Ever since Animal opened its doors a few years ago in Los Angeles, I’ve heard a lot of positive buzz about this little restaurant that serves up unique animal dishes with bold flavors.
We waited a little too long to try to secure a good reservation time, so we tried the walk-in route. We made sure to get there a little before it opened (which is why the picture above still has the gates up) to make sure we could get one of the seats at the bar for walk-in customers.
The menu changes constantly, here were our options that night:
Our server recommended that we order several plates to share family-style in order to get a taste of everything. While almost everything on the menu looked appealing, we decided to rely on his recommendations for the best dishes to try.
chicken liver toast ($8)
One of the simpler dishes we had that night, but quite tasty. Thick liver pate is spread on a piece of crispy toast.
marrow bone, chimichurri, caramelized onions ($10)
I’ve had bone marrow once and didn’t really love it. When the server recommended it, I thought I’d give it another shot and I’m glad I did. This bone marrow was much more flavorful because of the chimichurri sauce and onions. Spread on the thick pieces of toast, I didn’t quite notice how fattening and oily bone marrow is as I did with my first experience.
pig ear, chili, lime, fried egg ($12)
Pig ear is eaten a lot in chinese cuisine, though I’ve never been a fan. For this dish, the pig ears were deep fried and flavored with chili and lime. The fried egg balanced out the acidity of the chili and lime. I really enjoyed this dish and it is one of the first times I’ve enjoyed pig ears.
crispy rabbit legs, lemon aioli, green beans ($29)
This was the one dish we ordered from the menu not taken from the server’s recommendations. While it was good, the flavors were not nearly as impressive as the other ones I tasted that night.
foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy ($24)
A giant piece of foie gras was placed on a biscuit and smothered with gravy. A a foie gras lover, this dish was divine. Even the FH who hasn’t enjoyed our past foie gras experiences liked this preparation.
poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar ($18)
Crispy fries served with oxtail sounded absolutely heavenly. Unfortunately it was a little on the salty side. Other than that, it was quite good.
veal brains, vadouvan, apple sauce, carrot ($14)
I have to admit, the idea of veal brains made be squeamish, but I decided to go ahead and try it anyway. It tasted a little like tofu. I ended up liking this dish and it was one of my favorites, though I think I would enjoy it more if I didn’t know what it was.
We absolutely loved our dinner here and all the creative menu items. I definitely want to come back and explore their other offerings. I felt that the food I tasted definitely lived up to the hype and buzz. For those concerned about price, this is not a cheap casual eat. While the individual dish prices are between $8-30, you’ll need a few dishes to satisfy your appetite. We had a party of four and ordered eight dishes. We probably would have ordered another round each, but we had somewhere to be.