Animal thinks they’re too cool to have a sign. I think they might be right. Any restaurant that is unabashedly omnivorous, serving up plate after plate of sinfully rich meaty plates is OK by me. I think the NYTimes is close when they say that Animal is what would happen if Daniel Boulud got high and was locked in a strange kitchen. I would amend that image by including the presence of a grizzled competition BBQ’er. Many of the menu items seem like something two lumberjack gastronomes came up with at 3 am after a night of heavy drinking while playing a glazed-eyed game of “you know what I REALLY want right now?” Lucky for me, these are the types of things I want to eat in all stages of sobriety.

chicken liver toast

chicken liver toast w/ port reduction

Intensely creamy and the perfect balance of flavors. The reduction didn’t overwhelm, which can sometimes be the case when pairing sweetness with liver.

poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar

poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar

This was just incredible comfort food. So rich and tasty. Somehow the fries managed to retain their crispiness even while being smothered with the oxtail gravy.

amberjack, nectarine, citrus, mint, chili

amberjack, nectarine, citrus, mint, chili

We thought we should probably order something that could pass as healthy to offset everything else on the menu. This did the trick, cleansing our palates from the thick oxtail residue that coated its entirety.

sweetbreads, creamed spinach, porcini, caper butter

sweetbreads, creamed spinach, porcini, caper butter

Perfectly cooked.

pork belly, kimchi, peanuts, chili soy, scallions
pork belly, kimchi, peanuts, chili soy, scallions

Maybe a little heavy on the kimchi (at this point all I wanted to taste was meat meat meat), but the belly was delightfully crispy on the outside and melting on the inside.

bbq pork belly sandwiches, slaw

bbq pork belly sandwiches, slaw

Second only to Momofuku Ssam’s pork belly in my storied career of eating pork belly sandwiches. Braised to perfection and slathered with a just-aggressive-enough bbq sauce.

foie gras loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger

foie gras loco moco, quail egg, spam, hamburger

This dish was just over the top. It was absolutely delicious but a bit one dimensional, could have used something else to compliment the viscosity of the spam-burger-foie three headed monster.

The prices at Animal are totally reasonable and the aesthetic echoes that of the chefs (Food and Wine award winners for best new chefs 2009, by the way), casual and comfortable. If you’re in LA and you like meat it’s a must.

Animal on Urbanspoon