Sunday, September 28, 2008
One of my favorite restaurants in our neighborhood had been the late Il Torchio on Myrtle, which I've written up a couple of times before. Sadly, it wasn't long for this world, as the owners apparently decided that the food service racket wasn't for them, and sold it. Anima is the replacement, and last night I finally got a chance to go.
I was a little skeptical, to be honest, mostly because I really liked Il Torchio. The food was interesting and creative (if a bit pricey), and the wine list was excellent. It was a great go-to Italian restaurant, and was right up there with Loulou on my list of favorites around here.
As it turns out, Anima is pretty good. They seem to have traded some of the more adventurous fare from Il Torchio for more traditional and homey Italian cuisine. The menu doesn't seem as extensive and doesn't take too many risks. On the other hand, things are much more reasonably priced, which is always welcome. The decor has been changed enough that it feels like a different space, and I have to say I prefer the original, although there's nothing overtly wrong with Anima.
We started with the antipasto, which, while tasty, commits one of my antipasto since in not have enough olives to pick at. It's balanced by a few different cured meats and some good cheeses which go well with the provided bread.
For our main courses, we had the Penne Buttera and the Boneless Short Ribs. The penne is served with a sausage and green pepper ragout with a lot of provolone. It was pretty decent, and the portion was huge. I love me some pasta was starving and I ended up not being able to finish it all.
The short ribs turned out to be the more interesting of the two dishes, with its rosemary-balsamic sauce that was very sweet and thick along with a good broccoli rabe.
To accompany dinner we went through two bottles of a primitivo that was good but not great. As reasonable as the prices are for the food, the wine seemed a bit overpriced, although I didn't give the wine list the scrutiny I probably should have. I'm willing to back and give it a closer look.
Anima's a serviceable replacement for Il Torchio and still gives us a good option for sit-down Italian in Clinton Hill. I think it's a step down food-wise from its predecessor, but it might offer more value because of the lower prices. It was pretty crowded last night, so things are hopefully going pretty well for them. I'll definitely be back.
Update: The great myrtle Shuffle happens to have an Anima post today as well.
458 Myrtle Ave