Pre-Theater Dining Downtown: The Laxy Ox Canteen Keeps Getting BetterJun 16 2010 · 2 comments · Beer, Burgers, Downtown LA, Restaurant Reviews
Just last weekend, we hit up The Lazy Ox Canteen before going to see the weirdly fantastic play 1951-2006 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. This was the first time I’ve ever eaten by sunlight at The Lazy Ox because usually I’m taking advantage of their much-welcomed late night service (they beat The York by an hour and a half, serving their full menu until midnight thurs-sat), so it felt like a whole new experience.
The time-of-day aspect was only part of it, though. Since opening late last year, their food has gotten progressively better. Not to say that it hasn’t always been good, but while I’ve been blown away by the vibe and beer list, foodwise I’ve rarely been blown away by anything but the burger. I’ve often felt that the concepts were a little ahead of the actual execution in some of the dishes.
That was not the case this last time. All the flavors were so right on, and I was very impressed—I tried all new things, minus the burger, which is a must every time. I know it’s been described on every food blog in LA, but good grief, it’s so damn good. I love that the short rib/sirloin patty is served nearly raw in the center, so that it gets all mushed up with the smooth, butter Carmody cheese and aioli. And then the butter lettuce adds a contrasting crisp coldness. I’ve heard some smack about the bun being too thick, but I’ve got no problem with it because it keeps that marvelous mess under control.
But wait, what was I talking about? Oh, that’s right, the new stuff I tried…
First up were these Ricotta Fritters. My goodness. I mean, of course, it’s fried cheese, and fried cheese is always good, but these were so fluffy and the fact that they were sitting so delicately in honey gave them oomph I didn’t expect. You could hear the slight crunch when you bit into one.
The fried pompano was really fantastic. It’s butterflied , fried whole, and then laid on some coleslaw and garnished with a slice of lime, which I drained without mercy. The sauce is the same smoky-flavored pico de gallo aioli they give you for the fries, so you can imagine.
Marinated yellowtail and hashbrowns with a dollop of crème fraiche. It was so good, I forgot to take the picture until midway through…notice that the browns, which are very latke-like in consistency (very appropriate with the crème fresh) are almost all gone. We couldn’t even ration them out, they were so delicious.
Tip: Try to stagger your orders at The Lazy Ox because the plates tend to come out too quickly, and it’s a bummer to have to rush though one to make sure the next isn’t getting cold. Even if you order all at once and ask them to space them out, it won’t help. They’ll still come out a breakneck speed.