Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jul 2, 2012 06:55 PM

What's happening at restaurants like "ANIMAL" during the foie-gras ban?

I was just wondering if restaurants (such as "ANIMAL") are actually paying attention to the foie-gras ban... does anyone here know?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. As of earlier today, Animal still had their sample menu from May on their website with foie still listed, but I just checked and they've posted an updated menu without any foie on it:

    Of course, that's just the official line, I have no idea if they're serving foie on the down-low.

    1 Reply
    1. I'd be really surprised if anywhere in LA has real foie. Were at Marche Moderne in Costa Mesa on Saturday, and they have been unable to get foie for a week! They have "replaced" it on their menu with a duck liver terrine which we were told was great...but alas, it's not foie!

      1 Reply
      1. re: josephnl

        This is because it is not advertised. I have no idea if Marché Moderne is serving it on the D-L, but I can name at least half a dozen other restaurants in Orange County that are. You just need to either have a relationship (so they know you're not going to rat them out) or know the code word.

      2. Sitting at Animal right now. No sign of illicit foie anywhere. Not that I'd expect there to be. Thinking of asking server if there's any secret stash of foie. :-)

        Update: Bartender said they sold most of their stock, but some of the chefs took the remaining stock home. Lucky chefs. :-)

        14 Replies
        1. re: PeterCC

          As they should, not surprising. Give it a few weeks.

          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

            Thanks for all of your replies! Wasn't sure if restaurants were ignoring the ban or not.

            1. re: Liquid Sky

              Did you read about Ludo? Apparently HE plans to serve foie for free, charging only for the accoutrements. "Here is your free foie gras, madam, the toast points and rhubarb salsa will be $35 dollars. Enjoy!"

              1. re: Steve2 in LA

                His wife is a lawyer so hopefully he's found a successful loophole.

                1. re: Porthos

                  Many places are doing this, or bring-your-own-and-we'll-charge-you-a-pan-rental-fee, or adding it as a lagniappe to a curiously expensive dish.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    Wonder if a restaurant could get away with serving fg as a "complimentery" amuse bouche accompanying a tasting menu?

                    Suspect it's just a matter of time until the wording of the law will be amended to disallow the "serving" as well as the "selling" of foie.

                    1. re: josephnl

                      The law will be amended only if we let it. They are not willing to enforce it so why bother to put it on the books? We need to harass our lawmakers as much or more than the food terrorists that got them to go along.

                  2. re: Steve2 in LA

                    There is a real question whether any agency will devote resources to enforcing the ban. However if it is enforced, no restaurant will avoid the law by transparent strategems like this. The "bring your own" idea might circumvent the law, but pretending to charge for toast won't wash legally for a second.

                      1. re: Capybara

                        It worked just fine in Chicago. That's exactly what happened. The law is extremely specific.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          What worked fine? What mostly happened in Chicago was that the law was not enforced, whether or not people took strategems. As I said, that will probably be the case in Cal too. And truly giving away foie will probably be legal, as long as it wasn't purchased in Cal. But restauranteurs and customers are getting bad advice if they think the law can be fooled by charging for other things beyond their nomal price, and adding "free" foie. If the meal is charged for, the foie is charged for.

                          1. re: Capybara

                            Well, whatever the case is, I have eaten more foie in the week since the ban took effect than in the seven years prior, which include several trips to France.

                            1. re: Capybara

                              How on earth will they enforce that?? Loopholes are found in almost every law....

                              1. re: Capybara

                                I called a bunch of agencies recently as part of the reporting on this ban.
                                CDFA said it is up to local law enforcement.

                                OCHCA said they do not have the authority to enforce that law and give fines; they can only pull permits for violations of health laws, which foie gras doesn't fit into.

                                OCSD said they don't inspect restaurants, and only respond if they're called, which would mean someone would have to call the police to report illegal foie gras.

                                SAPD said they would respond if called, but pretty much said flat out that they have much bigger fish to fry; by the time someone responded to such a low-priority call, there'd be little change of catching the restaurant in flagrante delicto.

                                The only way I see this getting enforced is if someone takes a video of it happening, drives it to the police station, and presses a charge—and even then, if the police are busy doing things like arresting drunk drivers, stopping violent crime, enforcing traffic laws, etc., the complaint is unlikely to warrant immediate action.

                  3. Uh. We're you expecting to find out the secret password? On a public website?

                    1 Reply
                    1. Not sure, but a restaurant in San Clemente, Cafe Mimosa, is said to be serving foei gras still even after the ban. The chef's menu is called 'Foei You'.

                      From OC Register: