2.15.2009

Animal - Los Angeles

435 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323.782.9225
http://www.animalrestaurant.com/
Chefs: Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo AKA: "The Food Dudes"

UNSUSPECTING - The dictionary defines this word as "not thinking likely or deceiving the unsuspecting public." I would say that this is the perfect word to describe what is going on over at Animal. Unsuspecting in the fact that there is no signage to indicate the restaurant.
Unsuspecting that these two "Food Dudes" are creating such fantastic food. Here's a picture of the inside of the restaurant looking out toward the street. The design of this restaurant is definitely minimal. pork belly, kimchi, peanuts, chili soy, scallions (11)
Take a look at the carmelization and crispiness of that pork belly. The pork belly was nicely cooked with the exterior having an excellent crisp and the interior revealing moist and succulent meat. The kimchi at Animal isn't your typical Korean style kimchi. This version is thinly sliced as opposed to the thicker pieces of cabbage. The chili soy added a extra flavor boost to the pork belly. When the kimchi and the chili soy were eaten together, it was a bit too salty for my liking. But I love that Animal is willing to put out interesting and innvotative dishes that pack tons of flavor.

foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy (22) I WANT MORE!! GIVE ME MORE! This was what I was thinking after just finishing this dish. A perfectly executed lobe of foie gras sits on top of a fluffy biscuit that is swimming in a sweet and savory maple sausage gravy. I would have to rate this dish as one of my favorite dishes I have tasted. The foie gras and the maple sausage gravy went so well together. Foie gras is usually paired with a sweet component of some sort, and at Animal they stayed true to that rule. I think I could have ordered about 3 or 4 more orders of this dish. I just wanted to pick up the plate and lick every last morsel and spot of gravy. I didn't... But I should have...Next time...

flat iron, mash, foie gras sauce, roasted cipollini onions (28)

"You had me at foie gras." What is it about foie gras that makes me want to order it whenever I see it on a menu? This wasn't even a foie gras dish; it was just a foie gras sauce. The flat iron steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare as specified. A tender and flavorful steak that tasted even better with the foie gras sauce. The foie gras sauce itself wasn't what I thought it would be. It had a faint hint of that livery foie gras flavor. The mash potatoes were very smooth, although in my opinion too smooth. Lately, I have been enjoying a little bit of texture or small chunks of potato in my mash. The roasted cippolini onions were cooked perfectly as well. This dish was a meat and pototoes type of dish. A solid and good dish but nothing really outstanding.

tres leches, dulce de leches (7) The tres leches cake was a good but not excellent version. The frosting on top was well done with it not being too sweet but just had the right sweetness. The cake sat on top of a sauce that was similar to caramel. The cake itself was moist as it should be. I would have preferred that it to be soaked a tad bit more with milk to moisten the cake even more.

Animal was just recently nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category. Unsuspecting is no longer the word that would describe Animal. Expect is the new word...as in...you should expect to have a good meal at Animal. This is not a restaurant that has delicate and subtle flavors. The food at Animal is bold and full of flavor. Definitely deserving of a nomination for best new restaurant!

2 comments:

kayoko said...

i have been dying to go to Animal. Tres Leches... YESSS!!!

TNT said...

Animal is most definitely worth going to. Hahahah.. another tres leches lover.