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Lazy Ox Canteen Opens in Little Tokyo

By Shawn Shahani
Published: Friday, December 18, 2009, at 10:42AM
Lazy Ox Canteen [Flickr]

Chef Josef Centeno made his return to the kitchen this week with yesterday's opening of the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo. Located beneath San Pedro and 2nd's Sakura Crossing Lofts, it's the type of high-profile opening that has recently eluded Little Tokyo in favor of other downtown neighborhoods. Owner Michael Cardenas wouldn't have it any other way.

"Born and raised in Japan, I've got a sentimental side for Little Tokyo," Cardenas said, adding that the neighborhood already "has been really receptive" to the restaurant.

While you won't see any of Centeno's signature bäcos just yet, the ever-changing menu does feature an eclectic mix of global cuisines. While the variety might seem like it's literally all over the map (delicious kennebec frites to spicy brick-roasted mussels), the menu and the casual but impressive decor are designed to encourage diners to share with their company. Smaller courses are all under $15 while all entrees like the highly recommended seared branzino or braised beef paleron range from $19 to $25.

For libations, 12 craft beers are on tap and a comparable amount of bottled choices are available. This being in Little Tokyo, there are also eight sake and shochu selections. However, most impressive is the wine list, which is not only expansive, but almost exclusively features imports from around the word for under $40.

Much of the produce is locally grown, brought in from Temecula farms, and a server's father actually grows many of the vegetables used. Despite boasting 60 seats, the casual arrangements make for a more familial experience. Cardenas loves the area so much that he let slip that he has plans to open up a Japanese restaurant next door.

The Lazy Ox Canteen will only be open for dinner hours as of now, but a 5 - 7pm happy hour will soon go live and breakfast and lunch hours will be rolled out as early as January. The ultimate goal, however, is to stay open until 3 a.m. Street parking after 6 p.m. is free.

Lazy Ox Canteen / 241 S. San Pedro St. / 213-626-5299 / 5pm - 12am


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