Yeah sure, it’s a gastropub in Little Tokyo, but doing their own thing isn’t a bad way to go.
Lemme tell you about my first experience at Lazy Ox, and see if you can guess how I feel about the place.
I kinda parachuted in. It was about 2pm. I wanted to try the place, and get a spot of lunch. Only thing is, they have to shut down the restaurant at around 2pm to configure it for Dinner Service. The Kitchen is small. That’s the reason.
No problem, have a seat. We’ll take care of you.
I decided not do anything fancy. They have an Ox Burger. Knowing what I know, I don’t want to stress the Kitchen too much. I place ye olde order, and wait for the magic happen.
But while I’m sitting there, I’m looking and…(yes!) they have a chalkboard menu. Oh, Lord. Look at what they’re offering:
Pork Belly, $12
Beef Bourguignon. Truffle mashed potato and broccoli, $36
Lamb Spare Sibs, $12
Southern style chicken and waffles, $36. Comes with mashed potatoes and cole slaw. (I’m going to go with my gut and trust a Little Tokyo place to handle this properly.)
Pork Rib Sandwich, $14
Oh yeah, I’m coming back here.
Anyway, Burger arrives. It’s lovely. It’s fine. But I’m still dreaming about what’s on the Chalkboard…available for Dinner.
So, figuring I owed them a Dinner, I came back in the next day. (Yeah, the next day.) Same guy at the door. He remembered me spot on. Couldn’t get me a table, but made sure I was comfortable at the bar.
If this is the sort of service I can expect, then the Lazy Ox is going to have a very, very loyal customer.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, you should get here for Dinner for one thing. If I made any mistake, it was coming here for Lunch.
Not that Lunch was bad. Believe me, it rocked. But sitting there, enjoying my Lunch…is when I saw that chalkboard. That luscious, delicious, holy good food Batman, chalkboard.
Okay, so let’s get down to it. The food. And there are two meals to judge here.
The Lazy Ox Burger is pretty damn good. I recall a joke Eddie Murphy made a long time ago about how kids wanted McDonalds and Mom would insist she could make just as good a burger at home, only it would come out this tall stacked monstrosity.
Well, the kids Eddie was talking about never how good they had it, because that’s kind of the burger the Lazy Ox is. It’s tall, a bit of chore to get it into your pie hole, but worth it. It’s not going to beat Umami anytime soon, but it’s still good.
The Beef Bourguignon was…intriguing. It wasn’t Beef Bourguignon in the traditional sense, because you know Beef Bourguignon is a basically a stew. Instead, what Lazy Ox did was reconstruct it a bit. The Beef comes to you as a smothered steak. Veggies are left to the sides and the steak sits atop a mountain of Truffle Potatoes. It can be a bit jarring to think about, but if you take a bite, it tastes just like Beef Bourguignon you know and love. It can take a minute to adjust, or more than a minute, but it’s good. Trust me.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Can’t say this enough. Gots to be mindful of that daily (and I mean DAILY) 2:30pm to 5:00pm closure. I don’t think they’d be doing if it they didn’t have to reconfigure their Kitchen for the Dinner Menu. (It’s a small kitchen). Other than that, have at it.
PARKING: Typical of most Little Tokyo Joints. You’re at the mercy of the many many Paid Parking Lots and Garages in the Area. There’s nothing particularly close to the Lazy Ox, so a couple block walk may be in order. In the past, I have parked (as I usually do) over at Japanese Village and hoof it from there. That’ll run you about $7.00.
Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 626-5299
Monday-Sunday: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Sunday-Thursday: 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Friday-Saturday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm