Photos are on my blog: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/...
I tried out Animal last week after reading a Chowhound thread on it. Still unsignaged, we went for a 7.15 reservation and when we got there, only two other tables were filled. But surprisingly it was still loud, probably because 1) there was a table of six men drinking and chatting and 2) what's with the wall, tile floors, and hardwood tables and chairs, harsh sounds tend to reverberate.
At any rate, let's move on to the food.
For appetizers we started with the Pork Ribs with bread and rocket salad:The ribs were kind of fatty, but otherwise they were perfect! Tender meats falling off the bones ... the sauce was also amazing!
I've had the Niman Ranch ribs at Slanted Door but these ribs here surpass Slanted Door's by a biiig margin.
The bread was soaked in olive oil. Besides the arugula, it was definitely not really a healthy plate :P
We also had the Marinated leeks, spinach, poached eggs, serena and bacon:
I really like eggs, and poached eggs, even for dinner. There was a lot of bacon
I had the quail fry for my entree (unfortunately the picture is blurry, I'm so sorry!)
The sauce was good, but it was too much with the quail fry - together they become too salty. But it was perfect for the grits and greens.
Oh, and great thick bacon. Again, great with the other sides, but for me, the fried quail legs should be eaten in isolation to get the full, unadulterated flavor - and not get salt overdose.
My friend got the monkfish with beans
The monkfish was also pretty good, juicy and the broth is good. But, I was too preoccupied with my quail fry :P If I had to choose ... well no question about it, quail all the way.
One of the desserts we got was what the waitress recommended,
Who would've thought to put bacon on a chocolate cake? (I must say this restaurant puts bacon on a lot of things :P ) but it works surprisingly well. The bacon bits give both crunchiness and a bit of saltiness that go well with the rich, sweet chocolate.
The other dessert we got was the White peach and Mulberry Crisp.
What is the difference between a crisp and a cobbler anyway? I'm not really sure yet, I'm going to have to look this up. But anyway, the crust of this crisp was what I would expect from a cobbler (but I may be completely wrong), but it was very good nonetheless. The combination of the white peach and mulberry went very well, and it was perfect since it would otherwise be hard to decide which one to get! I was missing my ice cream with this though - don't know maybe I'm just too used to it? Pies/cobblers/etc seem to always be too rich and sweet to me not to cut with some cold vanilla ice cream?
My final judgment? I thought all the food was great. Creative and interesting ideas with solid preparation. Reasonable prices, good service. I would definitely, definitely be back, despite the loudness (the only bad point).