Lazy Ox Canteen – 4/9/10

Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S San Pedro
Los Angeles, CA 90012

exterior 500x335 Lazy Ox Canteen   4/9/10
Lazy Ox Canteen has been a pretty hot restaurant since it opened up a few of months ago. The reviews have been very good, especially from LA Times critic S. Irene Virbila and her three-star review. In it, she had a lot of praise, even boldly proclaiming the “Ox burger, which, to my mind, is now the best burger in town.”

I’ve been three times, and they’ve all been very good. Today, thanks to the tremendous line outside Daikokuya, I came again. Unfortunately, this fourth visit was easily the least pleasing of all of my visits. It wasn’t so much due to the food or service, but their lunch menu is very limited. The chalkboard specials, which comprise most of the available dishes on a given night, are not available. Thus, only the basic lunch menu is available, offering three entrees (one of which was the pork frites, which they were out of).

brick roasted mussels with basil, white wine, house made sriracha & french feta

mussels 500x335 Lazy Ox Canteen   4/9/10

A small portion here, but the mussels were as plump and juicy as the clams had been on my last visit. Some of the best I’ve had in LA. The sauce was nice and a little spicy due to the housemade sriracha.

Lazy Ox Burger

fries 500x335 Lazy Ox Canteen   4/9/10

The burger comes with fries, tossed in fresh herbs and salt. Good. Not great, but good.

burger 500x335 Lazy Ox Canteen   4/9/10

The burger here is beautiful. It’s a great lunch portion as it’s somewhat petite. The meat here was cooked a nice medium-rare all around, topped with arugula, red onions, housemade aioli and carmody cheese. While I probably haven’t tried enough burgers in LA to say which is best – this is definitely a good variation. I might prefer the Father’s Office burger, however.

Other dishes I have enjoyed here on other visits include the salt cod brandade croquette, dashi marinated yellowtail, hand-torn egg pasta, and pork frites (exceptional).

Service has just been ‘okay’ on most of my visits.  Even somewhat mediocre when it gets busy, which is unfortunate. I will definitely be back here, as I am a fan, but probably not for lunch anytime soon.

Bottega Louie – 2/26/10

Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017

 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

Bottega Louie has been extremely popular since it opened up almost a year ago, just recently being called a “Best New Restaurant 2009″ by many publications, including Los Angeles Magazine. This is a large restaurant, and the lines can be hours long, a testament to the popularity of the establishment. So what’s the draw? It’s trendy, has a nice decor, and offers a menu with a wide array of dishes. And of course, the food is good too. It keeps within a fine balance, being both a nice and casual restaurant, housing people dressed to go out, and people in a t-shirt and shorts.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also contains a marketplace, bar, and patisserie on their own. The pastries offered is seemingly endless with many different cakes, tarts, breads, cookies and candies available for purchase.

marketplace1 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

Cupcakes, macarons, croissants, as well.marketplace2 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

The decor is minimal. High ceilings, white walls with gold trim, and large windows letting in a lot of natural light. It’s lunchtime, and a line has already started to form.interior1 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

The exposed kitchen is towards the front of the establishment. I love being able to see the kitchen at work.kitchen Bottega Louie   2/26/10

The menu is wide-ranging Italian with salads, soups, pastas, pizzas and a large selection of ‘small plates’ and various entrees. Click on the image for a larger version.bottega menu Bottega Louie   2/26/10

We were told by the server that the portobello fries are one of the most popular items on the menu, so we had to give them a try.portobello fries Bottega Louie   2/26/10

Although I really don’t like mushrooms too much, these were pretty good. The portobello was battered, fried, and tossed with herbs and parmesan cheese.

Next up, the sausage pizza. Earlier in the week, I had read an article from someone who claimed that Bottega Louie had the best pizza in the city. The pizza was wonderful, and pretty authentic Neapolitan. It had a light, thin crust, a tangy and sweet tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and a delicious fennel sausage. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was a little wet towards the middle of the pizza. Potentially the best pizza I had all week, and I had Mozza this week.

pizza1 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

pizza2 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

Mussels and claims in a white wine broth. A very generous portion here, with some nice crusty bread to sop up the broth. The seafood was very fresh, and the broth was delicious as well.

clams and mussels Bottega Louie   2/26/10

10-layered Lasagna with a lamb and veal bolognese. I like a lot of noodle in my lasagna, so when I heard “10 layers,” I was totally on it. However, this dish was just okay. There was probably just too much noodle, and not enough meat and cheese for me . Another generous portion.

lasagna Bottega Louie   2/26/10

Although we were quite full, we weren’t leaving without the souffle. It’s a chocolate souffle, made-to-order, with a side of creme anglaise. To me, there aren’t made dessert combinations better than chocolate-vanilla, and hot-cold. This is a really good souffle.

souffle1 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

souffle2 Bottega Louie   2/26/10

I had a very pleasant experience at Bottega Louie, and could easily see why it’s so popular. The first time I came, the service was rather mediocre, and they knew it (complimentary dessert came at the end). However, that was when they first opened, and they’ve really streamlined the process. While I think some of the dishes can be hit-or-miss, as there’s just so many options on the menu, there are probably more ‘hits’ than ‘misses.’ I’d definitely just come back for the pizza.