Animal
435 North Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-9225
www.animalrestaurant.com
Dinner: Friday, 10/14/2011

Not to sound completely ungrateful, but lately I’ve gotten a bit tired of dining out. Honestly, it’s the same old stuff on the menu. Some kind of hamachi with jalapeno and a citrus, the same trendy pork belly (I enjoy pork belly quite a bit, but tasting 20 different kinds of pork belly at a food event gets boring fast). It was getting to a point where I was contemplating going on a detox, because everything I was eating was predictable and boring. Of course, just as I was seriously planning out a week-long detox, Chef Ludo Lefebvre with Chefs John Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal) teamed up for an 8-course foie gras dinner and completely blew my mind and taste buds away.

Despite the $175 per person (additional $50 for wine pairing) price, the event was very popular and successful. The day that phone lines opened, a friend and I were dialing non-stop on 2 phones each for a few hours. After hundreds of phone calls, we realized we were supposed to leave a message. Thankfully, I received a phone call back and snagged the earliest reservation time left at 12:30 AM.

Marble Foie Gras Terrine, Proscuitto, Fennel, Yogurt, Honey, Bruleed Figs
A great, “light” start to the meal, the sweetness of the figs, yogurt, and honey balanced out the creamy foie gras terrine well. I’m a fan of terrines so I was definitely left wanting more of this dish.

Foie Gras Crudo, Dates, Lemon Confit, Black Ash Brioche, Mushrooms
A similar dish (Foie Gras Crudo, Raw Mushrooms, Grapes, Brioche, Hazelnut Oil) was served at LudoBites 007 and it was one of our group’s favorite dishes so I was excited for another taste. This was another “light” foie gras dish and it worked perfectly with a little bit of lemon confit and date to add a hint of sweetness to every bite.

Smoked Foie Gras, Veal Tongue, Pumpernickel, Crab Apple
One of the heavier dishes of the evening, but very delicious. The veal tongue was cooked perfectly with a slight crispy outer texture and even though it was a bit salty, the creamy, smoked foie gras balanced out the saltiness of the dish.

Foie Gras Ssam, Herbs, Peanuts, Green Curry, Bibb Lettuce, Plum Char Siu
I’m very familiar with ssam (means “wrap” in Korean) and often have it during Korean BBQ meals. There were no Korean flavors here and instead, Vietnamese flavors were very prominent. I love slight, spicy kicks to my dishes and the Siracha that accompanied this dish added that perfectly. It was a very unique combination that the whole table enjoyed.

Steamed Foie Gras, Cabbage, Mustard Ice Cream, Duck Fat Potato, Juniper Berries
The foie gras was steamed perfectly and with just the cabbage, it didn’t offer much flavor. But the combination of everything on the plate added a hint of sweet and sour to the dishes that I quite enjoyed.

Roasted Foie Gras, Cheeseburger Flavors, Benton’s Bacon
I love a good cheeseburger and absolutely loved that this foie gras dish had cheeseburger flavors. It was definitely a more upscale, richer version of my usual cheeseburger. I also loved that there was a beer pairing with this dish, which definitely gave it more of a good old fashion cheeseburger vibe.

Liquid Foie Gras Agnolotti, Corn, Black Truffle
The agnolotti were cooked al dente and lightly covered in a rich, flavorful sauce. I loved the “pop” from every bite and thought the liquid foie gras filling was very inventive.

Brownie Sundae, Foie Gras Chantilly, Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream
The perfect ending to a delicious meal. A simple, brownie sundae made more interesting with some foie gras chantilly. I was beyond stuffed by the time dessert came out, but I was determined to eat every bite of this last dish and almost licked it clean.

Throughout the 8-course, I savored every, rich, unique, and delicious bite. Every time a dish was taken away, a part of me wanted to cry because that was one dish closer to the end of the meal. This dining experience was honestly one of my favorite meals and very memorable. The sale of foie gras will be banned in California in July 2012 (please sign the petition to get rid of the ban) so I definitely plan on eating my share until then and even planning on holding an underground foie gras party (think Boardwalk Empire Prohibition scene).

xox -

Joanna

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