Warehouse District & Center City: 1016 Annunciation. 504-568-0245. Map.
AE DC DS MC V
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Most important fact: Chef-owner Steve Manning put in two extended stints running the kitchen at Clancy’s before opening Annunciation. That was long enough for the style of that still-superb Uptown bistro to be largely Steve’s–and vice-versa. In its first year, Annunciation seems to be sticking with the dishes Steve can cook with his eyes closed, with new dishes appearing mostly on the specials list.
If you like Clancy’s, you’ll like this place. Not only is the food similar, but the buzz among the regulars was well established shortly after Annunciation opened. Enough about that. The food is semi-retro, and includes great dishes that were popular in the 1980s but have become since less common. Panneed veal with fettuccine, for example. Broiled chicken topped with one kind or another of hash. Simple, straightforward work with fresh fish. Lots of crabmeat. More pasta than you’d expect.
The coincidences keep coming. Annunciation is at the downtown end of its namesake street, Clancy’s is at the uptown extreme of the same street. The addresses are respectively 1016 and 6100. (Cue the theramin.) Before the renovation, the building housed the original Deanie’s. Not the one in Bucktown, but an earlier workingman’s cafe that served great breakfasts and lunches for 45 years and will be missed.
The building underwent an extensive de-renovation in its conversion to Annunciation. Deanie’s was sleek and a bit Deco. Annunciation has a much older look, with exposed beams contrasting with a glassed-in wine cellar and a spiffy bar. A third of the tables run from the vestibule into the bar, with the rest in an adjacent room with many windows. A table that isn’t used much is at a window between the host stand and the wine locker. For the staff to enter the latter, any customer at that table has to actually get up from his chair and stand aside.
»Fried oysters with melted brie and sauteed spinach
»Seared sea scallops, seared foie gras
Grilled shrimp Poeyfarre
Veal sweetbreads, gnocchi, pancetta, mushrooms
»Green salad, chopped vegetables, vinaigrette, ricotta salata »Shrimp remoulade
Sauteed black drum, crabmeat and coconut mk
Crabmeat, lobster and shrimp risotto
»Spaghettini bordelaise with fried oysters
»Fried wild-caught Des Allemands catfish
Pan-roasted chicken bonne femme
»Veal Annunciation (panneed, fettuccine Alfredo)
Veal marsala, mushrooms, polenta cake
Grilled hanger steak, shallot demi-glace
Roast pork shoulder, jalapeno, smoked onion gravy, grits
»Lemon ice box pie
FOR BEST RESULTS
This is not a large restaurant, and it picks up a good number of walk-ins from Cochon across the street. So make reservations. Eating at the bar is popular here, and the cocktails are good.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
As much as I love the food from the Gourmet Bistro Era (a lot), I’m a little disappointed that Steve Manning hasn’t yet added much in the way of new dishes. It’s surprising that Annunciation doesn’t have a full website.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +2
- Consistency +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar +1
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +2
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Reservations recommended