Thursday, February 11, 2010

HFF Quickie: The Lazy Ox Canteen

There's a certain category of restaurant that is under-appreciated. It's a restaurant where you can go for any purpose: on a date to have a fun time trying a bunch of different menu items; with your parents for a nice dinner where you leave sated; or alone at the bar for a late night snack and a glass of wine without shelling out too much $$.

I like restaurants where you can basically decide for yourself how much you want to pay, where portions are generally commensurate with price, where you can spend $25 on a late night bite for one or spend $150 on a splurge for two.

Little Tokyo's Lazy Ox Canteen, the newest addition to my 'hood, is just that place. The menu's an eclectic mix of Asian-tinged Cal-Med divided into three categories that can be roughly translated into "small appetizers," "large appetizers," and "small entrees," but that would be a very 2009 way of thinking about the menu. In reality it's a gently sloping curve of diverse deliciousness starting at $4 for a plate of house-made pickles on up to $25 for steak frites (or $42 for the steak for two on the specials menu). Which brings up the extensive chalkboard specials menu (easily visible in the hip but modest dining room) which serves to effectively double the size of the printed menu with a broad assortment of limited and seasonal selections.

The food has all been good to great, particular highlights were cauliflower gratin, slow-cooked pork shoulder, creamy farro, hand-torn egg pasta with egg & brown butter, and an awesomely retardedly good rice pudding with burnt caramel for dessert.

On the beverage front, Lazy Ox has a big well-priced wine list that is as eclectic as the menu, featuring that most endangered of all species, the $6 glass of wine at an upscale LA restaurant. In terms of beer Lazy Ox has a very nice selection of drafts and bottles, with a particular emphasis on Japanese beers and California micro-brews.

With a broad mixed-price menu, good fairly priced drinks (wines by the bottle are half-price on Mondays) and all day hours (11AM-3PM for lunch, 5PM-12AM for dinner), is Lazy Ox the perfect place for a nice but casual dinner in Downtown?

Pretty damn close.

The Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, Ca 90012

No comments: