Animal is topping my list because they made brussels sprouts so good that while I was digging into the next dish of poutine (gravy and cheese covered fries) all I could think about was more brussels sprouts.
It sounds insane. If you asked Dustin of a few days ago if it was even conceivable that I would prefer vegetables over fries, he would have kicked you out of the building and remind you of In 'n' Out Pizza.
To be fair, the crispy brussels sprouts were drizzled with pancetta vinaigrette, and mixed with chunks of pancetta, citrus, parmesan, and a soft egg. It's killing me to write 6 sentences about brussels sprouts, but I cannot say it more loudly, this was the best thing I've eaten this year so far if not all of last year too (sorry Erin).
Ok, on to the non-vegetables! The poutine was served with a fantastic braised oxtail gravy that carried the dish through. The fries themselves were just okay, and the poutine was pretty one-note. Up next, a marrow beef bone with chimichurri, grilled onions, and fried bread. Surprisingly, through all of our culinary adventures, we've never man-ed up and ordered marrow. Animal forced us to because almost the entire menu is interesting parts of animals (tongue, brains, liver, etc). I can't say either of us loved marrow, but it was tasty, and I think Animal did it justice. It just ain't no brussels sprouts.
The last plate of dinner was fried rabbit legs and rice completely drenched in sour cream gravy. The rabbit legs had a beautiful golden breading that with a highly noticeable squeeze of lemon. I couldn't help but remember Berghoff's wienerschnitzel because the flavor resemblance was uncanny. With that thick deep fried coating and a heavy (almost chicken fried steak style) gravy, we were practically stuffed by the time dinner was over. Of course, Erin had her dessert picked out from the start of the meal, so we had no choice but to persevere.
Bacon chocolate crunch bar with salt & pepper ice cream. The bar tasted great, but the star of the show, hands down, was the ice cream. I hadn't even read the dessert menu (so I was tasting blind), and after my first scoop of ice cream I was asking Erin "cracked pepper?" I was right, and it worked. Really really well. I'm prioritizing this on Erin's list of homemade ice creams because this, like olive oil ice cream, seems so off but stuns you in its perfection.
Animal is a pig-focused exploration of the cloven hoofed beast nestled in the heart of LA's Jewish community in the Fairfax District. It's literally right next door to a Glatt Kosher bakery. We almost felt a little bit disrespectful for eating there but... brussels sprouts with bacon. It's owned by the same people as Son of a Gun (and it makes us want to give Son of a Gun a second chance).
After our delicious dinner, we headed over to Hollywood & Vine to see The Book of Mormon at the Pantages Theater. Great food and a great show. We should do this more often, but for now we can only get out once in awhile with our Bella flipping out whenever Mom and Dad leave.