In my travels to mini urban artsy meccas (i.e. Portland, Seattle), I have always been impressed with the food scene…modern bistros with a neighborhood vibe and sensational cooking. Because of the vastness of LA, we sometimes lack that community feel, even in our towns within our towns. Enter Lazy Ox Canteen in Downtown L.A. Somehow, even positioned a few blocks from Skid Row, it has managed to create the exact feel that could be played out perfectly in a romantic comedy. Cue The Holiday score by Hans Zimmer.
Dimly lit, and chatter in full swing, my husband and I scored a lovely table for two tucked away in the front corner, with a view of the entire restaurant on one end and the patio on the other. Giddy with high expectations, our waiter arrived and blew our high hopes out of the water, recommending a “gorgeous” Viognier (not on the menu). I love a waiter who is as excited about my dining experience as I am about my dining experience. Rare. Awesome.
But, Lazy Ox is not just smoke and mirrors. The food! The food! Perfect for sharing (for two), the menu changes depending on available ingredients. We started with the Abalone (divine) and then moved on to the Dashi Marinated Yellowtail (zesty) before our main course of Roasted Sea Bream (good, but could have skipped even with the table side fillet service). But, the Brick Roasted Mussels with grilled bread…if I could bathe in a big ole tub of that basil, white wine and house made sriracha, I would. And I’d stay there for eternity. It was THAT good.
The great thing about sharing is that it most always leaves room for something sweeter. Having done my research, I knew to order the Rice Pudding with Carmel Sauce the minute I arrived (apparently, this can go fast), so my mouth was ready and watering when it arrived. Now I know what I would have missed. And it would not have been pretty.
Thankfully, we’re not living in a tragedy here.
Lazy Ox Canteen. 241 S. San Pedro Street. Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles. 213-626-5299