Animal – The Carnivore Eats Bones And All

by Franklin on December 16, 2011

As the name of the restaurant hints at, Animal isn’t for everyone.  Vegetarians especially won’t be too fond of this place.  For me though, this is home.  As a self proclaimed carnivore, it’s no wonder that this place is one of my favorite places to dine in Los Angeles. To put it bluntly, their menu consists of cooked animals.  In all seriousness, the food here is a creative and classical take on all things meat.  The portions at Animal are small.  I treated this outing as a sort of tapas style, small plates kind of deal.

We first had the chicken liver toast.  The chicken liver puree on top of the crispy toast was very creamy and tasty.  It was like pate you find in bahn mi sandwiches, but butter quality of course. The caramelized onions gave it the nice sweetness and flavor that it needed.  It was a great start to my Animal adventure.

Next up was the bone marrow.  This rich fatty dish is one of my favorites.  Smearing the bone marrow over the baguette and taking a bite was pure bliss.  The fat was so buttery and flavorful.  The acidity from the chimmichuri helped cut the fat a bit.  The caramelized onions also gave it a nice sweet flavor as well.  This was decadence at its core.

The barbecue pork belly sandwich sliders were amazing.  The pork had a nice balance of meat and fat and was very soft.  Most of the time, pork belly cooks to become kind of rubbery, especially the skin.  I don’t know how they did it, but it was soft and almost butter like.  The slaw gave it that bite and gave it that texture I wanted.    The bread helped keep everything together and the slaw gave it a crunchy bite. All together, it had a great balance and was delicious.

For dessert, dessert was special;  They even have animals in their dessert.  Their bacon chocolate crunch bar with s&p ice cream is their famous dessert (s&p being salt and pepper). The chocolate bar was some kind of mouse or fudge of some sort.  Surrounding it were hard crunchy pieces of bacon.  Over the plate was a dusting of bacon powder.  It was an amazing flavor profile that is so unique.  It wasn’t too sweet and the bacon didn’t over power the dessert.  The salt and pepper ice cream on the side was interesting.  It was sweet enough to be a dessert, but the salty was just in the background. It was a perfect sweet and salty mix.  These two items were sweet and salty perfected and a perfect finisher to our meal.

Eating at animal was really a great experience.  For a carnivore like me, why wouldn’t it be?  The cuisine was down to earth, but the chef spins it enough to make it interesting. Honestly, the menu is pretty straight forward, and most of the stuff looked interesting to try.  Next time I go, I want to try their poutine and maybe a dish with froi gras.  Anything on the menu here seems like a winner.  Until next time.

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