Dear Mr. Gold:

My co-worker's birthday is Monday, and to celebrate she wants a steak dinner. And she wants me to choose the restaurant. Which is an unusual kind of cruel, since I'm a vegetarian. Help? Something on the east side of town is preferred, because I hope to get tanked at dinner and don't want to be too far from home. Peace out.

–Pandora, Los Angeles

Dear Pandora:

Four times out of five, I would send you to Taylor's. It's in the right neighborhood – Koreatown, more or less – the drinks are strong, and the prime culotte steak is tasty. The vibe is almost right, too – pickle-nose USC alums who have been coming here since the 1960s, a smattering of every flavor of Angeleno, and a strong horsey vibe. The proximity of horse paintings makes beef taste better. Everybody knows that.

But Taylor's is less than congenial to the vegetarian – even the kind of vegetarian who is a good enough sport to go to a steakhouse to begin with. The Molly Salad, an inspired take on the wedge salads you're seeing all over town now, is amusing enough when you know it's to be followed by a bleeding hunk of steerflesh, but perhaps less so when it has to double as dinner. So just take your friend to the Lazy Ox Canteen – she gets her cow, you can eat as low on the food chain as you'd like, and you all drink hoppy oceans of microbrew – everybody wins!

Lazy Ox Canteen: 241 S. San Pedro St., downtown; (213) 626-5299.

LA Weekly