Friday, September 10, 2010

Animal Restaurant 8/25/10

By the time you get through this post, you'll understand why I've been eating so many salads lately. After our decadent dinner at Bistro LQ, it was time for me to take Kris out for his birthday which incidentally is the day after mine. A month later we finally went to Animal which I had been wanting to try for quite some time.  Animal is owned by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Two Dudes Catering. The menu changes daily, but some of the items are pretty much permanent and I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to order as we entered the restaurant. My mood darkened a bit when we entered and they couldn't find my reservation, but we managed to get a table. The restaurant wasn't too busy at first, but eventually filled up so I was happy we were seated at an actual table and not at the bar as they had told us we would have to be.

First up was the chicken liver toast. Kris loves chicken livers, me not so much. I can't seem to get past the chalky texture. However, the sweetness of the topping (which is escaping my memory at the moment) mixed in with the livers was actually a good contrast. I wish there had been more of it.

Chicken Liver Toast

The hamachi tostada was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The hamachi was fresh and light as if it had been caught that afternoon and went well with the peanut slaw that had just enough fish sauce to balance the vinaigrette.

Hamachi Tostada

Sweetbreads with creamed spinach, capers, and oyster mushrooms. As you may have noticed, I've been doing some more adventurous eating this summer. Of course, I was hesitant to try sweetbreads, but birthday boy insisted. In all honesty, they tasted like fried food. The creamed spinach was good, but a bit rich though the capers and citrus segments cut through that richness a bit.

sweetbreads, creamed spinach, capers, oyster mushroom

Though I was hesitant to try the sweetbreads, I was super excited to try the bone marrow. The Texas toast was good for spreading the marrow, but the chimichurri while fresh and full of flavor, kind of overpowered the flavor of the bone marrow. It was hard to taste the marrow on it's own, because they chimichurri had seeped into every pore.

marrow bone, chimichurri, caramelized onions 9

The piece de resistance and second favorite part of the meal was the oxtail poutine. Poutine purists like JenFinn would shudder in fear because this ain't your every day poutine. The fries come topped with a load of rich oxtail gravy and shredded cheddar cheese. Yes, I said shredded curds here...and you know what? Who cares?! This is rich and heavy and full of stuff that is not conducive to fitting into a bathing suit, but it's so worth it. I kept eating this long after I knew I shouldn't and I'm glad I did.

Oxtail Poutine

After all of that oxtail gravy, I managed to find just a tiny bit of room for dessert. The bacon chocolate crunch bar with salt and pepper anglaise is good, but surprisingly not as bacony as I had hoped for.

bacon chocolate crunch bar, s&p anglaise

Overall this was a great first meal at Animal. It's a great place to take a bunch of friends so you can order everything on the menu and share. The service is fast though not the most friendly (perhaps I'm still feeling spoiled from our exceptional service at LudoBites) and the dishes come out quick. I'll definitely be back to try more of the items we didn't get to this first time. In the meantime...more salads to come!

Animal Restaurant
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225

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Diana said...

Haha, I know the feeling exactly! The whole reason I made the salad I posted about today is because I was chowing up a storm last weekend at ToBH! Balance is key!

I really like Animal though. Still need to try bone marrow too, but I think I'm going to pop that cherry at Pizzeria Mozza. I hear theirs is amazing!

Erica said...

oh my! This is a unique spot for sure. Glad you enjoyed yourself. This made my tummy toss a bit ;)You are much more adventurous than this chica haha. Hope you have a great weekend

Thistlemoon said...

Sounds so good and decadent! I especially love the poutine, and I am in (almost - by about 40 miles) poutine country!

Joanne said...

Whoa this is not just eating, it's EXTREME eating! I don't know if I could have had the guts to try all of this but it's so awesome that you did!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Hmmm - not the best way to try sweetbreads! I've always wanted to try poutine, and I am prepared to start with the oxtail version.

vanillasugarblog said...

a couple glasses of wine and i'm good to try new things too. bone marrow is supposed to be very good for you isn't it? or am i trying to make it sound better? LOL
have a great weekend ms thing!

Jenn said...

I've been wanting to try Animal since they've opened. I really really more now. :)

Unknown said...

wow, what a meal! I accidentally tried sweetbreads once... was not a fan. glad you guys had a fabulous meal!

marla {Family Fresh Cooking} said...

Girl, this is a gutsy dinner that would actually take me a bit out of my comfort zone. The hamachi & dessert would be my picks. I always think I am adventurous, but maybe not so much :) xo

Andy said...

Was walking down Fairfax last night and there was Animal.. and there was a space at the bar... and so I ate there. Windattack was very impressed with the creative dishes, friendly service and even the seemingly plain space it's presented in. I will be back for more!