Dine and Dish: The Annex Kitchen in Northwest Fresno

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Friday, February 24, 2023
Dine and Dish: The Annex Kitchen in Northwest Fresno
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The Annex Kitchen is a place where you go and think you're ready to order - until you see someone else's order.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Something amazing is always being prepared at The Annex Kitchen in northwest Fresno.

Customers may not hear the sound of the cork but they appreciate it.

After braising the beef short rib in a red wine sauce for five hours, Chef Nestor Herrera just keeps basting it.

"It's been one of the staples for the past seven years," Herrera says. "It makes it nice and sticky and adds all those juices back into it."

Sounds like the steady tick-tock of a clock.

Only Chef Nestor knows when it's time to plate the polenta and stack that short rib high above.

The tower also needs a topping.

"That's gremolata, which is parsley, celery leaf and lemon zest. It's doing to add a little brightness to the dish," Herrera says.

The result is a sight to behold. The beef is incredibly tender.

Owner and Chef Jimmy Pardini set out to give folks in the neighborhood an authentic Italian food experience.

"Our agnolotti is filled pasta, like a really small ravioli. It's hand-made and it's a seasonal dish," Pardini says. "In the summer we do the Fresno State corn. In the fall we do the butternut squash."

Chef Nestor and the rest of the staff are always busy making pasta.

"People love the pasta. We sell over a hundred pastas over the weekend," Herrera says.

The butternut squash agnolotti is prepared with sage, amaretti cookie and balsamic.

"We always do it with the intent of how would an Italian grandmother prepare this dish," Pardini says.

The popular pizzas are made in an oven that was brought in from Naples, Italy.

"I wasn't even going to do pizza here in the beginning," Pardini says. "My designer, an Italian guy, said you have to put a wood-fired pizza oven in here. Everybody loves pizza."

Diners love the food and atmosphere.

General manager Noah Wettstead says you'll always find something different.

"I think what brings people here is the constantly rotating menu. It starts with the food," Wettstead says. "We're able to execute phenomenal dishes coming out of the kitchen."

"They love our bar program and the craft cocktails," Pardini says.

And for dessert, Chef Nestor prepared an Italian favorite that comes with both chocolate and caramel dipping sauce.

"It's like little fried donuts. They're called zeppoles. It's a batter made with eggs with ricotta cheese," Herrera says.

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