Lazy Ox does not disappoint. It’s not perfect, but it’s one of the city’s most interesting restaurants right now, and if Josef Centeno really does have hype, he’s living up to it.
One could get out of there without spending too much money, which makes it a good choice for most everyone, but chances are you’ll get overstimulated by the options and just go to town on the ordering anyway. I went there twice and shared in about 18 dishes.
The menu changes all the time, and not everything is equally inspired, it’s true. (I’d skip the potatoes with lemon and goat cheese if they show up again, and why is everyone frittering brandade when it’s so much better left alone?)
There are some repeat items from Lot 1, like the nearly heavenly paleron (fancy French name for a shoulder cut) with Cream of Wheat, and preserved kumquats to cut the richness. The egg pasta returns as well, though much improved here: the old version had some unusual seasoning issues, but at Lazy Ox it’s pure comfort.
The Merguez sausage dish is a standout. I don’t normally enjoy tubed meats, but it is made in-house here, and the root vegetables and apples on which it rests were only slightly, delightfully vinegary. It looked German, but tastewise didn’t remind me at all of (gag) sauerkraut or choucroute garnie.
It seems as though Centeno does his best work with Asian-inspired seafood preparations: tuna belly, yellowtail, and octopus in various presentations were all highlights. I believe the proteins often stay the same while the accoutrements change; who knows what will be whipped up on any given night.
Angelenos: get some.