Anthology, better or worse?

It had been a long time since we last went to Anthology, down in Little Italy (actually, I take that back, we were there for T’s company holiday party).  I signed up to be on their mailing list, to keep an eye on performers coming through.  So, when I saw that a Bjorkestra was going to be there, I sent the e-mail to T, more as a joke than anything else.

See, I’m not a fan of Bjork.  I used to be able to listen to her music, but then I watched Dancer in the Dark and I was just completely put off.  The movie was weird and depressing and the music and singing just didn’t help matters.  Then I saw her at that awards show dressed as a swan.  So, all the weirdness and the Scandinavian wailing got to me and I haven’t been able to enjoy her music since.  T, however, truly enjoys Bjork, so he truly was interested in the idea of a Bjorkestra.  Because I love him and like the food at Anthology, I was willing to go along.

It seems a few things have changed at Anthology since our last purchased visit.  Tickets are now purchased directly through their website and confirmation also serves as your dinner reservations.  Before, I think you bought tickets through Ticketmaster and then had to separately call the restaurant to make dinner reservations.  Also, they used to have a fixed price menu option (that wasn’t much of a deal) that would secure you a table on the main floor, as opposed to the seats around the main floor (which were still awesome seats).  I also think tickets have gotten cheaper, which is nice, but I noticed the house band now has a cover.  It’s only $5, but before they had no cover.  Conversely, the food/drink minimum per person has been lowered to $15.  Side note: all you need is, like, one drink or food item and you’re covered.  That’s how not-cheap it is.

Speaking of which, I could swear the menu has gone up in price.  Maybe it’s the dishes being offered right now (the menu will change in the summer), but I don’t remember all the entrees being around $35.  What we also learned on this recent visit, though, is that you can sit in the dining area but order off the bar menu.  The bar menu has a burger, ahi sliders, and a few other small dishes, but it’s at least $10 cheaper than the dining room menu.  So there’s one option.

All in all, it’s still a very fun night out.  It’s just not a cheap one.  The food is still exceptional and it’s still pretty small servings.  It’s a place that makes you take the time to slowly chew your food and savor the flavors, because it you just plow through it you’ll have an empty plate and still be hungry.  You know, because of that whole 20-minutes-for-your-brain-to-tell-you-you’re-full thing?

We had a crispy shortrib pocket as an appetizer, which is one “pocket”, but filled with tasty braised beef that goes so nicely with the deep fried wrapper.  We also had a zucchini fennel muffin (which I liked and T didn’t) and foccacia.  They only give you one at a time, but no one’s ever looked at me funny when I ask for another one later.  T had the salmon and I ordered the sea bass, both of which were moist and tender and served with the crispy, crispy skin side up.  They do fish dishes better than most restaurants I know.  We also had the banana french toast for dessert, which was good, but not spectacular.  I liked their mini cupcakes better.  I didn’t see the final bill, but I’m guessing it was considerably more than the $38 I paid for the ticket portion of our night.

As for Bjorkestra, they were entertaining and good.  I liked their singer very much – she was cute and had a nice voice.  I imagine it’s hard to sing Bjork songs if you’re not Bjork, but she did a good job.  The problem is, I enjoyed the band very much but T actually likes Bjork’s music as it is so he wasn’t as enamored by their composition fiddling.  So, Bjorkestra: good for people who don’t like Bjork, not so much for actual fans.  Go figure!

As for Anthology, we picked up some free tickets to a Wednesday show later in the month (upper level general admission only).  I need to look up the band to see if we really want to go.  Now that I know you can order off the bar menu, I think this would be a more inexpensive way to go.  Of course, their drink prices are still quite high.

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