Animal's fried chicken sandwich.
Animal's fried chicken sandwich.
Elina Shatkin

Animal's Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo Roll With Cart For A Cause

With all the recent hoopla about fried chicken, it's no surprise that Animal chefs and recent New Yorker poster boys Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo wanted to enshrine their take on the dish. Yesterday on the Cart For A Cause truck, the dudes dished out a boneless fried chicken breast sandwich daubed with Red Rooster aoili and heaped with slaw. The fried chicken, which you won't find at Animal, is brined overnight, cooked at the restaurant and warmed on the truck. The slaw is a mess of cabbage, red onion, jalapeno and house-made bread-and-butter pickles soaked in a dressing of pickle juice and grapeseed oil.

Blink and you'll miss it. The Cart For A Cause food truck rolls out every Tuesday, staffed by a rotating array of L.A. chefs. Each week, it offers a prix fixe $10 lunch with proceeds going to Meals On Wheels. Last week, the dudes did a hamachi tostada. Both times, they exceeded their $3.50/meal ration. "It's hard to get really good chicken at that price," Shook says.

The dudes had to make other adjustments to cook on the truck. "I'd rather be in a restaurant any day," says Shook. "It's cool, but I can't see myself carving this out," Dotolo adds.

The boys need new toys, and they make it sound like they've nearly outgrown the set-up at Animal. "Animal is as low as we want to go in a kitchen," Shook says. His fantasy kitchen: Bouchon. "Have you seen it? It's like a spaceship!"

A hint that their possible, potential, rumored second restaurant will have a more elaborate menu than their current one? Possibly. If and when they open another restaurant, it will likely be a very different concept from Animal. Neither Shook nor Dotolo seem interested in repeating themselves. "I want to play with more tools," Shook exclaims. "Isn't that what everybody wants?"


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