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The first thing you should know about Animal is that it is practically a shrine to bacon, which appears everywhere on the short, seasonal menu, up to and including a chocolate dessert. The chefs, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, former Food Network stars who call themselves the Food Dudes, are the Jay and Silent Bob of the food world, perpetually red-eyed and rarely seen outside one another's company, and they seem to consider a dish incomplete without a sliver of pancetta, a crumble of Nueske's Wisconsin bacon, a bit of pork belly, or a slab of the bacon they smoke themselves in the kitchen. Animal is a poor place to bring a Muslim or an Orthodox Jew. But the operating principle at Animal is neither the aggressive clams-in-ham philosophy of so much avant-garde cooking nor the Rabelaisian head-to-tail approach but testosterone-laced pleasure: a simple, howlingly good plate of crisp, assertively salted hominy; a bubbling crock of melted cheese spiked with a few slips of thinly sliced chorizo. Chefs have been serving seared foie gras with syrups and compotes for centuries: Animal's take is to put it on a sweetened version of the truck-stop standard of biscuits and sausage gravy. Animal is small and loud and powered by seasonal organic produce; has a nice list of manly wines available by the bottle, the glass and the half-bottle carafe; and although it is populated with people who like meat, is unafraid to serve an unadorned bowl of fruit for dessert ... if only at those times when even bacon isn't enough. See full review.
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Five years after its opening, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's flagship restaurant still feels shiny and new, a standard-bearer for the meat-centric food of the moment. Shook and Dotolo may have started the dude-food craze, but, unlike many of their... More »
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Poutine is a fairly standard French-Canadian dish of fries and oddly springy cheese curds topped with brown gravy. It's a pile of salt, crunch and more salt with a hit of umami -- perfect for soaking up that one-beer-too-many. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's hipper-than-thou restaurant Animal took the Quebeçois standard and upped the oomph factor by not a small amount, changing it to a heady extravagance. The medium thick–cut fries and sharp cheddar cheese become a thatched... More »
Chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook have committed the ultimate French offense: They placed foie gras on a biscuit. The result is an oral ecstasy that's a twist on the biscuits and gravy these Floridians savored as kids. The cold slice of Canadian foie gras is liberally salted and caramelized and tastes so decadent, you'd think it's poele, the Gallic take on fresh fried goose liver. It's combined with a creamy sausage gravy comprising rendered bacon-pork shoulder bits, garlic, parsley, maple... More »
I loved Animal. I thought it was fantastic. The food was amazing, and the service was tremendous. Probably 80% of the menu is all meat - or meaty type products. I had pig ear with chili and lime topped with an egg. I had pig tails, buffalo style - delicious! And then the foie gras loco moco was fantastic. I almost ate the whole menu. It's good to go with a group so then you can try a lot of different things. And the salad was fabulous, too - there was no meat in it!
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