Review of Animal and Bouchon Beverly Hills
Went to both places last weekend so i here goes:
Got to Animal, easy to find dropped the car off for valet as it didnt seem like it was worth the effort of trying to find a parking spot around that area
I will rate everything on a scale of 1-5
What we ordered:
Hamachi Tostada: 3 - felt like something we could make at home, very asian inspired, we cook a lot of asian food so it didnt feel special to us, solid but wouldnt order again
Pig's Ears: 3.5 - I did not care for these however the mrs did, so it was a mixed bag, very interesting textures and flavors, a must order to see if you will like it or not, would we order it again, probably not
cod with sunchokes 3.5: they were out of the cod so they subbed another white fish which was pretty good the sunchokes were the standout and were very very good, everything else was solid on the plate - again good but not amazing - not something we would go out of our way for but not bad either
Foie Gras with Bisc 4.0 - exactly as desribed foie gras with a bisc. and maple sausage gravy, very good - would recommend
Poutine 5.0 - this was the biggest and last plate of the night, it was huge and there was tons of oxtail, gravy, and cheese curds - everything just worked, the fries were perfectly cooked and crispy - we agreed we would go back for this dish anytime (seems like a good late night order after the bar as wel)
bone marrow - 2.5 - it was good but too rich and the onion jam was a bit to strong, it was only good for one or two bites, most of it went uneaten, if you had a table of 4 or 6 and ordered it everyone got a bite it would be fine, not for 2 people though
dessert: berries, vanilla custard, lavender crumble, opal basil - was good, nice way to end a heavy meal with a light dessert, the opal basil was excellent in the dessert, the strawberries were great the raspberries a bit tart
wine: had a glass of white and glass of pinot, both good, although i cannot recall what they were anymore - the white the waiter recommended to go with the hamachi
Overall i would say it is about a 3.5, good but not great, not a ton wowwed us so i dont think we would go back, however if we wanted some late night fries...the oxtail fries cannot be beat
Went there for brunch, arrived just before 11 and they were not open so we went downstairs to Bar Bouchon for mimosa's - they pour a mean one, and i mean that in a good way Chandon Champaign to the bring and a splash of fresh squeezed oj - that is a proper start to the morning
Then upstairs to Bouchon, the place is very inviting inside, we started off with a figure 8 shaped pastry with raisen in it, gold and regular raisen and it was great, nice and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside - also with round two of mismosas
the mrs ordered the toad in the hole which is a pork belly and brioche bread with an egg inside, the pork belly was like a perfectly cooked bacon steak, it was nothing short of amazing - I am not much of a breakfast person so i went with the mussels with saffron white wine sauce with frites - which were very good, i had them at bar bouchon last trip however these seemed prepared differently with more flavor and a bit thickther broth - not sure if there is any difference or not but it was very good - although next time i would probably get that toad in the hole
Bouchon is a must go for us each time we visit bevely hills every time we go it is great
only complaint was that the waiter gave us flat water for $7 which seemed like regular water, not really a big deal but if you are going to upcharge for water, just let us know up front, it was annoying to get charged on the back end, the annoyance was more of not knowing ahead of time - not sure if that is common for BH but in Phx there is no charge for water in the vase or what they called "flat water"
We went to Bouchon last week on the Blackboard Eats special - 3-course prix fixe with wine pairing for $45. I started with the soup of the day - Fennel. Hands down one of the best soups I have ever had. Swirl of picadillo relish and a drizzle of olive oil put this creamy soup over the top. My friend opted for the salad with goat cheese crouton - boring. She added some of the mustard that was on the table, and she said that picked it up a bit. I ordered the Salmon (medium rare). Came out perfectly cooked. Seared side was beautifully caramelized and salty. Had supremed grapefruit, slices of cumquat amongst other pieces of things (not sure what a lot of them were - all I knew was the whole dish was fantastic...) easily one of the best salmon preparations I have ever had. Friend got the pork belly that came with some sort of bean confit. I found it heavy and cloying. But then I am not a fan of pork belly. The beans seemed undercooked - friend loved it. For dessert I ordered the Creme Caramel - that was exactly what it was and it was boring. Friend got two of the 4 choices of sorbet. The one I remember the most was the pear flavored one. Delicious. We also ordered off the board - Escargots. These had puff pastry on top and were much better once I squeezed some lemon on top (not to say that they were not good before). The 2009 Voigner pairing that came with my meal matched perfectly. Service was wonderful. I would not hesitate to go back and cannot wait til I get to!
Afterwards, we took a walk straight to Spago. Sat at the bar for drinks. I cannot go into Spago without ordering the Agnolotti and this was no exception (thank God I left most of my creme caramel on the plate). Currently it is ricotta and sweet peas. Delicious. The bartender kept telling me that I need to have to sweet corn version. I will be back soon to try it.
All in all, not a bad Wednesday night!! ;-)
176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
I think Bar Bouchon/Bouchon is one of the best places in Los Angeles for a lovely casual experience with well-executed delicious food. I have come to hate the heaping on of 12 ingredients that only mask how poorly executed a dish is. We had ordered in advance their soft scrambled eggs with black truffles and what a treat.
I think you picked good but not the really interesting dishes at Animal which make the restaurant one of the most interesting in LA, e.g. Hamachi, pig's ears, Foie Gras with Bisc. I would go back and try a few more dishes. I like Bouchon but it is far less interesting food than Animal (and also less consistency in the preparation).
The oxtail poutine was the only thing that we thought, wow we could not get this elsewhere
everything else was good but not amazing at Animal - and for the same price (we drank more at bouchon than Animal) i thought the service, decor, and food was better overall at Bouchon
If we go back to animal it would be for a beer and the poutine - but not for a full meal - we will probably stop at bouchon every time we are in the area for either the bar area downstairs or upstairs for a full meal - havent had dinner or lunch or brunch but based on those few times i wouldnt hesistate to give dinner a try