Animal

After much deliberation and little actual planning, we finally had our first Elite Diners’ Club meeting last Thursday. Joining myself the president were Greg, Jen, Lawrence, and Susan. It’s a good thing we had Susan there for taking pictures, because she fits the typical food blogger type (Asian, female, young) and therefore it wouldn’t be as embarrassing. But I’m not taking anything away from our vice president (at least until she moves to Alabama in a couple of months for med school), as it was a pleasure having her and the others on this historic occasion. And where better to hold our inaugural meeting than one of the most creative and hyped restaurant in the city (and one of my favorite places in L.A.)?

chicken liver toast ($3) – the chicken liver was smooth, and without the typical liver-y taste. It was creamy, and the balsamic caramelized onions accented the flavor greatly. Always an awesome choice. We got three orders between the five of us.

thai bbq quail, scallion, citrus, cashew, yogurt ($19) – it was new on the menu when I came in March, and looks like it stuck – for good reason. Among some of the most well-cooked quail I’ve had. We should’ve gotten more than one order.

hamachi tostada, herbs, fish sauce vinaigrette, peanut ($14) – one of my favorite dishes from previous visits. Still as good as ever, although I think the amount of veggies kind of overpowered the hamachi this time around.

pig ear, chili, lime, fried egg ($12) – the one real disappointment of the night. I remember this dish much better the last time I had it. This time, the pig ear was cut too thin and the texture became hash brown-like (credit Lawrence).

poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar ($16) – good thing we didn’t get this last (like one of my visits), because this dish was heavy and salty. I probably liked it the most amongst my group. Could’ve used more cheese though.

barbeque pork belly sandwiches, slaw ($12) – always a delight. I can never get enough of these sliders. Perfectly cooked pork belly on these mini brioche-esque buns with a tangy BBQ sauce. What more can you ask for? Seeing multiples of these sexy ladies was like having an orgy.

crispy rabbit legs, meyer lemon aioli, sugar snap peas ($29) – the first of my new experiences, and a good but not great dish. The rabbit was well-cooked, but it’s not exactly my favorite protein. Didn’t help that it brought back painful memories for Susan (she owned a rabbit as of last year), and I accidentally spat a piece on her face.

foie gras loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger ($35) – I never ordered this dish in the past because I’m not a fan of spam and loco moco. But the group wanted to get a foie dish, and this seemed like a good one to share (and one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes). It was a good call. The foie was so rich and fatty.

potato agnolotti, rabbit sausage, broccoli, olive oil ($14) – another one of the new dishes for me. A solid dish – reminded me of gnocchi.

crispy pig’s head, pickled vegetable aioli, charred garlic … ($?) – sorry I forgot the full description and price. It’s a new addition to the menu, added since the May version they have on their website. Susan accurately pointed out that it looked like a turnip cake you’d get at dim sum. Another solid, but not amazing dish.

bacon chocolate crunch bar, s&p ice cream ($7) – I wasn’t a big past of this in the past. But the other members of the group saw this dish featured on Food Network and were intrigued. This time, it was served with a salt and pepper ice cream (it used to be a salt and pepper anglaise). Much better this time around.

tres leches, dulce de leche ($7) – my favorite Animal dessert from the past (although I usually don’t save room for dessert). I thought the bacon chocolate was better this time around, but it was still muy delicioso.

Despite some failed planning by yours truly, the inaugural Elite Diners’ Club meeting was a success. We were all full, and had a good time. It wasn’t my best Animal experience, but it was still a very good meal overall. I will continue to visit Animal in the future, and continue on my quest to try everything on the menu.

Chris Hei grade: A-

Animal
435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-9225

Note: credit potatomato.com for the first photo and Susan for all other photos.

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