Monday, March 12, 2012


As the day come closer that all California Foodies will have to cease the consumption of Foie Gras (As this becomes Illegal in July 2012) I had to have another try at Animal's famous "Seared Foie Gras, Biscuit, Sausage Gravy & Maple Syrup.... and did so in amazing company!

It was, as always, a full house.. even on a Sunday Night!  
Our quartet arrived without a minute to spare, since we were busy with our pre-dinner gathering of delicious appetizers and a wonderfully refreshing Orange-Cucumber Martini! (Thanks Juli!)

The boys in our party had brought some delicious Malbec to complement our meals, and I thought that was a great idea since Animal allows you to bring your own, albeit a $20 corkage fee, but a much more cost effective option IMO, since we finished 2 bottles!

Staff as always very courteous and the atmosphere was well... loud! That was absolutely no problem for "some" in our party, as they speak loud anyways! ha ha

We were not sure how many dishes we'd end up ordering but in the end, ended up trying 11 dishes,
and highlight of the night was the Polenta & 6 Hr bolognese sauce.. which Julio politely ask the waiter if he could have a bucket of it!
The Citrus Dessert was also a very nice way to finish of a rather rich and somewhat heavy meal, it was combined with Sable crumbles and and a very creamy fresh sauce (maybe yogurt?) I thought all the components in this dish went rather well together. I was very sad though that they no longer had the Sticky Toffee Pudding... oh well! That was my favorite, more so than the Bacon, Chocolate Crunch.

I started by trying the very reasonably priced ($3) Chicken Liver Toast: Very good for the price, with a semi-strong liver taste and a nice fruity marmalade on top.
No one else was game to accompany me on this one... I think the fear of the strong liver taste puts people off sometimes... but come on... be adventurous!

The polenta, as mentioned earlier, was really the star of the night.  I know, its a simple dish, and with so many other (perhaps more creative combinations) dishes, why was this the star of the night?  Well, first I will tell you my family as a whole is extremely selective and persnickety and they all cook amazingly, and second,we come from an Italian background, so we know most places do not do justice to this dish as grandma could! LOL.
So it was much to our surprise that a mere simple ingredient such as polenta could really get us so worked up... in a good way! It must have had 1LB of butter! but I don't mean that in a bad way... it was soo good, creamy and not at all gritty, as most other restaurants. Until this moment, my mom by far... made the best polenta in the world! but Butter makes it Better! It WAS missing the little hole in the middle my mom makes to hold the sauce "in".  
Creamy, buttery Polenta with 6 Hr. Bolognese Sauce

The balsamic pork ribs were good, although in the picture they do look as if they've burned, they were not at all, in fact the nice char on the outside gave them a nice smoky taste, although we could have done without so much balsamic, they were very good and tender.
balsamic pork ribs, delicate squash, arugula, pecan

Next came the petit basque melted cheese with chorizo and grilled bread.  The bread was your standard french bread, sliced and nicely toasted, but this bread, as I came to find later, is much better than the bread served with the Foie Terrine dish.  At first we noticed a very strong, stinky smell coming from a nearby table... first we thought someone must have taken their shoes off? ha ha! JK... but seriously, it stunk! Ohhh, its the Petit Basque!... Ok.. we had to have it!.  It was as delicious as yes, stinky. Not rocket science obviously, but still very nice.
melted petit basque, chorizo, grilled bread

My Foie Gras Terrine came along with the previous two dishes and do you notice what I noticed when I saw my plate?????? Julio said: "Is that Wonder Bread?"... Come on guys... you cannot serve me sliced Wonder Bread along such a delicious, buttery Foie!
Besides the bread disaster, the terrine was very nicely done, very mild in taste (no strong liver notes) and nicely accompanied by a sweet fruity & acidic orange marmalade.  My sister thought "it taste like dessert!" Yeah!! that's my Sis!! Foie for Ever!!
However, the steamed endive... what?? I didn't get it! maybe for some added texture... but really did nothing for the dish, in fact.. just leave it aside as I did.

Foie Gras Terrine

I feel the dishes were being sent out of the kitchen at a nice pace, giving us plenty of time finish our 1st round, unlike my first visit.

2nd round of dishes:

Grilled baby broccoli, crispy egg, smoked trout, mustard, hatch chili.  I only tried the baby broccoli which was nicely cooked (I hate when you get vegetables so raw still that you're afraid you'll break a tooth!) and seasoned, along with the crispy egg which was basically a soft boiled egg with a nice crunchy breading on the outside.  It was nice to have something "green" in a sea of "Animal" dishes.  Oh, and the romesco sauce was amazing!

grilled baby broccoli, crispy egg, smoked trout, mustard, hatch chili

Veal Tongue:

The Foie Gras Semi-Freddo/Mousse was spectacular with distinct smoky notes and plenty of rich,lush,creamy,buttery goodness. This is a new menu item, and a true winner in my book.
Veal Tongue, Smoked Foie Gras, Pastrami Spices, Crab Apple

I was a little hesitant when we ordered this dish due to the mixed reviews... but sounded amazing and we took a chance.  Happy to say, it was cooked to perfection, well seasoned, but not they didn't go sodium happy on it. The Parmesan fondue made this a truly decadent dish. the potatoes were good too, but really, who notices the potatoes when you have an amazingly well cooked piece of meat with lots of parm truffle fondue on top, right??
flat iron, potato hash, truffle Parmesan fondue

Next but not least, the Quail:
Grilled to perfection, nice char, super tender and tasty without that strong "meat" taste. I didn't try much else from this dish, so I cannot comment on the apple and yogurt and how that would combine with the quail, however, the plum sauce was amazing!
grilled quail, plum char-siu, apple, pear, yogurt

Our first of our dessert duo was the Citrus with Sable crumbles which was deliciously creamy, buttery notes from the sable, and of course totally refreshing from the various citrus, pink pomelo being the most prominent on the dish.
I'm glad we gave it a try, because I was so disappointed they no longer had the Sticky Toffee Pudding that I have loved so much!

Citrus, Sable crumbles

Our last dessert was of course the Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar.  As I'm my first review of Animal, still rich and chocolate-y with nice hints of the salty bacon for an amazing contrast.  I wish the bacon was a bit more generous as the chocolate really takes over the whole dish, the saltiness of the bacon is there, but very very subtle.

Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar, Salt & Pepper Ice cream

Overall, am amazing evening, not only the food, but the company and ambiance of the place!
Can't wait to be back! Animal on Urbanspoon

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