There once was a restaurant on Myrtle Avenue called Il Torchio. It served middling Italian food in an intimate setting. Today it’s gone, and in its place is Anima (“soul” in Italian). The setting is largely unchanged and still romantic, with exposed-brick walls and wine-laden shelves illuminated by candlelight. Unfortunately, Anima’s food, different from Il Torchio’s, is no less mediocre. While a starter of four sautéed shrimp in a light tomato sauce, served with a zesty lemon-risotto cake, showed promise, the kitchen’s shortcomings quickly became apparent. Another appetizer, caponata, tasted like the traditional sweet-and-sour eggplant mixture had been well prepared originally, but a fizzy sensation—the result of fermentation—made it apparent that it had passed its prime. A classic tagliatelle with bolognese sauce wasn’t exactly bad, yet we’d expect more from the mostly Italian (and charmingly jovial) staff than this oversauced and slightly watery version. Meanwhile, an entrée of tender braised short ribs sat on a mound of sautéed broccoli rabe, the whole thing marred by an intensely syrupy balsamic reduction, which should have been dispensed by the dropper, not the spoonful (if at all). Safer bets for dessert—including a standard tiramisu, and the classic Tuscan pairing of cantucci (biscotti) with vin santo—proved less problematic. The soul of Anima, it seems, is too much that of its predecessor.
Anima Italian Bistro
|Venue name:||Anima Italian Bistro||Contact:|
458 Myrtle Ave
|Cross street:||between Washington and Waverly Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 11:30am–11pm; Fri 11:30am–midnight; Sat 10:30am–midnight; Sun 10:30am–10pm|
|Transport:||Subway: G to Clinton–Washington Aves|
|Price:||Average main course: $13. AmEx, MC, V|