Gastropubs (bars that serves high quality fresh and seasonal cuisine) are popping up all over LA. The best Gastropub, and one of my favorite restaurants in the City overall, is Lazy Ox Canteen. It’s located downtown in Little Tokyo and if you don’t live there, it’s definitely worth the drive. The atmosphere is dark, boisterous and urban. Minimal and cozy at the same time. The bar is stocked with great craft beers and esoteric wines. The food, which is mostly small plates, is across-the-board excellent and some dishes I would say are perfection.
Like most Gastropubs, Lazy Ox Canteen has a nice selection of gourmet fried foods. The Pig Ear “Chicharon” (sliced and fried pig ears) with Radish Salad and Yuzu Aioli is a must-have. The Crispy Surf Clams with Caper and Pickle Aioli, which is seasoned to perfection, is also a dish you want to make sure to order. The many non-fried items on the menu are equally delicious and inventive. If available, definitely order the Poblano Soup with Grapes & Crispy Pork Belly and either the Dashi Marinated Yellowtail with Avocado, Hash Brown & Tonburi or Yellowtail Crudo with Szechuan, Mint & Celeriac. I also love the Caramelized Cauliflower with Pine Nuts, Chile Flake & Mint. The menu (much of which are blackboard specials) changes often so there is always something new to try. Don’t forget to order their excellent Rice Pudding for dessert.
Lazy Ox Canteen is located at 241 South San Pedro Street in Los Angeles (Downtown/Little Tokyo). UPDATE: Lazy Ox Canteen has unfortunately closed. It will be missed.