Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Real Animal

Every month my boyfriend and partner and crime Eron and I alternate choosing a restaurant, choosing a place for drinks or something special afterwards and hosting a date. The dates range widely depending on our budget at the moment. This month, for our slightly more special six month anniversary, Eron took me to Animal.

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are the chefs behind Animal. They have been awarded with accolades and press attention for their restaurant as well as their book, Two Guys One Pan. The menu is heavy on all parts and kinds of meat, and is created using the products of local farms. The menu changes daily according to what's fresh as well as the whims of the chefs.

We started the night with the Quail Fry with collard greens, slab bacon, and grits. This decadent take on Southern cuisine was tender and crispy, though somewhat difficult to eat politely. I struggled taking the meat off the tiny bones with the suddenly too-big fork. 

The next course was a dish that can only be served in LA, and only in the summer; Heirloom tomatoes with blue cheese and cornbread. The tomatoes were what all tomatoes want to be, but only a very few ever will.

The next course, which overshadowed the others was the seared foie gras over a biscuit with maple gravy. It was overwhelmingly rich and decadent, tastes that I savored and absorbed, shushing my boyfriend while I closed my eyes to taste the sweetness of all three levels of fat. What really made this dish special was the pepper on top. Without it, it could have been too rich and too bland but the pepper helped it to step back, and helped me to enjoy it. This is one of Jonathan Gould's 99 things to eat in LA before you die, and with good reason!

Still hungry (portions are small) we ordered the Foie Gras Moco Loco. Imagine if you will, Rice, then hamburger steak, spam, and seared foie gras with a tiny quail egg on top. Levels and levels of what meat is meant to be, soft, strange, and with spam. 

We finished the night with the chocolate bacon bar. The cream which was surprisingly savory, really made the bar what it was and I was disappointed there was not more. The dessert felt more like it was falling into the hipster trend of bacon with everything instead of doing something really revolutionary with the sweet and salty taste in the dessert. 

The white wine list was impressive, but I felt the red wine list was really lacking in the fun and interesting reds that can hold their own next to the food.

We rolled down the street afterward, full of fat but happy. Animal to me isn't a place to go every night, it's a bit too pricey, and definitely too rich to make it a weekly or even monthly affair, but a place I would go again for a special occasion, or if I really just wanted some delicious meat.

Animal Restaurant
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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