Locals will likely beat you to bar on the weekends at The Annex Kitchen. That’s because they know it opens for happy hour at 4:00 p.m., while the first seating for dinner isn’t until 5:00 p.m.
Arriving early is worth the effort. You’ll be greeted with a modern, subway-tiled bar area and a marble countertop — a fitting backdrop for such creative cocktails as a Barrel Aged White Negroni, a sophisticated blend of gin and liqueurs garnished with lemon peel. Bicycle Built for Two is a smooth, tangy drink made of bourbon, rye, and lemon bitters.
Appetizers range from meatballs and roasted bone marrow to mussels, but in order to ensure you try each of the restaurant’s specialties consider starting with a wood-fired pizza. California is where pizza became the creative chef’s blank canvas, a fact well illustrated by the Pesto + Burrata pie, which is sprinkled with bacon and fontina cheese, then topped with generous dollops of creamy burrata cheese and finished with pesto.
For dinner, both meat and vegetable lovers will welcome the yield of the wood-burning hearth, which imbues food with delicate, complex flavor. The alternative is pasta that is handmade in the restaurant daily. Bucatini is served truly al dente with a tomato sauce that leaves a tingle of heat balanced by buttery pancetta, sweet red onion, and pecorino. Also expertly cooked to al dente, Tagliatelle is tossed with a blend of shredded lamb ragu that is rich, meaty, and comforting.
For dessert, splurge on the Affogato. Locally made vanilla ice cream gets topped with warm, smooth espresso and whipped cream. The sweet treat is served with a piece of crunchy pistachio biscotti.
Service at The Annex Kitchen is welcoming and attentive and always includes a smile — from the time you step into the restaurant until you exit, pleasantly full and satisfied.