809 9th Avenue
New York, N.Y.
The only thing better than pizza and wine is pizza and wine with people you love. Last Thursday my friends and I met at Annabel’s on 9th avenue to catch up over a delicious meal and it proved to be a place I’ll be returning to again soon.
Annabel’s has 11 different artisan wood-fired pizzas to choose from and a wine list you could spend your whole meal contemplating over. The good news is the server can help you with the wine but your taste buds will have to direct you to the pizza that speaks to you since the varieties range from bold, bolder to boldest. Some standout options: goat cheese, roasted squash, and spicy organic kale; ricotta, duck prosciutto, and blueberry chutney; eggplant, tomato sauce, pesto, capers, chili flakes and pecorina; gruyere, applewood bacon, eggs, brussels and chili flakes… you get the idea. Check out the rest of the menu options here so you can start salivating.
While my friend J.B. raved over the duck prosciutto pizza, Laila and I were interested in something that sounded a bit lighter so we opted for the octopus and chopped clam pizza with red chili flakes and parsley ($18). This one’s actually cheese-less, which usually is not up my alley since I’m a cheese fanatic, but after it appeared on our table, and even more so after a first bite, I could not have been happier with our choice. It’s certainly a first for me to have octopus on pizza and the combination of octopus and clams was a match in seafood heaven, all supported by a delicious crispy crust with a spicy marinara enhanced by the red chili flakes.
Don’t be let down by the number of clam shells that embellish the pizza; It’s just for show. The clams were finely chopped and distributed across the pie so there was not a bad slice on the table — all fair game!
But pizza was not the only highlight of the meal. The wine, a 2012 Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon, was the perfect pairing for pizza. We also started the meal with a single meatball which was large enough to share amongst the three of us but the presentation looked nicer — with a basil leaf and melted cheese — than it tasted. It could have been an off night but it was slightly pink in the middle, not my personal preference. The pasta dish on the other hand, a cavatelli with beef osso buco ragu was very fresh and a nice portion size for a pasta entree ($18). It also wasn’t too salty which is sometimes a risk you take when ordering beef ragu.
Overall, Annabel had a pleasant, formal ambience minus any stuffiness you could expect at a restaurant in the theatre district. The service was fantastic and the interior is warm and welcoming, perfect for date night or for dinner and/or drinks with friends. A recent visitor compared the restaurant to a “trendy wine celler” with wood paneling and orange drop lamps. Their only warning? “Hot chili oil is spicier than you think.” My favorite Yelp comment though? “Annabel, you had me at duck prosciutto.”
Dear duck prosciutto,
I’ll be back for you.
With love and my best pizza intentions,