a meal for the Animal in you

It’s been several years since I last visited Animal. I never wrote about it because my photos didn’t come out the last time and I never post anything without at least reasonably clear photos. On this trip, I made sure to bring my good camera, plus lighting because I remembered how dark it was in the restaurant.

My friends and I left really early so we’d make our 6.30pm reservation. We couldn’t believe our luck when we dodged Friday afternoon LA traffic and arrived 45 minutes before our time and managed to find decent parking as well!

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We started with a few beers, but pretty much launched straight into ordering! The Chicken Liver Toast ($3) was so good we had two orders of these. The chicken liver was creamy with a smoky caramelized shallot topping adding a hint of sweetness.

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I remember Pig Tails ($11) from my previous visit, but unfortunately, some at the table weren’t fans of buffalo sauce. I, on the other hand, loved it and was chewing the crispy parts off the bone with glee. Like a true buffalo style dish, it was accompanied by celery and ranch.

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Although I wouldn’t recommend non-meat eaters to come to Animal because the menu is predominantly meat-centric, the Local Burrata ($12) was seriously good! Baby broccoli, katsuobushi, green garlic, leeks and jalapeno complete a very complex mouthful of flavors which even my son wanted more of.

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Pig Ear ($12) was a plateful of thin strips of pig ear fried crispy, flavored with chili lime and topped with a runny fried egg. The oozing yolk added a creaminess to the crunch of the ears making this a hit with everyone at the table!

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The richness of the Melted Petit Basque ($12) dotted with chorizo and served with grilled bread meant I only had room for a small portion. I was glad there were many of us to share this item even though I know my son wanted more, but we had a lot of food still to come.

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My least favorite item of the evening was Shrimp & Rabbit Sausage Spring Roll ($13). The texture of the spring roll didn’t appeal to me. The filling was mushy and the entire dish bland and boring even with the green curry.

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Hamachi Tostada ($15) on the other hand was my favorite. I remember this being a favorite from my previous visit and it wasn’t a surprise everyone loved it as well. The cabbage slaw with fresh herbs, fish sauce vinaigrette and peanuts made it a very Vietnamese flavored dish — refreshing and palate cleansing! We had another!

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The Yellowtail Collar ($16) with jerk spices was strangely addicting but not everyone at the table felt that way. Some found the jerk seasoning killed the flavor of the fish and another found the texture of the fish spongey. I liked the combination of the citrus and palm sugar with the jerk spices making it a spicy, sweet and tart finish. It would’ve been better with a bowl of rice!

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Another favorite was Poutine ($18) topped with oxtail gravy and cheddar. My son and Austin of The Hungry Dogg devoured the second plate very quickly! Rich and intensely flavored, this is comfort food perfection!

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I could have eaten a whole plate of the Grilled Quail ($19) myself. The quail was not gamey at all. In fact, it was on the mild side. The plum char siu sauce with pear, apple, yogurt and pomegranate created a sweet tart finish which would have been even better had the quail been stronger. Still, it was absolutely delicious!

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The star of the night in terms of entrees was definitely the Braised Rabbit Legs ($29). The mustard jus combined with the potato puree made for a creaminess like no other. The addition of bright green snap peas and flavorful mushrooms made this the ultimate in comfort eating. We were all very sad we had no room for another round of this.

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If you still have room for dessert, there are four to choose from. Since I didn’t really care one way or another, the table chose Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar ($8) s&p ice cream — nice if you like chocolate. Has a nice texture and the saltiness of the bacon was very mild.

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The Page Mandarin Sherbet ($8) with cheesecake, sour grass granita and bits of meringue pieces didn’t do it for me. In fact, I thought it was weird and gross both in taste and texture. Austin was the only one who enjoyed this dessert.

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If you haven’t had the Animal experience, I highly recommend you go and have one. Make a reservation because although walk-ins are accepted at the bar, chances are you won’t be able to get a seat. This is one of those places where the creativity and innovation behind the menu is truly eye-opening and you will be glad you did it!

435 N Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: 323-782-9225

Animal on Urbanspoon


  1. says

    Interesting place Suzanne. I think I recognize two things you listed.

    Professor Peter M. Weitzner/Business Journalist
    Director, Broadcast Journalism
    Host/Exec Producer, Chapman Business Report
    Station Manager, Orange Channel 6
    Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
    Chapman University
    One University Drive
    Orange, CA 92866
    Phone: (714) 628-7259
    Fax: (714) 997-6700
    Cell: (949) 291-1316

  2. says

    A friend recently had a mediocre experience here during restaurant week but maybe she was just there at the wrong time! This meal looks divine. Still haven’t been but one of these days…

  3. Melissa says

    Great photos. I went to animal last June right before the foie gras ban took into effect in California. I remember that place was very dark and crowded, even at 10 the place was still packed. I had some of the same dishes, from the top of my head, the basque you showed, foie gras biscuit that I assume isn’t there anymore, the chimichurri and bone marrow, pork belly sliders and the bacon dessert. Everything was very tasty but I personally wouldn’t go back. Not worth it to me especially the 1 month reservation ahead of time

    • says

      no they don’t have the foie gras biscuit and gravy anymore. I had that the previous time I went there. I don’t think it was a one month reservation. I think my friend made the reservation 2 weeks in advance. It’s definitely not one of those restaurants you go to often, but once in a while is good. I haven’t been in 2 years so it was very enjoyable again this time around

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