Think of Animal as the Momofuku of Los Angeles, a (justifiably) hyped temple to inventive meat cookery helmed by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, two dudes who seem too laid-back to have won Food & Wine‘s Best New Chefs of 2009 and gotten several James Beard Award nominations.The duo just opened Son of a Gun, a seafood spot around the corner from their first restaurant. Fork in the Road spotted Jon Shook grilling chicken hearts at Meatopia and decided to ask him where he and Vinny were eating while they were in New York.
Welcome to New York! Come here often?
We come out here kind of frequently. It definitely inspires us; the food scene here is top-notch and there are lots chefs we are friends with here.
So, where have you been eating while you’ve been here?
Dude, we go all over. This week we scored reservations at Ko; we’re psyched to go because we’ve never been. All of Chang’s stuff is really awesome. I’ve been really digging Fatty Crab recently. Roberta’s, of course. We’ve been trying new stuff like Mile End. We just went to Marlow & Sons for a light lunch before we came here. We get around [Laughs.].
You’re serving chicken hearts with a burnt eggplant puree; aren’t you afraid that some people might be wary of eating that?
We figure you’ve got to be a real meat eater to eat chicken hearts. You come to these events and everyone is always doing ribs and bellies, really common cuts. We wanted to bring something nobody else is doing.
Are you ever going to open a restaurant in New York?
If the right opportunity came, we’d take it, but it’s a pretty far flight from L.A. We’ll see how things go. Vinny is from Long Island, my wife has a place here, so we’ll see how it goes.