Construction is moving along nicely at the Lazy Ox Canteen, Josef Centeno and Michael Cardenas' new project in the Sakura Crossing building in Little Tokyo. Centeno, who previously cooked at Lot 1, Opus and Meson G, says that the concrete is being poured on Monday and the restaurant will open November 23, "if not sooner." Lazy Ox Canteen ("we partnered in the year of the Ox") will have 58 seats inside, 18 seats outside, sport two 8-foot communal tables and an 11-seat bar. Centeno says that for the first month they'll focus on dinner, then do brunch and eventually be open 7 days a week. "The idea is to stay open until 3," after the neighborhood bars close. Imagine. Brick-roasted mussels with arbol chile and feta in this town at that hour.
Also on the menu--along with Centeno's signature bäcos and hand-made pasta, salumi and sausages--will be dishes like poblano cannelloni; escabeche of guinea hen and pork jowl; and charred octopus with pickled shallots and corona beans. Centeno will also do the desserts and bake his own bread in the dual gas-and-wood pizza oven that's right now being installed. The oven will not be for pizza; instead Centeno plans to roast suckling pigs in it.
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"It's going to be weird actually having a restaurant," says Centeno. "I've been trying to get one for so long." As for his partnership with Cardenas (Sushi Roku, Boa), Centeno says that he met Cardenas when he cooked for him at Opus. "Who'd have thought that would be one of the most important dinners I ever cooked."
Lazy Ox Canteen: 241 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles.