I can’t remember a restaurant before Lazy Ox Canteen that received so much positive press at its inception. It popped up on Twitter, food blogs, and will already be participating in Dine LA restaurant Week and it is only a few days past its month birthday. Perhaps it is because the Marketing Maven herself, Miss Sauce LA, has helped on the social media and press side. Although if she brought them in it is the amazing food that kept the positive press coming. We tried the Lazy Ox last Tuesday in a separate yet together way. Josie was working late, so only I was available for the Happy Hour meet-up/tweet-up/tw(eat)-up with The Minty, A.K., DJ Jewelz, and the climbing couple I met at Dim Sum (Climbing Dancer and Climbin Chiro). I arrived and there was already a ton of food on the bar. I starting grabbing and asked questions later and took photos later. Check the Minty’s post on the night to know what I really sampled. I also was ordering from the main menu as opposed to the HH menu simply because it was what was in front of me. The thing of the HH menu I loved was the $3 wine and the papas bravas. I also liked the light ricotta on bread. I sat by the infamus A.K. who encouraged my ordering of everything and made me instant friends with the awesome bartender, Eric.
I ordered the cod brandade fritters, which were incredible. I am not a mashed potatoes fan due to the consistency, but when that consistency is made of salted cod and cream, I am in heaven. I first ate brandade in Paris and it is now the dish I always order whenever it is a menu option. This was the first time I have had the concoction made into a ball and fried and mixed with yuzu. It was heaven and proves that the Japanese and Mediterranean fusion that they are going for works, and works beautifully.
An interesting dish that A.K. and I felt we had to try was the razor clams. Our new favorite bartender, Eric, told us that they are a rarity because they could only be harvested after a full moon. We tried them, liked them, but weren’t crazy about the consistency. It seemed too rubbery. A.K. is a public defender and I am Jewish women and long time feminist meaning that we both speak our mind to get what we want. I asked if it could be served raw and A.K. asked the chef. He was the great Josef Centeno, who is a legendary chef in both LA and the Bay Area. Lazy Ox has an open kitchen and A.K. was the UG of the night, after a few glasses of wine she simply walked over and asked. She came back to the bar saying that he said it would have the consistency of goosefish, so it wasn’t a good idea. She felt bad for having asked but then 15 minutes later a razor clam ceviche was placed in front of us. It was excellent and I loved that he wasn’t offended and took the time to let us try what we desired. Other dishes ordered were the pig ears, which needed to be consumed while hot. The first bite was good, but then I got so busy running my mouth with a friend that just happened to stumble in to the canteen that the later colder bites paled in comparison. I am a choke head and a girl that loves fruity elements in all food so I loved the farro grain with sunchoke, pomegranate and pesto. Another good dish was the beef tartare, which had something I had never seen before a quail egg on top instead of a chicken egg.
At some point in the night DJ Jewelz said he was disappointed that we didn’t try the Baco. A.K. and I shared a glance and then gave him attitude for not telling us this until several plates in. We all started chanting, “Baco! Baco! Baco!” My friend that randomly joined us at the bar was shocked at this group of drinkers, eaters, and cheerers. Perhaps he didn’t get the memo/Tweet that we are all Food Ballers. Let me explain the baco, it is like a huarache or a gyro that has fried pork belly, arugula, and pickled onions. I was full by the time the baco arrived so was only able to eat half. I gave the other half to a friend and then later said how I could just eat an entire plate of those pickled onions. Erik, our go-to guy of the night, said that the Chef loves to pickle which made me love him and his food even more. My friend, Kevin, who was eating the rest of my baco said, “Funny, I didn’t get any pickled onions.” Perhaps that is because I picked them all off.
Josie, didn’t get off work until after 7 and showed up sometime after then. The bar was packed and we were figuring out a very pricey bill. Josie missed HH but got one of her favorite beers, an Old Rasputin, and got a table. I told her she must get the beef tartare, as she can’t have my seafood faves, and the baco. Sadly, for her, they were out of baco. She ordered some more bites that I tried like the very buttery hand-torn egg pasta and more. It was good but her prices weren’t at the early happy hour price level. Anyway, we will go back as a duo to do more sampling but I was very impressed. When it comes to Lazy Ox, remember the 3 Bs: Brandade fritters, Baco, and the great Bartender Eric who will give you a ton of great recommendations and beverages. Here he is sandwiched between me and my second-in-line partner in crime, A.K.!
FYI: I read on the Rundown today that starting this week brunch and lunch will be served. The Lazy Ox is hard at work bringing you great quality food!