Lazy Ox - Review
I'm always reticent to review a place based off one meal - but I happened to go to Lazy Ox twice in three days and thought I would write a review while I still have reasonable recall of the experience
First, the beverages. I like their wine list. It's affordable and presents some good options. Had a good '03 crianza and a decent pinot noir. The beers are whole 'nother matter. Nearly everything on tap is Belgian - which isn't a great match for their cuisine. I had asked if there was anything that would surprise me on tap. The nice bartender (I ate at the bar) poured me samples of three very straightforward Belgian (or belgian-style) beers. When I inquired about a low alcohol Belgian she just poured me a full glass of it - without mentioning that it was essentially a lambic. Understandably, I think she was annoyed that she poured three samples and I wasn't into any of them but a pro would cover up her discontent in service of the tip. So on the beer-front the lack of knowledge on the bartender's part coupled with the lame-o Belgian-centric tap choices was a bummer. On the plus side they had a very good selection of bottled japanese beers. Yebisu is a nice value at $7 and I did have a very good $12 Japanese IPA - Ozeno Yokidoke - not sure I'd have it again given the price though.
On to the food:
Pig Ears - Similar to, but way better than, Animal's. They are cut much thicker and you can really enjoy the texture difference of crispy/fatty. Served with an aoili and a side of thin sliced radishes and pickles. The pickles reminded my of McDonald's pickles- in a good way. A+
Lamb Neck Hash - A roasted crispy hunk of lamb with quinoa with a fried egg on top. Great. A
Bone marrow Salad - little slivers of marrow fried and served over microgreens. Good but not great. Would have much preferred a roasted bone and a spoon. B+
Boquerones - surprising how they could screw this up. I love these little fish. But they fried them which totally ruined the slippery cold vinegary texture they should have. Also served with honey and aioli. F
Squash Blossoms - Fried with honey and aoli. Good but not great. Small portion - two blossoms. C+
Maitake and Hen Mushrooms with Beets - done in a buerre blanc-ish sauce. The roasted beets were the best part. Well-balanced but maybe the sauce overpowered the mushrooms just a bit. A teeny tiny portion though. B
Brick Roasted Tomatoes with Burrata - little cherry tomatoes roasted with burrata. sweet, good but nothing to write home about. C+
Family Style Pasta with Pork Meatballs - Specials board did not mention that this was asian-style. Sweet sauce with little cubes of potato. Pork meatball was pretty quality. My gf (who just finished working in a resto in Seoul) hated it but since I generally avoid asian-style italian I thought it was an okay change of pace. B-
Cheese Plate - All Cowgirl Creamery. With some figs and quince. Pretty good actually but I can't recall the name of the one funky cheese that was excellent. A
In general, menu has some lazy aspects (should I expect this given the name?). There seems to be an over-reliance on frying things and serving them with saffron honey and aioli, Also, on the 2nd trip I went specifically for the family style fried chicken and called ahead and asked about both the chicken and the seating. The hostess told me to wait a bit if I wanted a table but when I got there around 45 mins. later they were out of the chicken. A warning would have been nice.
Atmosphere is nice but the layout is a little cramped. Feels like they could use something to break up the space a bit. Menu definitely has a POV, which I appreciate. I really like the fact that the specials menu is longer than the regular menu. Also, doing a different family style special each night is a great idea. While uneven in places, I have to say that this is among my very favorite downtown spots. Great for a casual meet up or date.
re: brian j
Slipped into the Laxy Ox on Saturday early (around 7) for what was supposed to be a quick bite before going out for the night. Managed to snag the last free spot at the bar. I instantly ordered a burger, but no drink as I just wanted to eat quickly and be on my way...
Well, unfortunately quickly wasn't in the cards. I waited patiently for a while. I didn't say anything to the bartender, as I wasn't necessarily in a rush. He apologized a few times for it taking so long. After around 45 minutes he brought over a complimentary appetizer of their fried ricotta balls with honey. Twas delicious and tided me over until my burger arrived another 15 or so minutes later... The place was busy, but not completely packed so not sure why my burger took so long. But I was patient and didn't hold it against them.
Finally my burger did arrive. It was cooked perfectly to medium rare. It's a thick patty on a nice brioche-esque bun. There was some cantal cheese on it and some lettuce. It's a great burger, but it was lacking something. The meat was good, but not overwhelmingly flavorful. I found myself applying a liberal amount of their flavored aiolis in order to add something. It might have just needed a bit of salt to help it along. Or maybe it needs bacon, but unfortunately that's not an option.
Nevertheless, I do like this spot, and look forward to trying more of their non-burger dishes...