Friday, December 26, 2008


Brother Monkey sent me an e-mail earlier this week, telling me he'd made Christmas Eve reservations for us at Animal. Sometimes I think he is in my head. I've been wanting to go to Animal for months now. Too perfect.
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Animal is a stealthy creature. It has no signage, just a simple black storefront a few doors down from the famous Canter's Deli on Fairfax.

The little place envelops you in warmth. The decor is simple but inviting. The service is friendly and familiar. Our dude Solomon gave us great recommendations.
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We tried a bottle of the Animal house red wine ($21). Animal house. Heh.
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Mr. Monkey had an Abita root beer ($5) and a Mexican Coke in the bottle ($4).
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Animal's strength lies in its appetizers, which are reminiscent of the small plates at AOC.

I dare say Animal may be my new favorite small plates place. Yes, better than my beloved AOC. The dishes are less expensive, larger, and just incredible!

I will go in increasing order of deliciousness for our appetizers. All were delectable, but the best were seriously out of this world.

Ricotta gnocchi with sage brown butter and butternut squash ($10).
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Instead of being full nuggets of potato, these gnocchi were stuffed with cheeserrific happiness. Sure to win over any pasta and cheese lover.

Poutine with oxtail gravy and Vermont cheddar ($14).
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Do you like chili cheese fries? Consider these the French-Canadian version. Hearty and satisfying, but we all wished there had been more cheese.

Melted petit basque and chorizo with garlic bread ($10).
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Oh. Em. Gee. This rich smooth sheep's milk cheese infused with spicy sausage was bubbling hot and so damn good. A must-order, even in third place amongst our five apps.

Then there were the pork dishes. Oh, you pork dishes! I am still thinking about you two days later! It was a tough call which was better. We were not in total agreement.

Mr. Monkey favored the pork ribs with balsamic, pecans, delicata squash, and rocket salad ($15).
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Fall-off-the-bone-amazing. Like totally off the bone clean. Tender. Juicy. Heaven.

Brother Monkey and I gave the edge to the pork belly with kimchi, peanuts, and chili soy ($10).
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So rich and luscious and crispy and mmmmm-inducing. All of us kept asking aloud, "Why is this so good?!" We were still talking about these pork dishes the next day when we got together again with Mr. Monkey's side of the family.

Crazy yummy. See?
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Our entrees were very good, but they didn't shine like the apps. The apps just kicked too much ass in comparison!

Flatiron steak with Pabst Blue Ribbon fondue, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and crispy leeks ($25).
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I especially liked the PBR fondue and crispy leeks.

Rabbit, cannellini beans, carrots, turnips, chive, and lemon ($25).
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Excellent preparation of rabbit -- much better than my experience at Grace.

But wait! There's more! We Monkeys have a separate stomach for dessert!

Bacon chocolate crunch bar with salt and pepper anglaise ($8).
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I was intrigued by the bacon part, but this wasn't very tasty. Don't get sucked in by the bacon like I did. Also, the chocolate was so real and so rich that it did a number on me later (read: Hive Central when I got home). I am so stupid about food. Shame on me.

Joe's cinnamon sugar doughnuts with chocolate sauce ($8).
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Now these were awesome. Freshly made, warm, sugary, and droolworthy.

I am already looking forward to my next visit to Animal, whenever that may be. I think it was one of our best meals this year, and you should run there before it gets super popular. Gorge yourself on a boatload of appetizers. I guarantee you will thank me.


  1. If only I could run there...I'll have to fly sometime, instead. Looks mouthwatering!

  2. that looks soooo good! I love how y'all order the entire menu for three people. =)

  3. I love Mexican Coke in a bottle!

    The pork belly dish looks

  4. My mom met the owner of Animal months ago in NYC. He invited her to come in (it had just opened) and she loooved it. I will forgive you for eating the rabbit *sniff*

  5. okay, that totally beats our spaghetti-and-clearman's-cheese-bread christmas eve dinner all to hell.

    and, i'm incredibly sad that the bacon chocolate was not worth the risk. SAD.

    hope you're hive-free now!

  6. Hmmmmmmm. Yum! Your food pics are getting better and better everyday.

  7. I died, melted and went to heaven at:

    Melted petit basque and chorizo with garlic bread...

  8. Have been wanting to try Animal! Now I really want to go!

  9. holy poop. every dish gets better. i can't wait to take peaches there!!!

  10. I just learned about poutine earlier this year and have been looking for a place to get it locally!

  11. omg. must go. the poutine looks delish, although it does look like it needs about 10 x's more cheese.

    yum. yum.

  12. Wow. Looks so appetizing. Too bad the main meals didn't measure up.

  13. I am so glad I read your post on this. The name really grossed me out. I like to pretend like all my food is not "animals."

  14. You should get a cut of their profits for all the people you are sendng their way with pictures like those.

  15. Another place that I need to try. I should just call you up whenever I'm hungry. You could be my IRL iphone app.

  16. F! I'm a little stunned you went to Animal and didn't get the foie gras with gravy on a biscuit.

    Let me tell you: been to Animal a few times now and that dish MELTS MY EYES OUT OF MY HEAD. It's like that scene from Indian Jones where the villian goes for the Grail, and drinks from the wrong one, laughing in triumph as he turns into a mummy. That's me with this foie gras biscuit and gravy. Sweet, savory, warm. Perfect in texture, balance; it's nuts.

    I was there with the Diabolinas (Diabolina said she was leaving the Animal blogging to you! A Monkey homage over dinner!) and I had to use every ounce of restraint to keep from pinning their hands to the table with their butter knives and eating the foie gras all myself.

    Sable Crow: Putting the PIG back in capitalist.

    Hugs to you WeMo.

  17. heh I'm at animal right now. Yay for me!

  18. I really love the first picture of this post! You know me and my penchant for blurry pictures. :)

  19. yum! except the bacon chocolate thingy. :/

  20. Hi WeezerMonkey,

    Nice review! :) Wow, the Gnocchi looks delicious (it's not on the current menu). I think that's part of what makes Animal so fun and enjoyable (its daily changing menu).

    Thanks for the warning on the Bacon Chocolate Dessert - I was about to be sucked in as well, but I had a few warnings on this from other friends (and now you). Like you, my friends couldn't really taste any "bacon" in the dessert and they found it also really chocolatey.


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