Perfecto's Ox

Lazy Ox Canteen's new guise

We wondered what the future might hold for Lazy Ox Canteen when Josef Centeno left for Bäco Mercat.

We now know that the future is Perfecto.

Valencia-born chef Perfecto Rocher took over in March, and has since pushed Lazy Ox in a slightly more Spanish direction. Rocher worked at El Bulli, but his family also has a history in paella making; rather than reconcile these aspects of his culinary background, Rocher lets them both lend their distinct influence.

Huevo Andoni ($16) is a playful reorganization of classic Spanish flavors, including egg, potatoes and chorizo. It's what we've come to expect from an Adrià disciple. In Rocher's dish, the spuds have the flavor of patatas bravas and the texture of expert mashed potatoes. Topped with an egg drizzled with brick-red chorizo renderings, the yolk arrested in a state between liquid and solid: It's a dish of familiar flavors disguised in unexpected textures. 

Far homier is Rocher's arros de baetjo (click here for the recipe). Known as "mellow rice" in Valencia, this soupy dish features tomatoes, salt cod and cauliflower, and holds an unfussy middle ground between stew and paella. Rocher serves it family-style on Wednesdays, but now you can have it any night of the week.

Lazy Ox Canteen, 241 S. San Pedro St., Downtown; 213-626-5299 or lazyoxcanteen.com