Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Los Angeles: Lazy Ox Canteen

To live in Los Angeles and love food is to be spoiled. As an admirer, from one hundred and twenty five miles’ distance, the options and innovation, seem limitless, but at times so far away. But at those moments that we San Diegans endure submitting ourselves to L.A.’s traffic, we begin to realize that maybe the good food itself, is the cause of all the traffic.

For a couple of years now, DTLA’s small plates eatery The Lazy Ox Canteen has generated its own traffic - very little that’s new can be said about why this restaurant is so good. Located in a beneath a nondescript condominium complex in Little Tokyo, The Lazy Ox builds delicate yet rich New American dishes that are as tasty as they are stunning.

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Top, left to right: diners are met with lime and chile peanuts to wash down with a selection of craft beers. Bellwether farms ricotta fritters are served atop a smear of saba sauce and with saffron honey (7).

Below, left to right: Ricotta-filled fried squash blossoms. Delicate ribbons of hand torn pasta are bathed in meat ragu, and enriched with the yolky silk of a perfectly fried egg.

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Inside, Chef Josef Centeno’s Lazy Ox Canteen is a stark contrast to its sterile stuccoed storefront exterior: a dark, wood-panel polished that is both energetic and intimate.

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While Los Angeles’ gourmet burger business is ultra-competitive - they’ll soon also get their own Burger Lounge - the 8 oz lazy ox burger is a real contender, and one of the better burgers I’ve had in years. Served in a cushion of brioche, the LOC’s burger is a terrific marriage of hearty beefiness and a smoldering jolt of green peppercorn mustard. Wonderfully juicy, this burger is dressed with crisp red onions, lettuce and cantal cheese.

The Lazy Ox Canteen’s success is due in large part as much to the tavern’s casual atmosphere, as it is to Centeno’s nuanced play of subtle touches of sweetness with bold demonstration of the savory. Why is it Los Angeles won’t see our Burger Lounge and raise us a Lazy Ox? Until then, buckle up and prepare yourself for a whole lot of traffic.

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Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S. San Pedro St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
http://www.lazyoxcanteen.com/index.html

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