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Small Bites: Fork opens in Montrose, Lazy Ox reveals menu and microbrews

Forkintheroad Knife, Spoon and...: Fork, a casual neighborhood eatery from local chefs Michael Ruiz (Bistro Verdu, Ingredients) and Gail Connell (Gourmet A Go Go catering), officially opened Tuesday in Montrose. The menu mixes French, Italian and American comfort food alongside a wine list curated by Jeff Zimmitti of Rosso Wine Shop. Highlights include: duck confit salad; country pate; a braised pork, Fontina and grilled onion panini; classic roasted chicken; steak and fries; local white sea bass with eggplant ratatouille and beurre blanc; and sauteed red chard with caraway seed and chili flakes. 2263 Honolulu Ave., Montrose. (818) 248-2100, www.forkmontrose.com.

Neighborhood Canteen: After a year of planning, chef Josef Centeno (Lot 1, Meson G, Opus) and restaurateur Michael Cardenas (Boa, Katana, Sushi Roku) plan to open the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo sometime next week, Dec. 10 at the latest. "We could open today," Centeno says. "The restaurant itself is finished." They're waiting on final inspections and permits.

Centeno, who left Echo Park eatery Lot 1 three months after it opened, has an ambitious vision for Lazy Ox, and it's reflected in an eclectic menu that features pan-fried skate wing with ham-hock collard greens and shellfish béarnaise; charred octopus with garlic rappini and a preserved lemon vinaigrette; khlii (Moroccan-style beef jerky); cod brandade fritters with yuzu aioli; brick-roasted mussels; Jersey cow Ricotta agnolotti with pancetta-tomato sauce and Pecorino; and more. "We'll be grinding our own meat for burgers, grinding our own sausages, making our own pates," Centeno says. "We'll be getting in our own whole baby pigs and we'll confit them and cook them in our brick oven."

Lazy Ox will also have a wine list, 12 microbrews on tap and a small selection of bottled Japanese microbrews (including Ryujin Shuzo brewery's Ozeno Yukidoke IPA) that will, according to Centeno, be sold in the United States for the first time.

It's not fusion. It's not small plates. So what is it? "New American with global influences," Centeno says. Or as he has oft repeated, "It's basically everything we like to eat." 241 S. San Pedro St., L.A. (213) 626-5266, www.lazyoxcanteen.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Pasadena's newest piece of street art, "The Fork in the Road," located at South Pasadena Avenue where it meets St. John Avenue. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
 
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