Animal Restaurant – Los Angeles (Loco Moco)

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After completing phase one of “Loco for Loco Moco: No Joke-o” (me at Bruddah’s Hawaiian Foods, and the Gastronomer at somewhere I’m not sure because she hasn’t blogged about it yet), it was time to try the luxe loco moco at Animal, a restaurant with the same name as my favorite Muppet, no less. It’s on Fairfax, right across from the ill-fated Largo, and unless you know what you’re looking for you might fly right past it since it’s unmarked, that’s how you know it’s hip.

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After asking if it was our first visit (it was), our server went through the menu describing dishes and pointing out her favorites. (The loco moco was notably not on that list. For a second time, I wondered what we were in for.)

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The foie gras loco moco ($35) came with stubby Carolina Gold rice, Niman Ranch hamburger, Spam and a big slab of seared foie gras (that’s mostly what you see in that photo) topped with a fried quail egg. The gravy element of the moco was substituted with teriyaki sauce and dots of Sriracha, which made it less comfort food-y. The foie was great, but it definitely took center stage in the dish and it made it a little hard to discern all the flavors in each forkful. It was pretty ridiculous!

If you want to hear about the rest of the meal, there are more photos…after the jump!

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Sliced fluke with citrus, mint, sea salt and jalapeno ($12) was a very light and refreshing start to the feast. It also just plain looked pretty with its springtime colors, especially compared to the parade of brown food that later crowded the table.

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In the spirit of sampling crazy comfort foods withy funny names, we also ordered poutine! Hailing from Canada, the original dish is french fries smothered with cheese curds and (what else?) gravy. Animal’s poutine ($15) had oxtail gravy and Vermont cheddar, though I didn’t really taste much of the latter.

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A lot of the people we talked to professed that the melted petit Basque with chorizo and garlic bread ($11) was their fave, and we all thought it was good.

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I really liked the Bellwether ricotta ravioli with peas and mint ($9), and I kind of wish that there was an entree-sized portion. But I guess that wouldn’t go with the whole “animal” theme.

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We ordered our second entree, the sharable slab of ribs ($37), to ensure our group didn’t going home hungry (in actuality, all five of us ended up heading out very full after four apps, two mains and two desserts). The meat fell off the bones and the balsamic was sweet and so tasty. It was served with a very autumnal side of roasted parsnips, carrots and raisins.

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I wish the bacon chocolate bar ($8) had a little more saltiness to contrast with the chocolate. Plus, the bacony bits weren’t crispy and kind of stuck in your teeth, not so pleasant, but thankfully our other dessert definitely picked up any slack…

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Joe’s doughnuts with caramel sauce were the big hit of the night. So warm and gooey and delicious. I’d probably have to say they’re the best I’ve ever had (head and shoulders above the ones from Craftbar a couple days before).

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

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