Animo - Sonoma, CA

excellent dinner at animo. came for the turbot but was really surprised by how great everything else was too. will be back to try the meats.

oysters, east coast

lobster xo - butter poached lobster, xo sauce, shiitake lemongrass tea

peaches & cream - grilled peaches, burrata, pickled ramps

gambas al ajillo - gulf prawns, roasted garlic, olive oil

turbot (galicia, spain)

little gem salad

katz’s pastrami kimchi fried rice

basque style burnt cheesecake


How much Basque influence was there?

The whole grilled turbot is Basque-style, as is the grill.

You can certainly get gambas al ajillo in Basque country (and probably should), but it’s popular all over Spain.

People call that “Basque cheesecake,” but to give credit where it’s due it’s the invention of Santiago Rivera, chef of La Viña. He’s only 61 so it’s a relatively recent addition to the tradition.

missed out on the carabineros

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It looks it!

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Finally made it here. Funny how close to invisible the place is.

It’s apple season, but the server said it’s always apples.

Txakolina was a good match for the food. Pretty steep markup at $75.

Half the mushrooms. I kept digging in before remembering to take photos. The server said the foam was sweet onion, which waisn’t mentioned on the menu. I thought maybe there was some apple. Delicious and very light.

Less than half the lobster. XO sauce was great, barely spicy if at all. Great dish. Again very light. These were true appetizers in the sense that they left us hungrier.

Turbot was fabulous. The salty skin worked like a condiment for the underseasoned meat. Crisp bony fins on the edge were a treat. The chef’s kind of a joker so I don’t know whether to believe that he’s never been to Spain, learned the dish from YouTube.

I’m sure I took photos of the kiimchi fried rice and potatoes but they’re not on my phone. The rice was great but didn’t really make much sense with the turbot. The pastrami was house-made from Knights Valley wagyu though the chef said they’ll go back to Katz when it runs out. Potatoes were a good match. Took most of both home.

Excellent version of Rivera’s cheesecake. Distinctly salty. Cream was good but gilding the lily. Poached apple? pear? didn’t have much flavor.

Great restaurant, I love their style. Looking forward to going back with more people.


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