Driving to Montauk for Animal’s Pop-Up Restaurant
© Nigel ParryI don’t usually drive out to the Hamptons just for dinner—in fact, like most people who know the general quality of the food out there, I do that never. But last night, my friends and I made the traffic-ridden trip to Montauk from Manhattan just to eat at Animal’s pop-up restaurant at Sole East. Ben Leventhal has all the details of the terrific food on Grub Street: that Animal’s Jon Shook (an F&W Best New Chef 2009) is doing the cooking while his co-chef Vinny Dotolo (also an F&W BNC 2009) holds down the fort at their L.A. restaurant; that Jon’s serving seven dishes (“the stuff everyone talks about,” Jon says); and that he’s got an excellent bottle of tequila on hand in case of emergencies. The best-seller so far (Jon’s cooking at Sole East through August 18): the cayenne-dusted fried hominy with lime, followed by the balsamic barbecued ribs, which are “selling off the Richter scale.” My favorite dish: the insane foie gras loco moco, which is based on a Hawaiian surf dish and includes the foie, a Niman Ranch burger, Spam, Carolina gold rice, homemade teriyaki sauce, foie gras jus and Sriracha chile sauce, all topped with a fried egg. Here’s the only upside to eating Animal food and then heading home instead of to a sweet Hamptons beach: There’s no way you want to put on a bathing suit after foie gras loco moco.