But there is Rocher's salpicón, a kind of chopped salad of diced amberjack with roasted piquillo peppers, tangerine segments and herbs, bound with a light cream sauce; a basket of "boca bits," the chicken-skin equivalent of fried pork rinds, with a sweet dipping sauce of whipped yogurt flavored with a little curry; and grilled octopus tentacles served with fennel and tomatoes cooked down into a sunken, intense, sweetish mass. He roasts yams to a pillowy softness, drizzles them with yogurt, and flavors them with tarragon and cilantro — the cloying sweet-potato sweetness is all but subsumed into the licorice smack of the herbs, like a dish from a region of southern India you can't quite place. There is grilled squid, set upright like a line of chessmen on vividly green vegetable purée.
And on Mondays (why only Mondays?), you will find Rocher's vegetable paella, with red peppers, onions and lima beans, massive pans of plump Valencia bomba rice piled only a fraction of an inch deep. The maximum surface area ensures maximum caramelization: The paella is made with bean broth instead of meat broth, but it is impossible to think of it being richer, the flavor more concentrated, the individual grains chewier or more distinct. You will take the big, steel spoon, and you will scrape mightily at the paella pan, and you will liberate the small but crucial scraps welded onto its surface, in a crude but necessary effort to extract it all. You will contemplate returning on a Friday for a stab at the squid-ink fideuà, a squishy, tar-black mess of calamari and toasted vermicelli made in these very paella pans, and then you will dig at the crust once more.
A Little Tokyo gastropub has a new chef, Perfecto Rocher, who has a few tricks up his sleeve, including a remarkable paella.
Location: 241 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, (213) 626-5299; lazyoxcanteen.com
Prices: Snacks and small plates, $6-$16; larger plates, $15-$28; desserts, $8.
Details: Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; brunch, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; dinner, 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Ox happy hour, 5 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. Credit cards accepted. Beer and wine.