Blue Hill Awarded Three Stars by Pete Wells


Pete Wells, the restaurant critic for The New York Times, can be a champion of chefs when he is so moved. In his reviews, he often praises the kitchen staff’s work, even if he doesn’t believe the restaurant as a concept works. Then, when he critiques an eatery that lives up to its self-proclaimed ethos, he holds little back in his accolades for the maestro or maestra of the kitchen. Such was the case in his review this week of owner and chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill in Greenwich Village, which he awarded a prestigious three-star rating, as Wells’ predecessor, Frank Bruni, did in 2006.

It is clear Wells strives to highlight chef Barber’s innovation and strong command of food, as he begins the review with a comical story of his server presenting him with two raw squashes, “One was the common football-size butternut…The other had the same shape but was about as big as a sparrow. I held it in my palm...Without thinking about what I was doing, I began petting it. The couple at the next table asked if they could see my tiny squash…Before things got too weird, our server took my pet squash back to the kitchen. When it came back, it had been roasted and cut in half…It was sweeter than a normal butternut, but what I mostly noticed was that it tasted squashier, as if all the flavor had been compressed.” Wells hen reveals the gastronomic point of the story, which is that the little gourd was an invention borne by the instance in which “Dan Barber, Blue Hill’s executive chef and a co-owner with his brother, David, had asked a Cornell agriculture professor to design a squash for him…The result is the 898 squash, served exclusively at Mr. Barber’s two restaurants, Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., and this one.”

This serves as a testimonial, microcosmic example of Well’s message in his review of Blue Hill, which is that “Mr. Barber has become a dirt poet and kitchen philosopher whose time outside with the pigs and the beans has had a deep, lasting effect on the way he cooks. Today no other chef has the information he keeps in his head (how to make pure carbon out of a cow’s femur) or the vegetables he puts in his ovens (sparrow-size squash).” And although at first it may seem that there is nothing special about Barber’s focus on local, seasonal ingredients, it’s the chef’s hands-on approach to Blue Hill’s farming, research, and educational programs that sets him above just about all the rest: “Mr. Barber opened the [Blue Hill location] in Manhattan first, in 2000, with the idea of using local seasonal produce, including some from his family’s farm in the Berkshires. This put him in the company of, oh, several hundred other chefs. A few years later, though, he was chosen to lead an ambitious project at Stone Barns that combined a farm and a restaurant with research and education programs. It turned out that he was born for the job.”

The critic does include notes on what he found displeasing during his meals there, but although this is not explicitly made clear, it seems he does this to justify why he was unable to award that coveted fourth star. There were some service missteps, “If Blue Hill had as many cooks and servers as its more favored sister upstate, they would probably iron out wrinkles like the long, stranded layovers between courses; the wineglasses that sat empty and were finally cleared with no offer of fresh ones,” and he was not impressed with the offered wine selection “the $23 glass of Rully poured ice-cold, so it was clenched and astringent. It also seems far out of character that this intensely local restaurant sells just two New York wines on its Francophilic (and not very value-minded) list, and that its only cider comes from California when there is a cider revival going on in Mr. Barber’s own, apple-rich state.” Still, Wells makes his admiration for Barber and the entire Blue Hill concept very apparent, and declares that despite a few small imperfections, “Blue Hill is still an exceptional restaurant. Mr. Barber’s long search for flavor out of town pays off downtown, where you find yourself thinking, again and again, that each new ingredient may well be the best example of its kind you’ve ever tasted.”

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant and City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


Annisa, a West Village Standout, Will Close

The acclaimed West Village restaurant Annisa, a showcase for the innovative chef and restaurateur Anita Lo, will close in May after 17 years in business.

Ms. Lo said Thursday that her real estate taxes had gone up by $80,000 in the last two years, at least doubling. That increase and the rising minimum wage, which she nonetheless believes is an important step forward for the restaurant business, have made it impossible for her to keep up with costs, she said.

“I always wanted to have a restaurant that takes care of its employees, and I felt like we did that for many years,” Ms. Lo said, sitting in the restaurant on Barrow Street. “But I can’t do that anymore.”

“Front-of-house staff was making three to four times what the back of the house was making,” she added, which is why she switched to a no-tipping model a year ago. But since raising menu prices, Ms. Lo said, she has lost almost a quarter of her diners each night. “We just can’t raise our prices anymore,” she said.

Ms. Lo said she had no immediate plans to open another restaurant. She is writing a cookbook and is looking forward to a break.

The restaurant, which was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt, received three stars from Pete Wells of The New York Times in a 2014 review. Even when packed, Mr. Wells wrote, Annisa is one of those rare, comfortable Manhattan dining rooms where people can talk to each other without shouting, and the only real distraction from dinner is the neighborhood’s nightly “canine fashion parade.”

But no one goes to a restaurant to observe Airedale terriers in checkered sweaters. Ms. Lo has a distinctive style of multicultural American cooking, reflected in her menu since Annisa opened in 2000.

That style is “hers, and hers alone, and the city is a more exciting place for it,” Mr. Wells wrote.

Ms. Lo, 51, grew up in Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in French from Columbia. She cooked at Bouley in the 1980s and at Chanterelle in the ’90s.

In a 2010 review in The Times, Sam Sifton gave Annisa two stars and called Ms. Lo “an original gangster,” noting that she used her background as a French-trained chef who had worked in American kitchens to make brilliant dishes with ingredients from all over the world.

Ms. Lo has also been a mentor to younger chefs. Several talented and adventurous New York cooks have passed through her kitchen: Sawako Okochi went on to open Shalom Japan, Sohui Kim left to open the Good Fork and Insa, Suzanne Cupps is the chef de cuisine at Untitled at the Whitney, and Edie Ugot has that position at the Spotted Pig.

“I never had kids,” Ms. Lo said, “and on some level, my restaurant family really has been my family.”


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