I know there are many animal reviews out there but I had such a great meal so I wanted to share.
Longer review + photos here: http://stuffycheaks.blogspot.com/2009...
Animal is located on Fairfax in West Hollywood. The place is pretty nondescript, there's no signage outside but they do have valet. It's a pretty small space with stark white walls and minimalistic decor. One complaint that I had was that it got a bit drafty whenever anyone opened the front door.
We started with glasses of Prosecco then ordered the bottle of Pinor Noir (Baxter from Anderson Valley); a light bodied red that would pair well with all the meat dishes that we had ordered.
1. Rabbit loin, wrapped with Benton's bacon, parsnip, pear and mustard leaf on the top
The loin looked like a sausage and was tender and cooked perfectly. It was mild and very lean. At first we thought the meat needed a bit more seasoning but when eating it with the bitter mustard leaf and sweet pear sauce, it was the perfect bite.
2. Sweetbreads with capers, creamed spinach and hen of the woods
Amazing. it was perfectly breaded. The strong taste of the thymus gland cut by the citrus from the Myer lemon sections and the tartness from the capers really worked.
3. Pigs ears with chili, lime and a fried egg
The pigs ears were crunchy but a tad too greasy. We felt that the pigs ear lost its integrity in the preparation; they just tasted like deep fried thin strips and you really couldn't tell that they were pigs ear.
4. Pork Belly Sliders
This was friggin awesome. The toasted brioche was buttery, the huge hunk of pork belly was cooked evenly despite its thickness. It was fatty and juicy.
5. Quail fry, grits, chard, slab bacon, maple jus
I thought they did a good job of frying up the quail. The breading was well seasoned, crunchy and wasn't oily. The meat was tender but was a little under seasoned. It would have tasted better with a bit of salt or if it was brine before it was breaded. I actually enjoyed the grits.
6. Loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger
The rice was short grained and cooked well, and sopped up all the juices from the burger, spam, runny yolk and sauce on the plate. One of the best of the night. Great flavors, rich and all animal.
After four appetizers and two entrees, it was on to dessert.
7. Bacon chocolate crunch bar with salt and pepper anglaise
The chocolate was kind of compact and heavy and the chunks of bacon just didn't wow me.
8. Tres leche cake
Surprisingly, I thought this was better than the popular bacon chocolate crunch bar. The cake had a light, spongy bottom that was soaked with sweetened milk. It was topped with a thin layer of dulce de leche and topped off with a nice frosting that wasn't overly sweet. Delicious.
Overall, service was good although our water was not refilled which is necessary given the saltiness of the food. The staff was really knowledgeable; when we asked what garnishes were on the plate, they were able to point it out even though it wasn't listed on the menu.
In conclusion, I have to say that dinner at Animal was an amazing meal. I enjoyed almost everything that we ordered including the wine. The menu was unique and the food was executed well. Animal serves good, hearty, rich, decadent food with a modern spin.