Changes at Lazy Ox
- Porthos Mar 26, 2012 06:53 PM
For me, this could be a welcome change. The new chef's resume is quite impressive...
Very excited too after being disappointed with Lazy Ox. I think the food might finally be a match for the hype.
I think I saw Ciao Bob across the restaurant, but never got a chance to say hi, because my friend and I were in a corner and then had to rush out. I'll be interested in his take on the food. Here are a few thoughts.
Overall, I thought the food was enjoyable, but nothing completely blew me away. Service was excellent and we really appreciated that the restaurant took it on itself to address a few shortcomings.
Now for the food.
The first item we received was the roasted Japanese eggplant with bonito flakes and yuzu kosho crème fraîche. I had seen this on the Zagat blog and was very intrigued. The first surprise was that the eggplant is not hot. The second surprise was that my first piece (of four on the disk) was hard. The eggplant did not seem like it had been cooked through. The same with my friend's first piece. We both thought it was meh. However, the other pieces on the plate were cooked through, so the eggplant was soft. It completely changed the dish. The texture meshed with the creme fraiche, which had a slight tang and the funk of the bonito flakes was a nice contrast.
I mentioned to the waiter that it was odd that the eggplant pieces were cooked so differently and he said he would tell the kitchen. Later on, we received a new order, with each peace cooked until soft. They were perfect and probably the best item we had. My friend was really wowed by the second plate.
Second item was the boca bits with curry yogurt. I expected the boca bits to have more of a pork flavor. Instead, it was mostly just fried bits. However, I loved the curry yogurt, which came on the side for dipping. That made the dish.
Third dish was bone marrow with some type of cream and smelt egg. We got this because my friend had never tried bone marrow, but it was nothing like I expected. The bone was sliced in half, laid sideways, and had bits of cooked marrow under the cream and smelt eggs. The marrow came with warm bread. It was very good, and my friend loved it. My only nits were that the bone marrow seemed to get lost in the dish and the middle of the bone suddenly got very salty.
Fourth, we received the huevo "Arzak" with French fry purée and chorizo oil. Now I love egg dishes, particularly poached egg dishes, so I was very intrigued by this. When it came out, it had a layer of carmelized onions under pureed potato, some type of cooked green, and the poached sitting on top. The also looked like bits of bacon, which were probably the chorizo oil, but they didn't have a very strong flavor. Overall, I liked the dish. The egg was cooked perfectly and added a wonderful richness to the potatoes. The texture reminded me of a very creamy risotto. But I wished there was something to lend a little oomph flavorwise to the dish. Maybe stronger chorizo. This dish comes with an option of adding truffles and that also might have worked.
Fifth, our final savory dish, was grilled octopus with green apple, kale, radish, & sour paprika oil. My friend was not a big fan of the octopus, but it was cooked wonderfully. The octopus itself didn't have much taste, but the rest of the flavors mixed well. The apples added a contrasting note that worked well.
I should note that I've never bought into the hype of Laxy Ox, and didn't go in expecting a spectacular meal. (I think Laxy Ox has suffered due to the timing of its opening and the inevitable comparisons with Animal. It's not nearly at that level.) For what it was, however, I enjoyed it and am sure I'll go back. I'll also add that my friend was more wowed by the meal than I was.
We finished with a butterscotch pudding which, while not as transcendent as Pizzeria Mozza's butterscotch budino, was excellent. The light butterscotch pudding is topped with a layer of soft caramel, a hazelnut wafer, and whipped cream. We enjoyed it.
For drinks, I stuck to iced tea (since I'm not allowed to drink right now) and my friend had a happy hour glass of wine, which she thought was terrible, and then had two glasses of a Malbec. The server charged one of the Malbec's at the happy hour prices.
Total for two before tax and tip was $79.
Just went tonight as well. Did you guys try that INCREDIBLE PAELLA VALENCIANA?!
Turns out that new Lazy Ox Chef Perfecto Rocher also happens to be a 3rd generation paellero from Catalunya. His rice is completely and deliciously legit. Great soccarat. As good as I've had in Spain. I almost cried when I ate it.
Can it be?! Finally - A L.A. restaurant paella that bests La Espanola's? Yes, I believe so.
"Paella Week" at Lazy Ox lasts til this coming Sunday at Lazy Ox. They're featuring a different paella every day until then. I think I'll just camp out there this week.
I loved the paella, but I think purists will not; I am no expert but it is seemed like a modern take -- not a traditional saffron deal with blackened rice at the bottom. But very, very tasy. Fava beans, rabbit, chicken, mmmmmmmm! And the rice was lovely as J.L. says. We had alot of good and some so-so, much like Jwsel experienced. One dish was fairly lousy, a cabbage salad. The LOC Chicken was miniscule and dry.