Animal’s Loco Moco

ilikai hotel, MyLastBite.comI first tried Loco Moco back in 2003 while on vacation with my husband in Hawaii. It was Peter’s first visit to the islands, and I insisted that we stay at the Ilikai Hotel on Oahu. I’ve always been a huge fan of  “Hawaii Five-O”, and if you remember the opening credits with the cool, balcony shot of Jack Lord (aka the legendary Steve McGarrett!), then you’ll recognize the Ilikai Hotel. We had such a fun time visiting random locations from the show, and we definitely made an effort to eat like the locals.

Loco Moco Hawaii 2003, MyLastBite.comOur favorite dish was (of course) the Loco Moco. The traditional version is made with white rice, hamburger, fried eggs and brown gravy. We first ordered the burger version for breakfast at our hotel, and also tried a SPAM version (instead of beef) that I loved.

It’s been almost six years since I enjoyed that first plate of Loco Moco and I guess I just never thought about searching it out in Los Angeles. So when I read about Animal’s version on TastingTable last week, my heart skipped a beat and I sent Peter a text: “WE NEED TO GET TO ANIMAL NOW!”

Animal’s Loco Moco (below) is anything but “traditional”, and should probably be called “Beyond Loco Moco”, or simply “WHACK”! The dish exemplifies the reason I love Animal so much… because chefs Vinny and Jon are absolutely FEARLESS. Their version doesn’t come with just the burger or a piece of SPAM. It comes with BOTH, and they top it off with an insanely decadent piece of seared foie gras and a fried quail egg.

Foie Gras Loco Moco!

It was so good that Peter and I couldn’t stop laughing while we ate it! You know, that guilty “we should be ashamed but we’re NOT” sort of laughing. I can still taste the runny egg yolk spilling over the seared foie gras, through the crispy spam and tender beef, then down to the bottom of the gravy soaked rice. 

Foie Gras Loco Moco!

Of course it was rich… and I admit that I made sure Peter and I both took our 81 grams of heart-healthy aspirin afterwards. A few days later, I’m pretty certain I still haven’t worked off the calories, but it was SO worth it! Foie Gras Loco Moco, Quail Egg, SPAM, Niman Ranch Burger, Anson Mills Gold Rice, $35

Crispy Hominy and Lime,

I try to order only new things when we eat at Animal, but Peter insisted on getting his favorite Crispy Hominy and Lime! $5

Fluke Crudo,
Along with the Loco Moco we did select a light and healthy dish (above) that we loved. The palate-cleansing and refreshing Sliced Fluke, Citrus, Mint, Sea Salt & Jalapeno, $12. (See? They make healthy dishes too!)

[Visit #11)

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

Mentioned Above:

Tasting Table

Opening Scene of Hawaii Five-O

Ilikai Hotel


Loco Moco on Wikipedia

A few more Hawaii Photos:
Hawaii 2003,   Hawaii 2003,

< Animal Visit #10

Written by Jo Stougaard © All Rights Reserved.
No usage allowed including copying or sharing without written permission.



Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)

10 responses to “Animal’s Loco Moco

  1. This dish Loco Moco is driving me Loco!!

    Looks like you guys had a great time, beautiful photos of you & peter!

  2. that looks AMAZING….btw, I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since you’re trip to Honolulu!

  3. Loco Moco is total comfort food for the soul. What a great dish. And I always learn something from your blog. I had no idea it was traditionally served with white rice. 🙂 I love learning new stuff!!!

    As good as that looks, the plate of fluke with citrus and thinly sliced jalapeno makes me want to swim on the plate. Fluke is so clean, it needs very little. Only a restaurant who gets quality fish would dare serve it the way they did.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures from your trip. We want to go back so badly. I have a ton of free miles, just no time to go!

  4. I also love Animal! I had a fabulous dinner there on Friday night (as part of a double header after drinks and oysters at Comme Ca). I also loved the Fluke. Here’s a link to my review of both meals!

  5. lol that loco moco looks amazing. pretty brilliant if you ask me, pairing hauteur cuisine with spam and hamburger meat. animal is really pushing the envelope.

  6. OMG! That looks awesome!! I am sending this link to my Hawaiian gourmand friend. She’s gonna be so jealous!

  7. Incredible variation on local comfort food. Of all the variations on loco moco here in Hawaii, I haven’t seen any one do it foie gras or quail egg. Taking it to another level.

  8. You make me want to get on a plane and get the real thing. (After I go to Animal of course. You know. For research purposes.)

  9. must. try. foie gras loco moco! If I start exercising now maybe I can prepare my heart enough for dinner in a coupla days? 😛 and I’m glad to see they have a light palate-cleansing dish. Here I thought I’m gonna have to wash down my foie gras with some Animal ribs!

  10. Tom

    what are you doing to me? not only does that look epic….but i’m on the wrong continent. no chance unless…the hunt begins.

    cheers 🙂


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