The Lunch Quest Continues

Posted by Glenn Gritzner on January 29, 2010

Hello Enthusiasts –

I was tempted to write about my recent 40 Hours of 40 bash, but that felt self-indulgent. Suffice it to say that it was a blast, and an epic way to celebrate a milestone. By the time the 40 hours were up, turning 40 seemed like nothing! If you celebrated with me, thanks – and I hope you had a blast.

Today, though, I’ll go back to my quest to eat everywhere there is to eat lunch Downtown. No, I haven’t given it up – it just seems boring to write about it every week. But the journey is fun, and I like writing about finds.

So this week takes us to the Lazy Ox Canteen. Here’s what I love about the Lazy Ox, and what it says about Downtown: the chef is a known quantity, Josef Centeno, who used to cook at Lot 1 Cafe, Opus, and Meson G. He could cook on the Westside, Hollywood, or probably most anywhere else. He cooks interesting, and even challenging food (pigs ears, fried quail, or charred octopus, anyone?), and foodies will search him out. So where did he go? San Pedro, between 2nd and 3rd. Little Tokyo. Wow.

Lazy Ox fits squarely into the burgeoning “gastropub” category. A nice selection of small plates, interesting beers, a good wine list, and reasonable prices. This is the best photo of the interior I could find, but it’s a comfortable place.

And don’t let the litany of “strange” food above mislead you. They also have more approachable stuff, and nice “middle ground” food like pork belly rillette or braised oxtail pasta. “Middle ground” meaning that it’s not your usual fare, but you don’t have to be Andrew Zimmern to order it. Yes, the portions are a little small, but that’s the point – be adventurous and try a few things.

This place gets packed at night, and has a great happy hour with lots of $5 food and beer options. But you don’t have to brave the crowds. Go at lunch, like I did. What’s great about incongruous places like this – what is this gastropub with interesting food doing in Little Tokyo? – is that the hipsters and foodies pack them at night, but the business and government types don’t know enough to find them during the day. So you’ll have great, attentive service, you can try most of the food (some of it is dinner only, but you’ll have plenty to choose from), and what the heck – try an interesting beer. I mean, it IS Friday.

Stay safe and happy travels.

Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S San Pedro
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-5299
www.lazyoxcanteen.com