Monday, August 23, 2010

Animal, Los Angeles, CA

A very special VIP Dinner that I arranged for some lovely maids in the AniMaid Cafe. Venus and Mio were the lucky ones to join me for a night of culinary adventure. I'll save the chit chat for later, onto the food!

Ricotta Ravioli, Lemon, Basil, Pecorino, Olive Oil

Judgment: The dish came prepared with the olive oil drizzle with a lemon mixture. I thought the Lemon was a bit strong and stole away some of the flavor from the Basil. The herbs give it a refreshing touch but the acidity from the lemon might have been too much. However, the dish was still enjoyable. 7 / 10

Quail Fry, Grits, Chard, Slab Bacon, Maple Jus

Judgment: HOLY CRAP. This is some of the best Quail I have ever had. The bird was well seasoned, cooked to perfect temperature and the accompanying side dishes were exquisite too. The grits were delicious with the maple jus and the bacon was cured very well, high quality. 10 / 10

Barbeque Pork Belly Sandwiches, Slaw

Judgment: This is the iconic food to have at Animal Restaurant. No trip here would be complete without an order of this for your party. In fact, order enough for your entire party so that everybody can have their own and not have to share. The meat is so tender it falls apart and melts in your mouth. The sweetness of the bbq sauce is balanced by the crisp flavors of the cole slaw and the bun just brings the flavors together nicely in a neat and slightly messy little package. 10 /10

Foie Gras Loco Moco, Quail Egg, Spam, Hamburger

Judgment: Here we finally have an official entreƩ from Animal. The dish is a traditional Loco Moco Hawaiian Specialty but prepared in an un-traditional way. The rice is cooked to perfection, even Mio was commenting how great the rice was. The dish is covered in a sweet sauce with small hints of sriracha sauce to give it a little heat. The Foie Gras just melts again like butter, Spam is rich in saltiness, the burger is kind of mellow and hanging out in the dish and the Quail egg just ties everything together. This is one of the few dishes I wouldn't mind eating all the rice. 10 /10

Conclusion: Animal Restaurant VIP Dinner experience was a success for Mio and Venus. They weren't sure what to expect when I told them VIP Dinner, but dress smart casually. Once again, it goes to show that you don't have to go to a high-end $100/person restaurant to enjoy delicious food but this is definitely one hidden gem. All in all, I had a great time with the lovely girls even when the waitstaff asked me to stop taking photos because my flash was distracting other diners, it was still a great time. Will definitely visit again, and hopefully Mio-chan and Venus-chan will join me again. There is street parking in the nearby neighborhoods for this place but I opted for the valet because it was the VIP experience after all. This restaurant gets and S-Rank.

Bonus Material:

Mio and Venus-chan looking lovely

Me with Venus-chan, Photo by Mio

Me with Mio-chan, Photo by Venus

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