Finding good restaurants is a big hobby of mine and I always ask people their favorite restaurants in LA. In last few weeks, three people randomly recommended me about Animal and I thought I got to check it out. The restaurant opens at 6 p.m. nightly and we made a reservation at 6 p.m. on Sunday. We got there early to find a free street parking (they don't have restaurant parking but do have a valet) and walked around the neighborhood. The neighborhood made me a bit uncomfortable and out of place (there were many street kids hanging out and some homeless guys). The restaurant was hard to find since the restaurant doesn't have any sign; it's just all black in the front. The restaurant is very simple but nice and very small; so reservation is a must. Since this place is a tapas style restaurant, Including desserts, two of us ordered 7 dishes and here is the order of my favorites: 1. pig ear, chili, lime, fried egg This was our favorite of the night! All my friends recommended pig ear and I'm glad that we tried it. I think what makes this dish so delicious is the sauce; the combination between the spiciness of chili and lime was amazing. 2. flat iron, sunchoke hash, truffle parmesan fondue This was the most expensive dish ($28) on their menu but it's so worth it! The steak was so soft and I loved it. This is more like entree size than appetizer. 3. chicken liver toast I heard that foie gras dishes were their signature dishes and I wish I tried them before the foie gras ban. Not as good as foie gras, but this still tasted good. 4. marrow bone, chimichurri, caramelized onions This was my first time eating bone marrow and it wasn't my favorite. Chimichurri was good though. 5. melted petit basque, chorizo, grilled bread I love cheese so I had to try this dish. It was good but not as creative dish as others; nothing was particularly special. 6. huckleberry pavlova, lemon verbena ice cream, toasted meringue It wasn't bad but nothing was special. 7. bacon chocolate crunch bar, s&amp;p ice cream I've tired bacon chocolate at other restaurants before and I normally like it but this one was not good. It was too salty. They sprinkled lots of salts on the plate but bacon already has the saltiness so the extra salts are unnecessary. Also, I thought wine list was over-priced. The cheapest glass of wine was $11 and tasted like $5 bottle of wine from grocery store. Next time, I might bring my own bottle of wine and just pay $20 corkage fee. Overall, it was a good restaurant and I will definitely come back to try other dishes.
For a place that uses no animal products in it's food they manage to come up with the most diverse, flavorful and inspired menu. Club sandwiches, pizzas, enormous salads are chock full of exciting fresh ingredients that fill you up but don't leave you in a food coma. Entrees come with a selection from their sides menu that includes hummos, tabouleh, yams and many other amazing choices. I've had their club sandwish on many occassions and actually crave it the way some might crave certain fast foods. It has avocado, carrots, tempeh bacon, sprouts and a light mayo spread made from soy. The grain bread is nutty and delicious. Save room for any one of their homemade deserts, they are all worth trying.
I rarely give five stars, but Sage is a much needed addition to the vegan food scene in LA (and the world). First off, the food is amazing. Hands down the best vegan food I've had outside of my house. Second, the atmosphere is great. Clean and bright with fast, efficient service - it's a place you can take your omnivore friends and be proud. It's a place your omnivore friends will return to, with or without you. Also, they have a whole ice "cream" bar serving Kind Kreme. Awesome.