• the vegetable dinners at animal by jeremy fox

    May 18th, 2010quarrygirlanimal, LA restaurants

    eating a vegan meal prepared by a world-renowned chef is an extreme privilege, which is why i strongly suggest you check out the vegetable dinners at animal that are taking place every night this week.

    the normally very meat-heavy restaurant is halting business as usual “to join forces with Chef Jeremy Fox for seven nights of an exclusive prixe fix, multi course collaboration of vegetables paired with thoughtfully chosen wine & beer.” the menu is entirely vegetarian, but can be modified to be made vegan (just be sure to ask), and costs $70 per person with optional wine pairings for $35 or $70.

    after hearing nothing but rave reviews for chef jeremy fox and his former restaurant ubuntu, i knew i had to go to this. i mean, why would a restaurant called ANIMAL stop serving carcass for a whole week, unless it was for a very special menu. i booked a table for the opening night with my vegan chef buddy, and while the place was still ironing out a few kinks, i can safely say the food and service were phenomenal.

    our reservation was at 6pm (right when the restaurant opened), and even then there were a few parties standing around outside, waiting to get in. unfortunately, i was driving so i opted for a single bottle of green flash ipa rather than the wine pairing. after glancing at the somewhat dairy-heavy menu, i let our waitress know that we were vegans, and she assured us that it wouldn’t be a problem. off to a great start!

    macarona almonds: lavender sugar, sea salt, olive oil.

    course number 1 was a plate of macarona almonds to share, and it was incredible. the plump little nuts were seasoned with lavender sugar and sea salt and were perfectly crunchy. the lavender flavor was amazing, and the portion was filling that we didn’t even finish it.

    crunchy french breakfast radishe, black lava salt.

    the second course was also to share, and it was a plate of crunchy “french breakfast” radishes with black lava salt. i don’t even know how to describe this dish, it was so full of unfamiliar flavors. the radishes came on a bed of green sauce, and our waitress said we should dip each one in the sauce before sprinkling on the salt. we both loved it and were practically licking the plate to finish off every drop of the amazing sauce.

    after course 2 is when the kitchen started slow down a bit. the restaurant was getting pretty full and i noticed that diners who arrived much later than us were beginning to catch up with us course-wise. the waitress was very polite and apologetic for the delay, explaining that it was their first night with the menu and they were running a little behind.

    2x-shucked peas in a consomme of the shells: white chocolate, chocolate mint, macadamia.

    when course 3 finally did arrive, it was a bowl of shucked peas in a consomme of the shells. it was exquisitely presented with beautiful little edible flowers, and it tasted incredible too. one thing i can honestly say about animal is that each course the brought out was even better than the last—they just kept on surprising us with how good the food could get.

    'forno' beet baked in a rose geranium salt crust: 'fuerte' avocado, pickled green strawberry, pistachio.

    course 4 was a plate of beets baked in a rose geranium salt crust with avocado, pickled green strawberries, and pistachio. these are without a doubt the best beets i’ve ever eaten, and the green strawberries were the perfect compliment. i mixed them up with the creamy avocado and crunchy pistachio bits, and there was a party goin’ on in my mouth.

    young favas, roasted whole, then shucked: salsa maro of the pods, anchovy 'flavor'.

    course 5 was plate of roasted shucked fava beans atop a salsa maro of the pods. again, this dish was so unique and tasty i don’t even know how to describe it. all i can say is that the “salsa maro of the pods” was straight up insane.

    heirloom carrots rescoldo style, in root embers: vadouvan spices, coconut labneh, parsnip.

    course 6 was a dish of heirloom carrots rescoldo style, in root embers. this came with “coconut labneh,” which i’m pretty sure contains dairy…but our waitress assured us ours was made vegan. the carrots were so wonderfully cooked and the coconut cream was thick and fluffy, again it was a total explosion of great flavors and we loved it.

    roast celtuce stalk: ruta kraut, pumpernickle, horseradish mustard.

    course 7 was roast celtuce stalk in a bowl of ruta-kraut, pumpernickle, and horseradish mustard. i have NO IDEA what celtuce stalk is, but the way jeremy fox makes it is delicious! this dish also normally comes with cheese, but the folks at the vegetable dinners were happy to modify it for us.

    unfortunately, after course 7 me and my dining partner had to take off with 2 courses left to go. you see, the kitchen had become so slow at that point we’d been there for two and a half hours, and we figured the other 2 courses would take half an hour at least. for big parties enjoying a relaxing dining experience and drinking bottles of wine, the long wait may not be a problem. we both had places to be though, so we politely asked our waitress if we could get the check early.

    our waitress totally understood our plight, and was so sorry for the long wait that SHE COMPED ALL OUR FOOD! YES, THAT’S RIGHT. two dinners at $70 each, they gave us FOR FREE because of the delay. now that is damn good customer service. i also want to point out that they had no idea i was a food blogger or anything, this was just a case of animal restaurant being awesome and taking care of their shit. any ounce of annoyance i had over the long wait is completely gone due to the incredible food and epic gesture of a comped meal by the restaurant staff.

    because i’m sure inquiring minds want to know, the last two courses we skipped out on were:

    sweet fennel and puffed wild rice krispie: fennel bulb, ‘page’ mandarin, bronze fennel and toasted brioche and sherry “creme brulee”: fried cornbread, chocolate ganache, shiitake.

    i have no clue how they would have veganized those for us, but i’m sure if we stayed it would have been awesome.

    the vegetable dinners at animal are happening through sunday may 23rd, so i highly suggest you call and make a reservation if you can. (tell them in advance that you’re vegan!) it was busy when were there, but not totally full….so you may still have a chance to get in. plus, there is a bar to sit at that takes walk-ins. don’t miss this. jeremy fox is a fucking genius, and our dinner was amazing. even if we would have paid the full price, it would have been more than worth it. this place puts xiv and bottlerock to shame, so definitely go if you can!

    Animal Restaurant
    435 N. Fairfax Ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    (323) 782-9225


53 responses to “the vegetable dinners at animal by jeremy fox” RSS icon

  • You were fleeced!

  • What a beautiful dinner!

  • Awesome review!! I’M SO JEALOUS, I miss those marcona almonds like nobody’s business. Your pictures always blow my mind… SO GOOD. i’m all over the place but damn, I wish I coulda been there!

    and thanks for the link love <3

  • Wow, your meal at Animal looks spectacular and it really must be if you say it put XIV to shame. What an exciting this for veganism that a restaurant would dedicate an entire week to a completely vegetarian tasting menu and that their staff is that awesome.

  • Two and a half hours is a long time to be kept waiting. Nice of them to be cool about that though.

  • This sounds so freakin awesome! I wish I could be there for this! I’ve heard awesome things about Chef Jeremy and have always wanted to try his food. Please keep us updated for his next dinner!


    Chef Veronica
    fresh. natural. always delicious fun.

  • unbuntu is still open though right? That place is awesome and even fed Kristin and me!

    I’ve been reading about Animal for a while, its cool that they put this together and let some vegans in!

  • Great review. If I recall, vegan preferences were to have been made at the time of reservation. This could have contributed to your wait time. Whatever the reason, your patience, words, and photos combined with Chef Fox’s direction and Animal’s graciousness and fine staff made for a great evening and probably unforgettable meal.

  • miss anthrope

    For the record, I did state that we were vegan both when we made our reservation, and when they confirmed it on the phone! 🙂

    it was such an amazing meal, I hope lots of people check it out.

  • but…. normally they’re a restaurant that is so meat-heavy they’re actually called ANIMAL?? I appreciate they’re trying to be vegan friendly too, but don’t think I’d want to support a restaurant like that…

  • I’ve been to Ubuntu and had a memorable meal…floral salad atop carta de musica, strazzopreti carbonara complete with mushroom jus and parsnip ‘bacon’. Incredible. I’m going tonight, can’t wait. Thanks for the review.

  • It looks wonderful and special, but this country is in a recession – heck, a depression if you ask me. So $70 per person just for the food (not including drinks, tax and tip) is just not in the cards for me right now. That’s more than my weekly grocery budget. It’s nice that so many of you can afford that, but please bear in mind that many people are unemployed and suffering.

  • I also agree with BRS – I would NEVER support Animal as long as their main business comes from murdered animals. Quarry Girl’s nonchalant attitude towards a $100-200 dinner-on-a-whim is strange enough, but to support Animal, no matter who the heck is the chef there, is hypocritical. Were you wearing a leather jacket there? It would be like a Mexican deciding to go on vacation to Arizona right now.

  • I love the variety of coverage on this blog. Everything to pizza in Boyle Heights, to celebrity chef tasting menus.

    This is a great resource for poor vegans, and for ones who have extra cash. Keep up the good work!

  • $70 meal, plus tax and tip? Sounds good. As long as I don’t have to pay the valet $5. 😉

    @DebbieDowner: Your username is very fitting. Looks like once again, a vegan’s worst enemy is the judgment of other vegans. You know, it’s okay to come out from under that shell and join the rest of society; the dirty “carnivwhores” won’t bite (us, at least).

    Why not reward good behavior when you see it, instead of adding to your Permanent Unforgivable Boycott list? Businesses won’t expand their veggie stuff if you ignore their testing of the waters.

  • Also, no one should ever be upset at wealthy people spending money on expensive shit. On the contrary, that’s the best thing. Having them hold on to it is what you DON’T want. By all means, think of the unemployed and suffering as you’re putting $100 into the economy; more people would be unemployed if you didn’t.

  • I agree, I think it’s so important to support vegan choices wherever you find them. It’s the only way more cruelty-free options will become available, right? Is there any other way?

  • Gauri – I agree with you in general, especially if you’re talking about a mainstream restaurant, like a Mozza or AOC. But Animal???!!! They’re shoving their proud animal-killing agenda right in your face. It’s like asking a pro-life activist to attend a meeting at a place called The Aborted Fetus. Or a gay person going to a club called No Fags Allowed. Why support such an establishment? I’m glad Animal is open to non-murderous food choices. But until they change their name as well as their tune, they won’t get a dime from me.

  • Hey DebbieDowner: They won’t get a dime from you because you can’t afford it! Why don’t you go eat the the $1.99 vegan menu at Taco Bell. They are probably more up your street than Animal.

    I booked a table for Sunday night. I wonder if the menu will be the same.

  • Debbie, I see your point, but I guess I feel like if any place goes out of its way to provide something for vegan customers, then I try and go there and sample it. Mainly in hopes that it happens more and more.
    By the way, wherever possible, I do prefer and give priority to all-vegan establishments, that’s a given. I’m more at ease there, and I want them to stay open and thrive and flourish.
    Alongside that though, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with simultaneously supporting vegan menu options at non-vegan places.
    Not trying to get into an argument here, I’m just a huge fan of this blog and what the people behind it are trying to do. We can agree to disagree peacefully on this, you know?
    Have a good evening.

  • Debbie, you are so right. In fact, a “vegan” blog supporting that restaurant is a deal-breaker! Get a clue!!!

  • I didn’t think this meal would be worth $15 dollars. It jus looks like fancy display of vegetables. Not worth it in my opinion.

  • Again, vegans look like assholes. Let’s attack a vegan blogger for reviewing a place that decides to go meatless for a week. Go team! Well done!

  • The food doesn’t look that good and it’s way too expensive for a tiny piece of vegetable on a plate.

  • As a vegetarian I do enjoy the usual suspects – RFD, M Cafe, Veggie Grill, etc. – but the majority of the time I eat at “regular” meat/fish/vegetarian restaurants, and am usually very happy. My beef (pardon the pun) is specifically with Animal and Quarry Girl’s support of their one-week vegan plan. I’m sorry, supporting Animal IS a deal breaker – a litmus test of how hypocritical this website is – a site whose motto is “MEAT IS MURDER.” Animal proudly supports the murdering of meat. Sure, Taco Bell kills more animals than most, but they’re not called “Dead Meat Tacos.” I truly love (or have loved) this blog and usually rush out to try most of the places that are hyped, but to support Animal is just plain dumb.

  • I think it’s amazing that a meat-heavy restaurant is going entirely vegetarian for a whole week! It’s great and important to support that choice, so thanks for the review.

    Don’t listen to the complainers. If everyone thought like that, nowhere would carry vegan options.

  • Cannot support a “vegan” blog and “vegans” who would pimp for a place that serves foie gras, minimally, just as an obvious starting point for why Animal, and those who can suspend their ethics, if they ever had them in the first place, is not okay, will never be okay…

  • OMG I am going to try and get a spot this week! Hope they still have openings. How wonderful for Animal to go meat-free and experiment in vegetarianism!

  • @debbiedowner – if you are vegetarian, and not vegan, and you are supporting the dairy/egg industry, you really have no basis for your argument and are the hypocrite.

  • so if the slaughterhouse decided to have a veggie buffet week you’d be first in line?

  • yeah, because that’s exactly what this is like.

    i’m simply pointing out that debbiedowner, who claims she’s a vegetarian, is making a big stink about eating at a place called “animal” when vegetarians are still supporting an industry that tortures, abuses, and KILLS animals on a daily basis.

    the name of the restaurant doesn’t mean anything. it’s NO DIFFERENT than going to any other restaurant that serves meat.

  • miss anthrope

    thought I better chime in here. there seem to be two issues with this post. here’s my position on both:

    1. the food was expensive

    yes, it was but I try to cover a range of different price points in the blog, and nearly everything I post about is inexpensive. in fact, in nearly 700 posts I can only think of about five where the food has been “fine dining”, three of which were tasting menus at omni restaurants (like this) and the other two were entirely vegan (Sublime and Millennium). I think people like to read about a variety of foods and price points, and I do my best to cover what I can.

    2. supporting a restaurant called “animal” is un-vegan

    I’m not supporting Animal at all. I’d never dream of eating there for anything but this special event by a famous vegetarian chef. In fact, my post was about the event, not the restaurant. I post on many omni places, and don’t consider Animal to be any different than, say, PG Chang’s. Yes, they may have foie gras on the menu sometimes, but so does Scoops Ice Cream and I see plenty of vegans going there all the time for their vegan offerings. I’ll be clear: VEGANS! DO NOT GO TO ANIMAL EVER UNLESS IT IS FOR THIS EVENT.

    But, I do appreciate the feedback. Please keep it coming!


  • don’t have an opinion here about your argument with vegetarian politics, but anyone, like Quarrygirl, who claims to be a VEGAN and knowingly supports an establishment that serves FOIE GRAS, of all things, IS a hypocrite–don’t care if they serve radish only dishes till Sunday, FOIE GRAS is back on Monday… industrialized meat and meat industry may be inescapable, may not be a choice, but faddish bourgeois meat restaurants are… get a clue!

  • duck confit, apple, pecans, dates, arugula 14
    balsamic pork ribs, arugula, pickled fennel, corn 14
    quail fry, grits, chard, slab bacon, maple jus 15
    poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar 15
    sweetbreads, creamed spinach, capers, hen of the woods 15
    miso cured foie gras, strawberry ginger jam 16
    foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy 22
    open faced soft shell crab sandwich, rooster aioli, b & b pickle slaw 22

    catfish, corn, morels, favas, ramp greens, mustard butter 25
    flat iron, artichoke hash, truffle parmesan fondue 25
    crispy rabbit legs, meyer lemon aioli, peas & dandelion 25

  • @jbow – I think QG would be a hypocrite if the ate meat. Posting about an event like this is awesome, and I hope she keeps it coming.

    @debbiedowner – if you’re not a vegan, you have absolutely no place in this discussion. The dairy and egg industry is every bit as cruel as the meat industry (in some ways more, as the animals die a slower, crueler death)

  • @jbow YUK! thankfully that wasn’t on the menu when QG was there. hahahaha

  • @jbow i really don’t see the difference. you do have the option in los angeles (and several other major cities) to support only vegan businesses should you chose. MEAT IS MEAT no matter where it comes from, no matter how it is obtained. the only way you can argue your point is if you only eat at 100% vegan places all of the time.

    it’s like those people who protest against fur and then wear leather thinking one is worse than the other.

  • I want to try to make those Lavender Almonds! Flower flavored food is my all time favorite!!!

  • @bleh sorry, have to disagree with you there. there is a HUGE difference in the way meat is obtained. Since law differentiates different types of murder, why not extend the definition to include animals (as @DebbieDowner pointed out, the blog’s subtitle is “meat is murder”). Personally, I think foie gras falls under the reckless indifference category.

    1. Intent to kill,
    2. Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death,
    3. Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to life (sometimes described as an “abandoned and malignant heart”), or
    4. Intent to commit a dangerous felony (the “felony-murder” doctrine).

    the killing must result from defendant’s conduct involving a reckless indifference to life.

  • I love the way those carrots are cooked. I’m going to make some tonight.

  • Meat is murder! Thanks for having a great vegan blog with no meat on it, and encouraging restaurants that do serve meat, to serve veggie options! Thank you!

    Vegans are whiny bitches.

  • People like DebbieDowner and jbow are so far down the vegan rabbit hole, they can no longer function with the rest of society (nor do they seem to want to). I feel bad for them, if anything.

  • @jbow we are going to have to agree to disagree. i don’t really see how the production of foie gras is different than animals on factory farms being mutilated and kept in horrid conditions, being abused and beaten by factory farm workers, etc. a goose that’s had a feeding tube shoved down it’s throat and force-fed is no different than a chicken that’s been kicked by some factory farm employee and has been left to suffer with internal injuries and broken bones. it is all unacceptable, bottom line.

    WITH THAT BEING SAID… i personally will eat at omni restaurants when they have vegan options to support those options and show there is demand for it. that is a choice i have made as a vegan, some vegans will disagree. i am not supporting a restaurant and their use of meat, i am supporting the fact that they have an alternative. would i go to animal any other time other than this? no, because there are no options for me.

  • Didn’t Cruzer Pizza sell veal a year ago? See how that turned out…

  • Wait!!! Did it have honey? 🙂

  • It was a shame you missed the wild rice krispies dish because I thought it was absolutely delicious. We were also seated at 6pm and it took 3.5 hours for the whole meal. It’s understandable since we were the first seatings for a completely new menu so they were still working out the kinks. Good to hear they took care of you, they have outstanding customer service.

  • alright so i’m kind of late on this one, but…

    i’ve come to realize the longer a person is vegan (and i don’t know why people think DD isn’t – i didn’t read that in the comments?) some of us get more and more uncomfortable with supporting A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G even remotely meat-related. personally, i never eat out unless it is at a vegan restaurant (but i’m also not a big fan of dining out anyway). then, there are others that want to support the initiatives of non-vegan places to showcase how awesome vegetable-based cuisine can be, and good for you guys! we DO need restaurants to do things like this, even if their normal menu is atrocious.

    the point is, we all have different comfort levels, and we don’t need to attack each other in the vegan community for seeing things a little bit differently.

    remember kids: arguing on the internet is like the special olympics…

  • Quarrygirl,
    For the record, the night I went (Tuesday), I spoke to John Shook and Jeremy Fox and both were aware of your review and felt extremely bad about your concerns about the timing. John explained that they had fixed the problems. Indeed they did for our service was flawless.

  • “i’ve come to realize the longer a person is vegan … some of us get more and more uncomfortable with supporting A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G even remotely meat-related.”

    Opposite for me. I’ve mellowed out since my militant teenage years. I enjoy the company of others.

  • Went to animal last night. There were a few kinks with the reservation, so instead of 9:30, we weren’t seated until after ten, but spent a pleasant half hour at the bar with some beer and wine, and they even comped our drinks for the delay. The customer service was quite impressive and completely made up for the long wait time. We didn’t leave until after midnight, but the meal was spectacular. The courses were a bit different than in Quarrygirl’s review, and the dessert had raw honey in it… I politely informed my waiter that most vegans don’t eat honey, raw or not, and Chef Jeff made me a special dessert on the spot. The waiter was very apologetic and the new dessert was fantastic. I was very satisfied with the experience all around.

    As to the complaints, yes, it was expensive, but I knew that going in. I work for a non profit and make next to nothing, but I do love food, and spend most of my “extra” cash on it. I even have a rainy day fund for special food events. If you can’t afford it, don’t be put out that other people can. This blog is about vegan food. I appreciate Quarrygirl’s efforts to review meals of all price ranges. Attacking other vegans for their “veganness” or authenticity doesn’t help the cause. Most carnivores see us as elitist, catty, or just plain crazy. All this bickering and attacking only reinforces the stereotypes. If vegans don’t support omni restaurants that provide vegan options, less restaurants will have those options. If they see enough demand, they might eventually change. You can’t change minds by attacking people.

  • @Greg, hence me saying “some”

  • I think you should all check out the recent article in the New York Times on the Animal restaurant. It is quite disgusting to see the ethic of the Animal restaurant owner’s. It’s two guys who love meat… and even explains how they would take the worst undesired portions of meat and turn them into something “delicious”.

    One dish includes 40 duck hearts simmered in curry, another includes veal testicles. These guys have no feelings at all and are just plain murderers. I don’t know how any vegan could every support them under these circumstances. These article is a must read.

  • Veganism is nothing mor than an eating disorder. I do hope that you all are able to find help so you can heal. There is hope for you. Someday you may even become normal human beings, as opposed to self rightous assholes.

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