1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA | Directions 0213942.366519 -71.090469
“2) The other strength is it's nice ambience and a lounge/bar area that opens till late which could attract many non-Chinese professionals, but the food is too "authentic" (i.e., spicy) for non-Chinese to adapt”
“The menu is extremely overpriced: two glasses of stale wine, an appetizer of generic springrolls, and two entrees summed to $60, including tip.”
“Although the proudly displayed review plaques on the door boast a delicious, innovative, and unique take on Sichuanese cuisine, Anise is a major disappointment.”
“Clearly, either the reviewer was spotted as a restaurant critic and served off a different menu, or he knows nothing about authentic Sichuanese cuisine.”
“heard Anise is one of the best Chinese restaurant in Boston, but never tried it myself.”
“The one positive is that the waitstaff is quite friendly and attentive.”
“Completely overpriced, poor-quality Sichuanese food that doesn't even measure up to Panda Express (yikes)”
I thought I hated Chinese food.
I thought I hated Chinese food, until I tried Anise. I went here a couple of weeks ago with a friend, who suggested we grab Chinese. Begrudgingly I went along, assuming we'd walk out with some wire-handled carry-out boxes filled with chicken fingers and friend rice. Instead, what we got, was pretty much a killer meal.
Sadly, the names of our meals escape me, since both were good enough to recommend. My friend ordered the fried chicken and chili dish that had the disclaimer "good choice," which we took to be a good enough recommendation. Mine was a beef with chili and cabbage, which was dubbed a "traditional" choice on the menu, which is just my style.
My friend's chicken was great. The texture was amazing and chicken was cooked perfectly. The beef, however, was out of this world. It was so good that both of our eyes bugged out when we took a bite. It's been almost two weeks and I'm still dreaming about it.
The beef absolutely melted in your mouth. I continued eating long after I was full because I've never experienced meat that was so well-cooked in my entire life.
Both meals were short on the vegetables, but well-seasoned. They were spicy enough to need the white rice that came with them, but hardly lip-burners.
Sadly, we walked into Anise so famished that we went right for the entrees--so no reviews of the appetizers. To make matters worse, we were in a bit of a rush, so we didn't have time for dessert and drinks.
We definitely didn't give Anise the time it deserved; we'll definitely be back some time soon.
Overal, Anise has remedied everything that usually makes me cringe when I walk into a Chinese restaurant: they've shortened their menus, made clear what the chef's specialties really are, and offered the authentic dishes on the English-language menu.
So why only four stars? They had a Bonnie Tyler and a Michael Bolton CD on alternate shuffle. Fix that small detail Anise and you might just see your tables fill up on a Friday night.
Best Sichuan (Chinese restaurant).
I am Chinese and have lived in the U.S. for 10 years. My boyfriend is caucasian. We just moved to a house a block away from Anise.
I heard Anise is one of the best Chinese restaurant in Boston, but never tried it myself. My boyfriend went there once with his colleagues for lunch and said it was horrible, which pretty much stopped me from trying. One day, I was really craving for Chinese food and didn't want to go far, so I convinced myself and my boyfriend to have dinner there.
It was by far one of the best Sichuan (Chinese) restaurant I've ever been to in the U.S. (I lived quite some time in NYC and SF also). All the ingredients are very authentic. I was extremely happy aftter the meal.
I think here are the reasons why it wan't very popular
1) It's strength is authentic Chinese food, but it's much more upscale than most other Chinese restaurant which is not good as most Chinese around are students who are price sensitive
2) The other strength is it's nice ambience and a lounge/bar area that opens till late which could attract many non-Chinese professionals, but the food is too "authentic" (i.e., spicy) for non-Chinese to adapt
Anyways, their appetizers are quite reasonably priced $5-7 and have some of the best dishes
An awful disappointment.. Although the proudly displayed review plaques on the door boast a delicious, innovative, and unique take on Sichuanese cuisine, Anise is a major disappointment. The atmosphere is complacently comfortable, but oppresively boring. The food is just awful - bland, flavorless, completely unimaginative, prepared carelessly and indelicately. Chicken & Broccoli - slimy boiled chicken in salty broth, accompanied by overcooked broccoli. Beef with Chili Powder - slimy, chewy sauteed beef drenched in oil and some dull, slighly bitter mystery sauce, topped with a generous tablespoon of undissolved chili powder. Despite being friendly, the waitsaff seems rather unconcerned about the quality of your meal or your dining experience. The menu is extremely overpriced: two glasses of stale wine, an appetizer of generic springrolls, and two entrees summed to $60, including tip.
Completely overpriced, poor-quality Sichuanese food that doesn't even measure up to Panda Express (yikes).
I went with a friend on a Saturday night in February after reading a rave review in the Boston Globe magazine's "94 New Reasons to Love This Town" edition (1/28/07). Clearly, either the reviewer was spotted as a restaurant critic and served off a different menu, or he knows nothing about authentic Sichuanese cuisine. The pork bellies (hui guo ruo) and wontons the review specifically mentioned were just plain terrible. The former, which is a classic Sichuanese dish that is delectable when properly prepared, was rubbery, over-cooked, indifferently spiced, and quite honestly worse than the same dish I've had at mall food courts. It wasn't even warm when it arrived at the table. The wontons were OK -- but only marginally better than what you could make at home using frozen wontons from Super 88. They had also been soaking in the black vinegar-based sauce so long that the machine-made skins were completely soaked through with vinegar. We also ordered a scallop dish, which took some quite magnificent scallops, deep-fried them in a soggy batter, then drowned them in a strange, sweet-spicy sauce that reminded me of pre-bottled sauces used in Chinese corner takeout.
The restaurant is well-decorated, dimly lit, and clearly aiming for a more upscale audience than your typical hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. (Think PF Chang's without the chain-restaurant image, and with only a half-dozen couples on a Saturday night -- clearly a warning sign we should have heeded.) However, at $80 for dinner for two (two entrees, rice, a half-bottle of wine, and tip; no dessert or coffee), it is outrageously overpriced for the quality. The one positive is that the waitstaff is quite friendly and attentive. Unfortunately, it doesn't make up for the food. As a ethnic Chinese foodie who grew up in LA, I recognize my standards for Chinese food are high, but Anise can't even beat Panda Express.
Editorial Review. Sichuanese restaurant sits across from The Blue Room in Kendall Square.
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