The Big Boys: Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo
[Son of a Gun, Animal]
Photograph courtesy caaspeakers.com
Why We Picked Them: In the time since they opened Animal four years ago, the dudes who pioneered the bacon chocolate bar have progressed—a lot. They’re on the front lines of the foie gras battle, unifiers of the local chef community, and proof that nose-to-tail is not a fad. Once, we might have chuckled if you told us the city’s most carnivorous chefs would launch a fish joint. But Shook and Dotolo have widened their range with Son of a Gun, where they have us as excited about their halibut pho and grilled spot prawns as we’ve been about their oxtail poutine and barbecued pork belly. Evolutionary Theory: Dotolo: “Healthy growth doesn’t happen overnight. It comes from knowing where you are and where you want to go. You also need to be willing to make mistakes.” Shook: “In order to stay good, a restaurant—even a great restaurant—has to evolve. Not only have I grown as a chef, I’ve grown as a person, which has made my food and my leadership more mature. Also, with Frank Anderson, our chef de cuisine at Son of a Gun, it feels like it’s more than just Vinny and me steering the ship for the first time.” » Animal: 435 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove, animalrestaurant.com. Son of a Gun: 8370 W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove.