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Animal Restaurant

435 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90048
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Animal Restaurant
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  • Animal RestaurantAmbassadorPro 2014
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    Really interesting dishes for a daring meal! Came here for the foie gras since there's a lending statewide ban. Got the foie gras loco moco, foie gras agnolotti, and pork belly sliders. Yum!

    Recommended for:Foodies
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  • Animal RestaurantPro 2014
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    "Animal", a funny name for a restaurant but very fitting. Their menu will make any adventurous carnivore happy. However, if you are expecting some manly meaty love, you might be disappointed.

    Animal really reminds me of a restaurant called Ubuntu in Napa Valley. For those of you not familiar with the Bay Area dining scene, Ubuntu is a vegetarian (and vegan friendly) restaurant featuring farm fresh ingredients and highly innovative menu. How is that related to a meat centric restaurant, you might ask? I found these two to be almost the mirror image of each other. Their philosophy and creativity are the yin and yang.

    Let me quickly get to the point before you get tried of my rumbling.

    The food is excellent. Everything tasted and looked great. You have to come here with an open mind and be adventurous. Don't be scared away by items such as veal brains or pig head on the menu. I can reassure you, the presentation is amazing and most of the time the food looks nothing like its original form.

    All of the dishes I have tried were excellent. The most memorable ones were the veal brains and the quail. For those of you who never had brains before, it actually has a silky texture similar to tofu with almost no distinct flavors. The deep fried veal brains was such a delicacy. The sauce compliments it well. The quail has a great texture. Every bite was juicy and tender. Love that yogurt sauce too.

    If you want something refreshing to offset the stronger meat dishes, Heirloom Melon is an excellent choice. It works well as a palette cleanser too. Of course, you can't go wrong with their foie gras with biscuit. Oh...let's not forget about their Coconut Sweetbreads and Crispy Rabbit Legs. Did I mention I like most of their dishes I have tried? The Balsamic Pork Ribs is probably my least favorite one. The sauce was too sour and the ribs was not as tender as I would like.

    Dinner format is tapa like and sharing is highly encouraged. Bring a bunch of friends so you can try a variety of stuff.

    The dessert was not as amazing as their main dishes I am afraid. I found their Tres Leches cake to be quite weak. What happened to the rich milk flavors? Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar was decent but this combination should be no stranger to anyone who tried the famous Vosges bacon chocolate bars.

    Reservation is a must. There are only very limited seats available for walk ins. Make sure you reserve your table well in advance too.

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  • Animal Restaurant
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    One of my favorite restaurants in LA! Animal is so delicious that you're going to want to get everything on the menu, so it's best to go with a group of people so you can share many, many dishes. Almost all of the dishes are sinful (i.e. rich), like the poutine covered in gravy, the bone marrow, pig ear, chicken liver toast... is your mouth watering yet? And don't forget the bacon chocolate for dessert!

    Recommended for:Foodies
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  • Animal Restaurant
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    I used to absolutely adore this place, but post foie ban, I think it has lost some of its lustre. The dishes are still inventive, the service is still attentive, but I feel like the price tag is a tad high for what you get. Given all the competition these days, I am not in any hurry to get back here.

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  • Animal Restaurant
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    Rawrrrr. Animal brings out the animal in me. I just want to eat everything. All of it.
    Seriously, there's nothing here that's not good. The weakest link of all their dishes is their bacon crunch bar, but that's not saying much because it's still pretty yummy.

    This is the go-to place if you ever want to indulge. Beware though, it's all pretty heavy stuff!

    Recommended for:Foodies
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  • Animal Restaurant
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    What a fun and interesting experience for my mouth. Animal provides a casual atmosphere for a nice dining experience. It's more a of tapas kind of place and although some of the things on the menu might scare you, you'll need to push the limits and try them, especially the most bizarre sounding ones too! We've never been so we asked our very much informed waiter for suggestions. We finalized our decision with: bone marrow, pig ear, barbeque pork sandwiches, poutine, and the flat iron (yes, my husband and I are big eaters). I have to say there wasn't one thing I didn't like, although coming from a Vietnamese background, we eat some crazy stuff already, however this was a totally new take on some of the stuff. Honestly I think people are scared when they hear tongue or brains, but if you didn't tell me ahead of time, I probably wouldn't have known and thought it was delicious. This place is worth checking out as their food is creative and innovative. These guys even made it on to a Yahoo article about the top places to dine at in California for their interesting take and skills on parts of an animal that most people usually waste.

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  • Animal Restaurant

    *4.5 stars* (now that foie gras has been banned in California, or else it would have been a resounding 5 stars).

    I read all of the rave reviews, seen the photos, watched Anthony Bourdain drunkenly proclaim its greatness. The hype for Animal was at maximum level for me, dangerously vulnerable to being easily overrated. It was set to be doomed from the start.

    But the second I took a glimpse at the menu, a Michael Bay directed montage rushed through my mind with fiery explosions of juicy foie gras and crispy pig ear slapping me in the face. With every dish, I caught myself shouting to myself: "That sounds damn good," unknowingly smiling from ear-to-ear, probably pretty creepily.

    Animal turned out to be one of the best eating experiences I've ever had in the LA area.

    ---------------------------
    FOOD:

    Beef Tendon Chips w/ Pho Sauce:
    Delicious as all hell. They appeared and crunched like perfectly-fried chicharrones, but had the delicious flavor of beef tendon. I could eat these all day everyday. The pho sauce was interesting, but the chips really didn't need it -- they were awesome by themselves.

    Bone Marrow w/ Chimichurri:
    Excellently-prepared bone marrow with a nice, garlicky chimichurri on top. I'm a bone marrow minimalist, so I actually prefer just the fatty flavor of the bone marrow with a little salt -- that's how I believe it should always be prepared. Although the chimichurri definitely overpowered the natural goodness of God's butter, it was still damn tasty.

    Pig Ear w/ Fried Egg:
    I loved this dish. Citrus-marinated crispy pig ear slices mixed with the runny yolk of a fried egg.

    Pork Belly Sandwich:
    I thought this sandwich could have been done a bit better. The flavors were tasty, no doubt, but I think the pork belly was a little too well-done. All in all, it was good, but a bit boring; given the wild creativity of the other dishes, I expected this one to be a bit different from your typical pork belly slider.

    Foie Gras Terrine:
    Excellent terrine -- the foie gras flavor went extremely well with the pickled onion and orange marmalade. The toast was a bit boring and actually not well toasted -- could've gone better with a crostini or at least something with more crunch. The terrine was awesome though.

    Oxtail Poutine:
    Perfectly crispy french fries with a tasty gravy filled with a generous portion of tender oxtail. It was a bit on the saltier side, but delicious nonetheless.

    Lettuce w/ Beets & Avocado:
    We got this just to try to balance out the gluttonous artery-clogging that we were undoubtedly going to experience from our meal. It was good, but I mean, it's a salad.

    Hamachi Tostada:
    The hamachi tasted fresh and the tostada shell provided a nice crunch. The flavor was good, but I'm not sure if it really fit with the flavors of the rest of our meal.

    Foie Gras Loco Moco:
    Now for the main event. The foie gras loco moco was definitely the best dish of the night, and arguably one of the best dishes I've ever had. I mean, how the hell can you ever go wrong with foie gras, spam, burger, and quail egg covered with gravy? The foie gras was perfectly seared and all of the flavors meshed together so well. The beauty of it was that the buttery fattiness of the foie gras doesn't get compromised by all of the other flavors. It's a true testament to the power of the foie, and how horrible life in California is now that foie gras has been outrageously banned. I expect Animal to be picketing tooth and nail to overturn the ban, because I don't know if my experience would have been half as awesome without the Foie Gras Loco Moco. Yup, we ended up ordering two. I wanted three. But now that it's no more, Animal definitely loses the main star of its show.

    Total: $220 (including tax, tip, and 1 bottle of house Cab)
    ---------------------------

    Atmosphere? Service? I actually don't really remember anything else about Animal other than the food, which is a testament to how good the food was. If there ever were a physical manifestation of all that is great about being a carnivore, Animal would be it.

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  • Animal RestaurantAmbassador
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    If you love meat and any and all of the so-called "nasty bits", you must visit Animal at least once. Make a reservation, since they are still very popular and the small restaurant fills up quickly. Be sure to try the Buffalo style pig's tail. We also loved the pig cheek. Sadly, foie gras has been removed from several items for the time being (stupid law!) but there are lots of fun and adventurous dishes to try. They also have some interesting beers.

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  • Animal Restaurant

    If you're a vegetarian, just move on. Then again, even as a meat lover, I'm moving on. A stone's throw from the 24-hour Canter's Delicatessen in the heart of the Fairfax District, chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo turned a former teahouse into one of the most talked-about restaurants in L.A. (and the country: In 2009, they were named two of Food and Wine magazine's Best New Chefs). Clearly, all the attention has gone to their heads. A recent visit was one of my most disappointing meals of the year. A friend summed it up best, "communist food at capitalist prices." Yes, pig's tail is mostly fat, but $11 seems a bit steep for a "Buffalo-style" appetizer lacking in crispiness. Rabbit loin actually tasted better without the bacon wrapped around it (how is that even possible?), and the rock cod, while nicely cooked, was drowning in brown butter. The best on the menu were the balsamic pork ribs, which were a textural success, but a touch too sweet. It's a shame because the chefs started out so strong and have a passion for artisanal and seasonal ingredients. I miss the days when Animal could be counted on for its sensational pork belly with kimchi and peanuts.

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  • Animal Restaurant

    When I think of an LA restaurant, Animal comes to mind. Get the chicken liver toast to start. Too bad foie gras is banned cause they had really good seared version here before.

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  • Animal Restaurant

    Let's play a game! Marrow bone, Head Cheese, Pig tails, Pig ear?? SWEETBREADS? and Foi gras... hmmm? What do they all have in common? WEIRD ANIMAL PARTS! Pig ear, pig tails, been there done that? Well... pay close attention to the most "disguised" name such as sweetbreads and head cheese... thymus (throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) and the pancreas (heart, stomach, or belly sweetbread) and meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig? YUMMY!!!

    Luckily, I am an adventurous eater :) So we ordered:

    pig ear, chili, lime, fried egg 12: A little too citrus-y for my taste, but I would have to say it was quite refreshing.

    poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar 15: Oh my... the oxtail gravy melted in my mouth! I would have to say that this was my favorite dish of the night!

    SWEETBREADS, creamed spinach, capers, oyster mushroom 16: Yes yes, its thymus and pancreas... but it tasted like chicken karaage to me~! It was probably my 2nd favorite dish of the night! Very delicious!

    foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy 22: A little to sweet for my taste. When I eat foie gras, I prefer them to be on a bit salty side to go with the buttery taste.

    barbeque pork belly sandwiches, slaw 12: Tasty, but... nothing special. Pulled pork belly sandwiches are to be a bit on a sloppy side, but maybe at some Joe Shmoe's BBQ house, not when I have a dish of Foie Gras coming afterwards.

    Service was up-to-par. For a wine lover, I know very little about wine. I wanted a glass of wine, but eek I see like Südtiroler Sauvignon, Mâcon-Fuissé, and Savennières. There was no simple Chardonnay or Pinot Grigiot...lol I'm not a wine snob ok! Anyway so I told the waiter to get me whatever he recommends. He brought about 4 different glasses for me to sample out of and voila~ I picked the Südtiroler Sauvignon and I was happy :)

    Very small restaurant with a simple décor but I definitely liked the comfortable and cozy atmosphere of the place. I suggest you make a reservation about 3-4 days in advance.

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  • Animal Restaurant

    Delicious, delicious, and oh so delicious! Really simple decor and the focus is definitely focused on the food. Bone marrow chimichurri! Yum! So fatty and gelatinous! Melted petit basque was so cheesy and tasty! Hamachi tostada was light and refreshing. Pork belly sliders were rich and savory. OMG my mouth is watering as I type this. Only thing I didn't really love was the soft shell crab.

    Definitely make a reservation days in advance!

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  • Animal Restaurant

    There are a many restaurants on my list to try. Animal has been on that list for quite sometime. However, being single its much harder to find someone to go with. This is where Yelp friends come to the rescue. I was finally able to try Animal when a group of us, including Laura S. and John H, decided to go! We wanted to try everything Foie Gras before it disappears in California.

    Parking
    ========
    Parking is a little difficult. If you are luck you might be able to find street parking. Otherwise it is $5.50 for valet. I just used the valet. I'd rather not deal with hassle of driving around looking for a street spot.

    Service
    ========
    The service was great. The staff was very nice and willing to answer any questions we may have had. Drinks were promptly refilled and place settings were reset halfway through the meal, as well as prior to dessert. Overall great service! According to Laura S. the wait staff is quite good looking. So ladies this is a plus for you guys!

    Ambiance
    ===============
    The restaurant is quite small. It is dimly lit and quite cozy. The noise level is not too bad. Not silent, but quite enough to have a conversation. I wouldn't say that this a a great place for a large party. Good for a date, or maybe 4 or 5 people. Any larger might be difficult.

    Food
    =========
    The food was AMAZING! Absolutely loved everything we ordered. The food is served tapas style. I suggest ordering 2-3 dishes per person. We ordered an array of dishes (sans rabbit per Laura's request). We got the following:

    Entrees:
    -----------
    chicken liver toast - Two pieces of toast spread with some type of berry preserve.

    marrow bone, chimichurri, caramelized onions - Delicious! Melts in your mouth.

    pig ear, chili, lime, fried egg - Crispy fried pig ear with egg. A nice balance of tart(lime) and spice(chili). On of my favorite dishes. I have tried similar preparations at several other places.

    poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar - Delicious Fries topped with cheddar and melt in your mouth oxtail gravy! Tasty! My only complaint was that the fries were a little too crispy for my taste. Maybe I should have let them soak in the gravy longer.

    duck breast, charred cabbage, liptauer, mustard - Nice juicy duck breast went well with the mustard and potatoes.

    foie gras loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger - One of their popular dishes! Definitely lives up to the hype.

    hamachi tostada, herbs, fish sauce vinaigrette, peanut - Nice and Fresh! A nice light dish. A great way to start off. It nice and clean.

    liquid foid gras agnolotti - The BEST dish of the night. Imagine little bites of ravioli filled with liquid heaven!

    Dessert:
    -----------
    berries, vanilla custard, lavender crumble, opal basil - A nice combination of berries and sweet crumble. The lavender and opal basil add an interesting aromatic component to the dish.

    tres leches, dulce de leche - I loved tres leches. This was my favorite dessert. Moist but not overly soaked.

    bacon chocolate crunch bar, s&p ice cream - Can't go wrong with bacon and chocolate. Bacon OR Chocolate can make anything better, but put them together and you have a great dish!

    nectarine, angle food cake - The extreme tart of the nectarine goes well to compliment the angle food cake.

    Overall, great meal! Awesome food and excellent company. Unfortunately foie gras is nearing its end here in California, so if you want to try any of those dishes you better get on it quick. The food is delicious in general, so even without foie gras I'd be interested in returning!

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  • Animal Restaurant

    So very delicious. Meat of every kind is served here... rotating in a seasonal menu that changes daily. Clearly by the name if you are vegan or vegetarian you will not really get the full experience here. What's awesome is that they locally and/or ethically source their food.

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  • Animal Restaurant

    Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (formerly of Food Network's "Two Dudes Catering") are absolute culinary geniuses as proven by their restaurant, Animal. The atmosphere is intimate and minimalist but you'll be too busy stuffing all forms of meat into your mouth to care. The menu, which skews carnivore as the name of the restaurant suggests, boasts local, seasonal ingredients. The wine list is great and the desserts will complete your experience perfectly. This is a great place for a nice dinner date or if you need an iron fix. Vegetarians, beware!

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  • Animal Restaurant

    My sister and I are foie gras people and I know it's a sad and horrible thing to the ducks but OMG, so good. Duck.Fat.

    So went with a group of friends and had to get some foie gras before the ban.

    I've never eaten so much foie gras since the ban coming up!

    FOOD:
    * Chicken liver toast - OMG. SO good. It was just SO good. Worth the $3.

    * Marrow Bone, Chimichurri, Caramalized Onion - I don't eat this... it's beef.

    * Pig Ear, chili, lime, fried egg - pretty crispy. I felt like I was eating thick chips - the good kind.

    * Putine, oxtail, cheddar - I can't eat these.

    * Duck Breast, charred cabbage, liptauer mustard - the potatoes were SO good. I like the texture of the duck. Not hard, not soft.

    * foie gras loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger - I just ate the foie gras and egg... it was alright. Not my fave of the foie gras. Kinda rich.

    * hamachi tostada, herbs, fish sauce vinaigrette, peanut - Very light, you need to break it yourself but very good. Kinda small.

    liquid foid gras agnolotti - This was GOOD. It's like dumpling style where there is juice inside. OMG. So good. It was like soup! :D

    Foie Gras with Biscuit and Maple Sausage Gravy - MY FAVORITE. I ate TWO of these. :P

    berries, vanilla custard, lavender crumble, opal basil - Like Panna cotta... good but eh...

    tres leches, dulce de leche - FAVORITE

    bacon chocolate crunch bar, s&p ice cream - Ehhhh... I could pass.

    nectarine, angle food cake - Very tarty... Pass.

    OVERALL: This is good food. My stomach was STUFFED.

    AMBIANCE:
    Very Hollywood. Very small and loud and crowded but you pay for this ambiance. Very trendy.

    SERVICE:
    Standard. They were helpful and came around a lot...

    OH... and they were HOT. Those waiters... HOT. I'm like WHOA. I need to eat my food slowly or else I'd choke. HOT. Models/actors HOT.

    PARKING:
    Street parking or valet.
    Street parking is actually... there is actually a lot. :P Probably bc we went on a weekday.

    OVERALL:
    Yes... worth the hype

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  • Animal Restaurant

    Good is you like your meat.

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  • Animal Restaurant
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OverviewEdit

4.5 out of 5
22 members' reviews
2,298 people visited Animal Restaurant

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