are so many other things on this menu that are worth going back for. The server recommended the Crispy Octopus, Marinated Lamb Kebab, Harissa-Rubbed Chicken and the Whipped Ricotta for next time. And yes, there will be a next time.