Animal is a medium sized place that serves lots of plates made for sharing. It is the first restaurant of the group that also owns Jon and Vinny which is across the street down a couple lots. The menu adds brunch items on weekends but the regular menu is still available. They have been open 10 years and the menu was originally known for its interesting meat cuts but now mostly features meaty, hearty food. The dishes were well flavored and fun, so I’d put this one on your list if you’re in town. Rock music plays in the background but is dampened by the sound tiles in the ceiling. Plain white walls host just a couple paintings and windows to the street are at one end of the place. The opposite end is a counter with seats that face the bar and a small window into the kitchen. The bare wood tables are set with large cloth napkins and ceiling skylights add additional light for daytime dining. Service was super friendly and helpful.
We started with the Chicken Liver Toast which was a thick slice of toast spread with an equally thick layer of liver topped with caramelized shallot butter with balsamic. The topping was a nice sweet complement to the creamy liver on the wonderful toast. The liver was not irony and instead quite mildly flavored. It was great combination of ingredients and the bread was terrific. It was really yummy.
Marrow Bone was topped with chimichurri and caramelized onions and served with toast. The topping was fun with the rich marrow and perfect to spread on the well toasted bread. This one was easy to share and really good. Lots of flavor to go around.
Boniato yam came with lemon creme fraiche, pepita (seeds), salsa verde and za’atar. This one was suggested by the server and was an excellent suggestion. It was yummy. The yam pieces were crisped on the outside and creamy on the inside. Along with the crispy seeds and other ingredients this one was amazing. Something added a touch of tartness to the sweet potatoes but overall the dish was filled with incredible flavor and texture. A total surprise for me but a dish with great balance.
The “Boner Burger” came with 420 sauce, jack cheese, poblano and red onion. It was a patty melt style, served on rye toast. It was cooked quite rare, as asked for, and full of flavor. Delicious.
Poutine was served with oxtail gravy and cheddar. The dark rich oxtail gravy was made with slow roasted beef and topped with strong white cheddar cheese shreds. It was an excellent rendition of the dish – filled with flavor and texture. The fries stayed crispy and mixed well with the ultra rich gravy and meat. This one was heavy but wonderful.
For dessert we tried the cinnamon roll which was good and topped with a tasty icing. The dough had a good chewy texture and the balance of icing to bread was perfect. However the star, and surprise, was the Cheesecake Pudding. It came with guava, passion fruit and graham. The passion fruit was an ice on top of the guava pudding topped with graham crumbs. It was fun and really tasty – packed with great flavors and textures.