Danilo opened the scoring in the third minute for Forest, who went down 2-1 before Chris Wood brought Nuno Espirito Santo's men level with 22 minutes to play.
That ends a nice run of back-to-back Premier League wins for Forest, who are now dealing with Premier League charges for financial breaches. Their 20 points are good for 16th place, four points above the bottom three.
Brentford moves onto 22 points, 14th on the table.
Bees look back
Brentford with Ivan Toney is better than Brentford without Ivan Toney. That's no surprise.
And given the club's injury list this season, with Bryan Mbeumo out while Toney served his suspension, it's easy to re-imagine the club's fortunes with their center forward back in the fold.
The Bees entered the game with the fourth-best expected goals against total in the Premier League, and just hadn't been bailed out by new goalkeeper Mark Flekken the way departed David Raya did so many times last season.
Flekken's -7.7 post-shot xG minus goals allowed is the worst in the PL, and it's fair to say that should the keeper adjust a bit while Brentford scores more — something likely to happen as long as Toney's in red, white, and black — the Bees will not be anywhere near the bottom three with Frank at the helm.
Toney draws discussion with pre-free kick antics
It must be noted that Toney's return to the score sheet got a little help from his creativity. That would be called cheating by some.
Toney moved the ball and the magic spray about a yard while the referee tended to the Forest wall.
His free kick swam just around the edge of the wall set up by Ryan Yates and the Tricky Trees, and there's no guarantee he could've had the same swerve without his ball manipulation.
Brentford's life gets tougher, with Tottenham away on Jan. 31 and Man City at home on Feb. 5.
Brentford vs Nottingham Forest updates, final score: 3-2
Goal: Danilo (3'), Toney (20'), Mee (58'), Wood (65'), Maupay (69')
Brentford vs Nottingham Forest player ratings
Neal Maupay goal (video): Sensational control, finish to retake lead
What a game!
Neal Maupay's first touch of a cross is sensational and his finish has matching quality.
Zipped across his body and inside the far post, the Bees are back on top!
Chris Wood goal (video): Two play that game
It's not a set piece, but this goal looks a lot like Mee's goal seven minutes prior.
Callum Hudson-Odoi serves up a pretty cross and red-hot Chris Wood bulls his way to the near post to turn a header home.
Ben Mee goal (video)
2-1 to the Bees.
Brentford vs Nottingham Forest halftime score, analysis: 1-1
The hosts should be in front behind an Ivan Toney brace, but he hit the bottom of the bar with his second chance of the game.
There have been 11 shot attempts in the game, with Forest taking six and putting two on target and possession split pretty evenly.
Brentford is finding more danger and have won four corner kicks, with Vitaly Janelt rather influential after playing a rough role in Forest's opener.
All three points very much on the table in London.
Ivan Toney free kick goal!
What a return!
Wearing the captain's arm band, Ivan Toney presides over a free kick on his return from a 250-plus day wait to return to the pitch.
He snaps a 20-yard offering low and through the weak Forest wall, leaving goalkeeper Matt Turner out to dry and leveling the score.
Danilo goal (video)
Vitaly Janelt's less-than-ideal clearance and Ben Mee's attempts to rectify it conspire to set Forest in a fine position to open the scoring inside of three minutes. Danilo doesn't miss his shot. 1-0, Tricky Trees!
How to watch Brentford vs Nottingham Forest live stream online, start time
Kickoff: 12:30pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) January 20, 2024
Nottingham Forest lineup
Focus on Brentford, team news
The Bees aren't at full strength — not at all. Ivan Toney could return, and Krisoffer Ajer could also get back in the team. Ben Mee, Bryan Mbeumo, Rico Henry and a trio of AFCON participants headlned by Yoane Wissa make for a big ask of the rest of the squad.
Focus on Nottingham Forest, team news
This is a long and troubling list, as injuries to Taiwo Awoniyi and Felipe had complicated Forest's season and there are a wealth of players at Africa Cup of Nations. Not small ones, either, as Ibrahim Sangare, Cheikhou Kouyate, Moussa Niakhate, Ola Aina, Serge Aurier, and Willy Boly are away from the club. Hopefully, Anthony Elanga and Divock Origi are fit to play.