Los Angeles: Animal

The original plan was to just waltz into Animal for dinner at the end of our first day in LA, but after being warned via text by my Chicago roommate that a reservation might be necessary, we realized that we better start praying for a last minute reservation.  A quick check of Animal's website (smart phones really come in handy at times) revealed that the reservation phone line wouldn't be open for calls until 2:00 pm.  I really, REALLY wanted to eat at Animal, so I started making phone calls at 2:00 sharp.

I finally got through to the hostess while we were wandering around the Kodak Theatre.  To my great relief, she told me that a table for three was available at 7:00 pm.  Score!

We spent the day hanging around Hollywood and then Venice Beach.  Traffic was a pain in the butt (as was looking for street parking), but we managed to make it to Animal on time:

There were a lot of empty tables when we arrived, so we weren't sure if that meant a reservation wasn't actually necessary or that those tables had already been reserved.

Something about the interior made me feel like I was back in Chicago:

(Totally didn't notice the patrons at the table next to us was staring at me taking pictures.  Oh well, not like I'll ever see them again...)

Our server informed us that six to eight dishes was typical for three people.  We looked at the menu, looked at each other, and scoffed.  We ordered four.

First up was the crispy pig's head with pickled vegetable aioli:

Not quite what I'd expected, but very porky and delicious all the same.

Next up was the rabbit loin spring roll with eggplant, sprouts, and green curry:

I'd only had rabbit once before, but I didn't remember it being so succulent.

My sister wanted to try foie gras, so we got the foie gras with biscuit and maple sausage gravy:

If I'd known that foie gras tasted exactly like fat, I would've overcome my aversion to liver a long time ago and gorged myself on this stuff, empty wallet be damned.  T found the gravy to be a bit overly sweet, but I loved it that way.

The fourth dish was barbecue pork sandwiches:

Thick slabs of pork, yo.   Come to mama.  Awesome bun to boot.

I remember watching Duff from Ace of Cakes talk about Animal's bacon chocolate crunch bar, so I was really excited to try it:

The menu mentioned a "s&p ice cream."  My sister asked us if that stood for "salt & pepper" but both T and I laughed it off.  We were convinced that "s&p" was the name of an ice cream brand.  WRONG.  For once, my sister was right.  It really was salt & pepper flavored ice cream!  T and I almost fell over ourselves gushing about how GENIUS it was.  We were seriously tempted to ask for a pint to go.

I really, really loved my experience at Animal.  Everything was well-executed and damn delicious.  Portions were small, true, and prices were a bit high, but it was definitely worth it.  T agreed with me, but my sister wasn't as impressed.  (She's a tough one to impress with food though, so we just ignored her apathetic face and kept eating.)

There was a table of older Asian people toward the back of restaurant that we kept sneaking peeks at throughout the meal.  Asian people of that age bracket in a trendy restaurant is a rarity in itself.  Even more mind-boggling was the fact that not only did they each have a glass of wine, they also ordered every single one of the desserts.  Unheard of!

We left Animal with both satisfied bellies and a new aspiration in our hearts - to be just like that table in our old age, dining in nice restaurants, eating whatever the hell we want without having to worry about money, and having the time of our lives.  I can't wait to come back to Animal then!

435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-9225


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