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Anyone know anything about Animal?

g
glutton Jun 6, 2008 08:06 PM

I heard about a new restaurant named Animal on Fairfax. The owners have a pretty good pedigree. Anyone familiar with it or know anything insightful?

  1. b
    bruinike Jun 7, 2008 06:27 AM

    Off the top of my head, I think this is the new place from the guys with the show on the Food Network - TWO DUDES CATERING. I hear it opens sometime in July.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bruinike
      l
      littlebrit Jun 10, 2008 09:55 AM

      It actually came out that they open tomorrow night. Daily Candy did a sweet little thing on them today if you want to check that out.

    2. m
      mattyshack Jun 10, 2008 10:46 AM

      Check it out, hit Daily Candy today

      http://www.dailycandy.com/los_angeles...

      1. nomnomnoms Jun 11, 2008 12:45 PM

        I just got my daily candy newsletter on this place. Very curious...

        1. yinyangdi Jun 12, 2008 04:06 PM

          I went to animal last night not realizing that it was the official opening nite (should have read the old DC a little closer, perhaps). Found street parking on Fairfax without problem; there were many spots to choose from and the restaurant also had a valet stand out front. When I arrived around 8-ish there were several tables available as well as seats at the bar where I was sat. However, the restaurant soon filled up and had a wait by the time I left sometime before 9:30.

          The dinner menu had approx five appetizers, five mains and a couple of desserts to choose from last night. The wine list had about ten red and eight whites to choose from by the glass and/or carafe plus several other of each by the bottle only.

          I ordered the wilted heirloom spinach salad with poached egg, serena, breadcrumbs and bacon to start. For my main I had the country pork ribs, bone-in, with a balsamic glaze served with sides bacon potato salad and roasted corn. Both dishes were tasty, well prepared and presented. I eyeballed the white peach crisp w/lavender whipped crème when I was reviewing the menu but, alas, was too full after finishing the ribs to order it. My server and the wine guy (I had a glass of red somethingorother) were both nice and knowledgeable about the food and beverage and followed up a couple of times. $48 before tax & tip. I’ll definitely be back to eat at animal soon, crowds permitting.

          Animal
          435 N Fairfax Ave
          Los Angeles 90036
          (323) 782-9225
          www.animalrestaurant.com

          1. l
            lesleyb Jun 13, 2008 06:14 PM

            Been twice now. Here's a picture and a preview
            http://la.eater.com/archives/2008/06/...

            Went again last night and it was running quite smoothly. Not packed for the second night. It's a very raw space, unadorned. loud. Food was extremely flavorful---hits at the table last night were the soft shell crab (again, a winner), the ribs (ditto) and the fried quail with grits. Like the best little baby chickens you'll ever had. We thought everything had lots of flavor. Staff was on point. Nice little wine list, although the reds come out too cold but they're working on that. Saw Jonathan Gold and his wife checking it out, too. Can't wait to go back.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lesleyb
              l
              lesleyb Jun 13, 2008 06:22 PM

              I edited and lost the second half of that. While we get what these guys are going for, "animal," the whole branzino---cooked perfectly, I might add---comes out whole and for the uninitiated, deboning could get annoying. But with the pancetta vinaigrette, lovely flavors. I cook branzino at home so I know how to get the meat off the bone in one fell swoop; it's actually really, really easy. But just saying. Also, the fruit bowl for dessert was a bunch of these delicious little mulberries and a whole nectarine. Nice, fresh, just from the market. We had to ask for a knive to cut the nectarine, which if you know fresh perfect nectarines, don't really come off the pit that easily. Very juicy, though.

              1. re: lesleyb
                l
                lesleyb Jun 13, 2008 06:28 PM

                Wait, one more thing (damn edit button!!!!). Three of us thought we ordered too much (three apps, three ents) but ended up clearing every plate, practically licking the plates clean. There's something to be said for that. Bill with some wines came to about $55 per person before tax and tip.

                1. re: lesleyb
                  p
                  peskygirl Jun 16, 2008 03:02 PM

                  I'm a pescatarian (veg who eats seafood) and wasn't sure what to expect when my friends convinced me to join them at "Animal," but I'm happy to report that there were plenty of fish and veg choices, and I'll definitely be going back! I asked the server if I could get the branzino but with the pancetta vinaigrette on the side, and she agreed readily. My friends and I shared several items. My favorite appetizer was the poke with peaches fresh from the farmers' market. With the raw fish, sweet/tangy peaches and lovely flavorings, it was a truly inspired combination. My friend went crazy for the huge soft shell crab (pork belly on the side at my request:) enhanced with korean flavors. The shaved asparagus with egg was so fresh and tender that it was a hit with all of us.
                  The branzino was great quality and perfectly cooked. The mustard greens and capers really helped bring out the branzino's flavor. And then dessert! The nectarine/blueberry crisp was a buttery wonder. I highly recommend.
                  Oh -- besides all the wonderful food, the staff was incredibly attentive and helpful.

            2. b
              bethshax Jun 16, 2008 12:41 PM

              Had dinner there last night (Sunday) and was overwhelmed with Animal-ey goodness. Started with the soft shell crab and bacon, burratta, and the petite basque with chorizo. Everything was amazing, especially the petite basque -- we ordered two just to satisfy the table... the basque was presented perfectly browned on top with soft onions and chorizo slices underneath, served with warm toast.

              The service was friendly and not too overwhelming, and the sommelier was knowledgeable. I was surprised how French the wine list was given the menu but everything paired really well. I'm so used to ordering Napa/Sonomas but these French wines were spectacular paired with the dishes.

              We ordered the quail, tomahawk steak for two and the rabbit (new to the menu that night) and split everything. The steak was one of the best I've had in LA, perfectly done, pink in the middle with a simple reduction. The quail was fried like catfish and we barely got to taste any of it because the person who ordered it was licking his plate before we could get at it! The rabbit was good, the gnocchi and vegetables it was served with were stellar.

              Dessert was spectacular -- it had to be because we were so stuffed but we managed to chomp down on chocolate pudding, the crisp and the bacon chocolate bars. The bacon chocolate thing has been burbling up, but I've never had it fresh, which makes all the difference in the world.

              I think Vinny and crew have come up with a fantastic restaurant, and we'll be back. Having recently spent way too much money at Sona, this felt like a reasonably priced meal considering the quality of the meal -- we all ate for under $100/person including bottles and tips.

              5 Replies
              1. re: bethshax
                b
                bruinike Jun 16, 2008 02:06 PM

                How busy were they for a Sunday night? Did you have a reservation or just walk-in?

                1. re: bruinike
                  b
                  bethshax Jun 16, 2008 02:11 PM

                  We had a reservation but on a Sunday night it was unnecessary. I heard that Thu-Sat was packed though.

                  1. re: bethshax
                    wutzizname Jun 16, 2008 03:02 PM

                    I believe the only reason they weren't packed Sunday night was because of the Laker's NBA Finals game. Wouldn't count on that in the future.

                    1. re: wutzizname
                      b
                      bethshax Jun 16, 2008 03:10 PM

                      Oh yeah, that is probably totally true!!! :) Call for a res!

                      1. re: bethshax
                        d
                        dato18 Jun 16, 2008 11:09 PM

                        I stopped in there after the Lakers game finished Sunday and it was uncrowded. I had a super-tasty melted-cheese thing, "petite basque" or something with little toasted breads, and a glass of wine and it definitely hit the spot. Heard they're open 'til 2am on the weekends and it seems like that might be the ticket for smaller crowds and better food than Swingers or whatever...

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