Around the BLOCK

Anna’s Oven

Written By: Mary Bloch - Nov• 11•11

We went to Anna’s Oven on a cold, dreary and rainy November evening. Except for the fact that it was no fun dodging puddles, it was the perfect night to enjoy some engaging comfort food, which is exactly what Anna’s oven is all about. The restaurant itself is endearing and, though you order at a counter and wait for the server to bring your meal, it feels nothing like a short order, fast-food kind of joint. Rather, the warm walls , painted tables, chalk board menu and eclectic music are just the kind of place you want to find yourself in when you come in from the rain.

Lasagne is a specialty, and it’s easy to see why after taking a bite. The red sauce is on the sweet side, the noodles are homemade and there’s an abundance of filling and cheese between the layers.

I’d heard the roast chicken was also exceptional. It comes two ways–traditional or 10 spice. They were out of the traditional so I opted for the 10 spice chicken. It was beautifully roasted and very moist. But the 10 spices permeated the chicken in a way I’ve never been able to manage when I marinate a chicken.  The only problem was that I really disliked the spices. I asked what they were and was told wine, garlic, ginger and peppercorns, as well as a few secret spices. Since one of the investors owns Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill, I’d lay odds that 5 of those 10 spices come from 5 spice powder (made of China cassia cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and cloves) one of the few tastes on this earth that I can’t abide. I’d go back and have the traditional roast chicken in a heart beat, especially with those marvelous mashed potatoes. They aren’t smooth and creamy, but if you  like chunks of real potatoes in your mash, you’ll love these. Because my 1/2 chicken came with two sides, I also ordered Mac & Cheese so we could taste what is another hot seller. All at the table agreed it was rich, creamy and definitely not from a box.

Prices are ridiculously reasonable. The half chicken with two substantial sides was $12. A hefty portion of lasagna is $8. All entrées come with a slice of focaccia from Bagel Works (the only thing not made in-house), though you can also order a plate of bread with dipping oil for $3. Side salads are huge, as all portions. Other comfort foods in addition to those we enjoyed include meatloaf and chicken pot pie.

Desserts, including blueberry pineapple cobbler, cookies and brownies are just like Grandma used to make, or in this case, Anna. The restaurant’s namesake was a real person–the owner’s grandmother from whom she got most of the recipes that the chef uses in the kitchen.

Wines can be had by the glass, or diners can peruse the bottles of wine that grace the sideboard by the menu, and pick one for the server to pour at the table.

Starting in mid-November, the restaurant will start serving breakfast, including waffles, quiche, and biscuits and gravy.

Eventually, when Anna’s Oven turns a profit, 50% of the profits will go to charity, and the first designee is a girl’s school in Kenya.

This is the kind of restaurant one hopes succeeds.

Anna's Oven on Urbanspoon

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