Animal: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011
Would you like to go to Animal? I mean right this second? You're probably out of luck, because it's the most popular restaurant in Los Angeles at the moment. The seats are already filled with twice-a-week regulars, chefs in town for a taping, fantastically beautiful women attracted to the testosterone in the air and everyone else fixated on pig's belly, pig's ear, pig's heads and pig's tails, monstrously caloric dishes like foie gras loco moco and oxtail poutine and what seems now like a sweetly old-fashioned devotion to bacon, which appears everywhere on the menu, up to and including the chocolate crunch bar. One hears that the building's owner specifically wanted a nonkosher restaurant for his space, one that wouldn't compete with the stalwarts of the Fairfax Glatt corridor, and chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, perpetually red-eyed and rarely seen outside one another's company, couldn't have been more obliging — no dish here is complete without a healthy dash of the pig. You know that moment when fried pig's ear started to replace beet salad on local menus, when curried veal brains started to show up at restaurants that weren't Pakistani? That was Animal, the first restaurant to raise Boy Food to the level of a genuine cuisine — a farmers market–powered version of Boy Food, but Boy Food nonetheless: uffalo pigtails with celery and blue cheese dressing; coconut sweetbreads with chutney; fried rabbit legs with aioli. Chefs have been serving seared foie gras with syrups and compotes for centuries; Animal's take is to put it on a sweetened version of the truck stop–standard biscuits and sausage gravy. There is a nice list of manly wines available by the bottle, the glass and the half-bottle carafe. 435 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District. (323) 782-9225, animalrestaurant.com. Sun.-Thurs., 6-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Valet and street parking. American.
99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:
Church & State
Din Tai Fung
El Huarache Azteca
Euro Pane Bakery
Fab Hot Dogs
Good Girl Dinette
La Casita Mexicana
Lazy Ox Canteen
Meals by Genet
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
Night + Market
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Pollos a la Brasa
Sapp Coffee Shop
Son of a Gun
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Waterloo & City
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