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(another) Animal Review + Pics

I know there are many animal reviews out there but I had such a great meal so I wanted to share.
Longer review + photos here: http://stuffycheaks.blogspot.com/2009...

Animal is located on Fairfax in West Hollywood. The place is pretty nondescript, there's no signage outside but they do have valet. It's a pretty small space with stark white walls and minimalistic decor. One complaint that I had was that it got a bit drafty whenever anyone opened the front door.

We started with glasses of Prosecco then ordered the bottle of Pinor Noir (Baxter from Anderson Valley); a light bodied red that would pair well with all the meat dishes that we had ordered.

1. Rabbit loin, wrapped with Benton's bacon, parsnip, pear and mustard leaf on the top
The loin looked like a sausage and was tender and cooked perfectly. It was mild and very lean. At first we thought the meat needed a bit more seasoning but when eating it with the bitter mustard leaf and sweet pear sauce, it was the perfect bite.

2. Sweetbreads with capers, creamed spinach and hen of the woods
Amazing. it was perfectly breaded. The strong taste of the thymus gland cut by the citrus from the Myer lemon sections and the tartness from the capers really worked.

3. Pigs ears with chili, lime and a fried egg
The pigs ears were crunchy but a tad too greasy. We felt that the pigs ear lost its integrity in the preparation; they just tasted like deep fried thin strips and you really couldn't tell that they were pigs ear.

4. Pork Belly Sliders
This was friggin awesome. The toasted brioche was buttery, the huge hunk of pork belly was cooked evenly despite its thickness. It was fatty and juicy.

5. Quail fry, grits, chard, slab bacon, maple jus
I thought they did a good job of frying up the quail. The breading was well seasoned, crunchy and wasn't oily. The meat was tender but was a little under seasoned. It would have tasted better with a bit of salt or if it was brine before it was breaded. I actually enjoyed the grits.

6. Loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger
The rice was short grained and cooked well, and sopped up all the juices from the burger, spam, runny yolk and sauce on the plate. One of the best of the night. Great flavors, rich and all animal.

After four appetizers and two entrees, it was on to dessert.

7. Bacon chocolate crunch bar with salt and pepper anglaise
The chocolate was kind of compact and heavy and the chunks of bacon just didn't wow me.

8. Tres leche cake
Surprisingly, I thought this was better than the popular bacon chocolate crunch bar. The cake had a light, spongy bottom that was soaked with sweetened milk. It was topped with a thin layer of dulce de leche and topped off with a nice frosting that wasn't overly sweet. Delicious.

Overall, service was good although our water was not refilled which is necessary given the saltiness of the food. The staff was really knowledgeable; when we asked what garnishes were on the plate, they were able to point it out even though it wasn't listed on the menu.

In conclusion, I have to say that dinner at Animal was an amazing meal. I enjoyed almost everything that we ordered including the wine. The menu was unique and the food was executed well. Animal serves good, hearty, rich, decadent food with a modern spin.

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  1. Nice review. We love Animal and the last time we were there I split the sweetbreads appetizer with one of my wife's friends. It was outstanding. Nice to hear it is still hitting the mark. Can't believe they didn't refill your water. In our three visits they have been on top of the empty water glass thing like white on rice (like cats on mice, like spots on dice) lol. Really, I am a bug about this and they have met or exceeded my "water refill" expectations every time. So, I'll have to see on the next viist if their standards have slipped.

    My wife has had the pork belly sliders the last two times we went. I keep begging for some and all I have to show for sore knees is one lousy bite. I'm ordering them for myself next time.

    Nice photos on your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks Servorg! I think the water refill was only a fluke because service otherwise was great. You definitely have to order your own pork belly sandwiches :)

      1. re: Servorg

        Do they accept substitutions at all now?

        Or the same as before? Some of the dishes sounds great, but I'd rather have the quail without the bacon. And it seems like almost every dish either has bacon, or pork belly in it.

        1. re: kevin

          No subs for the Animal boys. Maybe they are channeling FO's? lol

          1. re: kevin

            Substitutions is asking for something in place of. I'm aware that sounds dumb. but there's nothing on the menu that states you can't asked for something to be left out of the dish.

            Why not give them a call and see if they'll cook you the quail without the bacon?

            1. re: toitoi

              I'm pretty sure it means no changes, including leaving things out. The option is "eat around" the parts you don't like (as if I've found any of those to this point - lol).

        2. Was there on Monday, in addition to your sweetbreads, which I loved, the two of us shared only 4 more appetizers and a dessert.

          Baby broccoli with pancetta, parmesan, and soft egg - extraordinary mix of tastes.

          Melted petit basque with chorizo - my choice 'cause I love queso and chorizo.

          Fluke with grape granita, apple, orange, serrano, and mint - disappointing because, if the serrano was supposed to add heat, it didn't. I'm a lover of aqua chili.

          Poutine, with oxtail gravy - what a way to end a meal with the menu still on the table thinking we'd have an entree.

          Dessert was Joe's donuts - too sweet for me, but it was a gratifying end to a wonderful dinner.

          Edit: Reread your post and your blog. Saw you were there same night. Interesting, our water glasses were never empty; must have been your busboy, or whatever they're called these days. We had attentive service for the 2 plus hours we were there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: toitoi

            What a coincidence! Thanks for your review: the broccoli looked good, Id like to try it the next time!

          2. we were at Animal last week and also had a most amazing meal. Agree totally with the pork belly sliders. They were sublime. Also the Dulce de Leche cake. Wow, was that good, but we also had the doughnuts that were pretty amazing too.

            1. Hi stuffycheaks,

              Nice review. :) Like Servorg, I'm glad to hear Animal is still consistently great. I can't wait to go back when I have time. :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: exilekiss

                Thanks exilekiss. There are so many restuarants to hit in LA but I have a feeling that once in a while, I'd still need my Animal fix!