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THE DISH

Lazy Ox, a 'neighborhood canteen' for Little Tokyo

Restaurateur Michael Cardenas and chef Josef Centeno plan to open the 60-seat restaurant on San Pedro Avenue this fall.

July 29, 2009|Betty Hallock; Jessica Gelt;

For all the restaurants opening downtown lately, Little Tokyo has been in need of something new and unexpected. (Johnny Rockets doesn't count.) Enter restaurateur Michael Cardenas and chef Josef Centeno, who are planning to open a 60-seat restaurant in the Sakura Crossing building on San Pedro Avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets.

The place, Lazy Ox, is envisioned as an "innovative neighborhood canteen." Cardenas (Boa, Katana, Sushi Roku) and Centeno (Meson G, Opus, Lot 1) say they want to open a local spot where you can stop by for a glass of wine or beer and some duck and pork terrine or sashimi of yellowtail with Castelvetrano olives and pomegranate or brick-roasted pork belly with licorice pear, black garlic and charred tomatillo (all according to a preliminary menu). Also expect bacos (Centeno's taco-pizza-gyro hybrid).

Lazy Ox is scheduled to open in the fall.

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Betty Hallock --

Fries on wheels

Come mid- to late August a French fry truck called Frysmith will join the caravan of gourmet food trucks that have been rolling and Twittering around town in previously unimagined numbers.

Its owners, Brook Howell and Erik Cho, have been quietly working on the idea since March. The couple, who live in Burbank, pursued careers within their chosen fields (Howell worked for a magazine and Cho in the film industry) before deciding to focus on a food truck.

Cho had lunch with a friend who had never had chili-cheese fries, and it hit him that he could build a meal on top of fries using all of his favorite ingredients. Offerings include chili-cheese fries, vegan chili fries (tomatoes, mixed beans and soyrizo), rajas fries (roasted poblano chiles, caramelized onions and shawarma-marinated steak with Jack cheese) and kimchi fries (kimchi with Kurobuta pork belly, onions and cheddar cheese).

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Jessica Gelt --

Prius discounts

Maury Rubin closed the L.A. outpost of City Bakery in Brentwood this spring but promised he would open a Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakery in West Hollywood this year. Now, Rubin says he has signed a lease, and a Birdbath bakery -- the first outside of New York -- will open in the newly renovated Pavilions complex at Santa Monica and Robertson boulevards this fall.

At the 700-square-foot takeout bakery, expect pretzel croissants, cookies, muffins, scones and breakfast tartines. For lunch, small pizzas and pressed sandwiches. And there are "eco-themed" pastries including the "What's Your Carbon Footprint?" cookie and "Green Energy" cookie (organic butter cookie with jalapeno peppers).

In New York, customers who arrive by bicycle or skateboard get a discount. Here, anyone who arrives in a hybrid vehicle will get a discount.

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Betty Hallock --

Also . . .

Sam Nazarian's SBE restaurant/night life/hotel conglomerate said it has been tapped to take over long-standing Malibu seafood restaurant Gladstone's.

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For more news, go to our Daily Dish food blog at latimesblogs. latimes.com/dailydish.

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