I was a little worried about taking our friends, Ron and Diane, to Animal over the weekend. Ever since my first visit to the restaurant last summer, I’d been raving, ranting and downright praising the food heavens for bringing us Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Not only because everything they cook is delicious and adventurous (link to previous posts & photos below), but also the profound sentimentality I feel when I eat it. The food at Animal reminds me of my dad’s cooking and since he lives far away in Scotland, a meal at Animal makes me feel closer to him. A little silly I know, but that’s the magic of food and memories.
For our dinner last Saturday, our server was someone new (to us). Joshua was sweet and very helpful, especially when we were deciding which wine would go with our various dishes. After we tasted a couple of different glasses, we selected the La Salette Valpolicella (Italy) 2006, $54. The new manager, Asher, was also very gracious and made sure I went back to see the guys in the kitchen (I missed them!). Jon (chef & co-owner) came out to say hi to Peter and meet our friends, then had to get back on the line for the busy dinner service.
After Joshua took our orders, I was still a little concerned about Ron and Diane. They’ve eaten in the best foodie towns in the world… from Le Bernardin in New York, to the freshest sashimi in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. Would Animal be good enough for them? Maybe I overhyped it. Maybe the food wouldn’t be “refined” enough for them.
I need not have fretted of course because, just like me… they LOVED every bite.
What we ate:
Fried Chicken Livers w/ Jalapeno Slaw $7
Pork Belly, Kimchi, Peanuts, Chili, Soy Sauce & Scallions $11
Rabbit & Kale Ravioli w/ Truffle Butter & Parmesan $22. (This dish forced me to have bad table manners because after finishing the ravioli, I couldn’t stop dipping my finger into the truffle butter sauce!)
Flatiron Steak w/ Mash, Foie Gras Sauce, & Roasted Cipollini Onions $28
Mexican Shrimp, Fennel, Olives, Tomato, Borlotti Beans & Green Garlic $26
Duck breast with parsnip, apples, bacon, butternut squash & red wine $25
Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar w/ S&P Anglaise $8, Tres Leches Cake $7, Joe’s Doughnuts w/ Apple & Caramel $8
A close up of Joe’s Doughnuts w/ Apple & Caramel $8 (As Bourdain would say…”these are purely EVIL… but in a GOOD way”)
We also ordered: Crispy Hominy with lime $5 (Ron said he loved it, and he could imagine movie theaters selling fried hominy by the bucket!)
Melted Petit Basque with Chorizo and Garlic Bread $11
Dining Date: 2/7/09
<- Visits 8 & 9
– > Visit 11
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tsukiji Fish Market
La Salette Wines
With my dad in Scotland