Apr 10, 2012

Animal Restaurant - Los Angeles

Man..when's the last time I wrote about a restaurant review?
Ever since I semi-moved back to Taiwan, there's lesser chance for me to share my truly subjective opinions while dining in LA.

This time during my short trip (well if you consider 1.5 months out of one whole year as short) back in sunny Cali, besides weekly visit to Japanese shabu restaurant, loads of Korean food and occasionally Mexican dine out, I've managed to try out a new venue - Animal in downtown Los Angeles.

If you never dine at Animal and would like to give it a try, remember there is no sign in front of the restaurant. If you have eagle-liked vision, maybe you'll spot "Animal" on the valet parking stand, but that's about it. My suggestion for locals, just look for "Canter's," Animal is just few stores next to this historical deli joint.

Please spare me for such grainy pictures throughout. My iphone4 is the only camera device that travels with me during the whole trip.

Booking a table of eight for a weekend dinner can get quite tricky. We called almost 3 weeks in advance:
The first coming weekend - Completely full,
Second weekend - We do have seats at 11:30 p.m.,
Third weekend - 9:30 p.m. is the earliest available slot. Yes we'll take it.

Toast to our victory in securing a spot.

The food portion at the Animal is kind of small, which is good for a large party like ours. We pretty much ordered at least half of the items on the menu. Let the venture begins!

Dark brown ale beer -

American pale lager -

Chicken liver toast $3 -

One of my favorite dishes of the night. Simple delight packed with creamy texture and dense flavor.

Veal tongue, smoked foie gras, pastrami spices, crab apple $14 -

The coral-like thin crust is actually dehydrated bread, pretty interesting.

Marrow bone, chimichurri, caramelized onions $10 -

The acidity from the chimichurri balanced out the oily marrow. The bread on the side is da bomb. In fact, I probably care more about the bread than the marrow itself.

Rabbit loin spring roll, eggplant, sprouts, green curry $14 -

If you think rabbit is too cute to be eaten, just think of it as a chicken - the one here tastes just like it.

Hamachi tostada, herbs, fish sauce vinaigrette, peanut $15 -

Sweetbreads, creamed spinach, mushroom, caper, brown butter $14 -

Least favorite dish of the night. Perhaps adding some crunch to the dish will yield a better result per my preference.

Grilled baby broccoli, smoked trout, crispy egg, romesco $12 -

Runny yolk is such a thing of beauty, don't you agree? -

Balsamic pork ribs, braised greens, chili oil, garlic $19 -

Pretty standard,
If you're here for an unusual food adventure, skipping this one won't hurt at all.

Polenta, six-hour bolognese, parmesan $10 -

I have a thing for polenta,
Maybe because it's a rare dish in Taiwan so I just have to order polenta every time when spot on the menu.

Foie gras loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger $36 -

Foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy $25 -

Despite the unhealthy side effects that might come with the dish, this is for sure my favorite of the night. Especially that luscious biscuit and smokey gravy, maybe bursting one blood vessel or two isn't so bad after all.

Poutine, ox tail gravy, cheddar $18 -

Barbecue pork belly sandwiches, slaw $13 -

Veal brains, vadouvan, apricot puree, carrot $14 -

See, it doesn't even look like a brain, or brains (I wonder how many calf heads being suck out for this dish). Give it a try please, to me it tastes way better than sweetbreads.

Off to dessert,
Bacon chocolate crunch bar, S&P ice cream $7 -

At first I was like S&P? Is that possible? Is it really the S&P that I think of?
This is a "very interesting" "dessert" - if missing a sweet note still qualifies this dish as such. Delicious? Definitely not. Fun? Well...depends on how you define the word.

Citrus, rhubarb, sabayon, yogurt, sable $7

That's more like the dessert I expected, on a sourish side though.

It'll be fun to take on a food adventure here at the Animal. However, generally speaking, it's not the flavor that wows me, but the creative combinations that draws my attention. Will I come back again? Only if I can get my own plate of foie gras biscuit with maple sausage gravy.

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

Overall rating: 7


  1. Never heard of this restaurant, but obviously even lacking good signage is not holding them back as it sounds like they were busy even without it.
    I thought it was funny when you mention rabbit being too cute to eat and suggested people think of eating chicken - chicken is in fact one of the foods I do not eat after keeping chickens as pets!
    To be honest it was the veal brains that I would have had the most issue with -
    Nonetheless an excellent restaurant review. Enjoyed.

  2. To Restaurant Dining~
    Thank you so much for the comment. About the chicken thing, I think I probably would never eat chicken again if I have one as a pet, that's why I don't want to have pig or baby cow around me!

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