AnnaLena’s Dinner Series Are Not Like Other Restaurants’

Super Mario and an athleisure brand make for some interesting culinary inspiration.

So, I’m going to let you in on a bit of a secret: you know all those specials event dinners most restaurants have? They’re not the chef expressing her/his creative vision as much as they usually are vehicles to fill seats either at slow times of year or slow nights during the week or both. Want proof? When was the last time you saw a winemaker’s dinner on a Friday night in early December?

But AnnaLena is different. For starters I get the distinct impression that bums in seats ain’t exactly a driving concern for them. I live nearby and can speak first hand to how flipping hard it is to get a table there without some serious planning. My last dinner there was a few weeks back on a Wednesday before Bard on the Beach—and even then I was only able to get two seats at the bar for 5:45 pm. (They did give me 10% off my meal though, which was excellent, as a perk to those going to Bard without me even asking, which was solid).

So when they started a dinner series earlier this year, I took note. First up was an menu based on all things Super Mario, which was followed by an ode the Roland 808, an early ’80s drum machine, so I think it’s fair to say that these are not trying to snag the low-hanging-fruit topics like We Love Rosé or Westcoast Mardi Gras. Next up: a two night collaboration with local activewear brand Reigning Champ. Evidently each of the eight courses will be themed on a different sport: rugby is a meat pie, cricket is fish and chips, tennis is strawberries and cream.

Again, back to the honesty bit: I don’t really get the theme. But all that I really care about is that it’s something that Chef Mikey Robbins is jacked up about and that he’s only charging $119 for eight courses. And that if you book a ticket, you can actually snag a table here. And Reigning Champ makes the best sockettes for men in the entire world. So when you add up all these wildly disparate elements, you get something that’ll probably be a site more memorable than your usual “special” dinner.