20 March, 2009
Sophomore efforts are largely unreliable and often times very disappointing. However, West Hollywood will be far from let down by the newest sophomore in town, a sister to Venice's famous Baby Blues BBQ. Soft opening was Friday 3/20, and I was fortunate enough to snag a seat with a few hungry girlfriends in order to make sure this eastside version of the delicious bbq eatery has the same recipe book as its westside original. And it does...
The new BBB is located in the space previously occupied by Cha Cha Cha, the former great Caribbean haunt that many are quite resentful for closing. But upon first entering the newly revamped space and smelling the incredible smokey aromas from the open view kitchen, any memory of what was quickly vanishes.
BBB came well prepared for this second coming, and was not going to settle for anything less than a two hit wonder. The fully stocked bar and buzzing full house gave a good indication that the standard was set. We were attended to promptly and warmly by the hostess who sat us before our 9pm reservation time. The waitstaff, whether dedicated to our table or not, was extremely attentive and quick to respond. And we had barely gotten our beer and water orders out of the way.
The only appetizer available for this big night was the Suicide King, a plate of pork on cornbread served with cotija cheese and cole slaw. It was the perfect tease and preview of what was to come, and didn't last long as we swiftly picked through and finished it.
The platters feature various bbq meats from chicken to pulled pork to beef brisket, and come nicely equipped with cornbread and two 'fixin's'. I ordered the pulled pork platter with mac n' cheese and collard greens, just to really test the kitchen.
They passed my test with flying colors. The pork was tender, juicy and melted in the mouth. Each table offers diners the no-nonsense trademark tangy bbq sauce, as well as the "XXX Porno" spicy bbq sauce that does not have mercy or tolerance for the weak of palate. I've eaten lots of spicy hot in my days, and this bbq sauce is definitely hot.
The collard greens were seasoned and cooked perfectly, far from bitter but rather full of the smokey flavor of real-deal greens from the south with a slight pepper seasoning. The mac n' cheese is hearty, with a thick but creamy sauce that just might distract you from the meat on your plate. The cornbread is quite moist and closer to cornmeal than bread, something everyone at the table except me appreciated. I'm just a fan of the fluffier cakier cornbread, but the sweet flavor complemented everything else on my plate, so I certainly didn't complain.
The beef brisket platter is equally delightful, with the brisket served stringed like the pulled pork. The tender texture is a sign that this meat was handled with great care and cooked slowly over low heat. Paired with a side of the baked beans, you'll soon be remembering the southern bbq you grew up with. The only thing more authentically southern is the side of okra, which is steamed and seasoned just right with garlic and pepper. It is quite obvious that the original Venice BBB recipes and secrets have been shared and passed along east of the 405.
Fortunately for West Hollywood, the newbie BBB is about 4 times larger than the original Venice Beach version, so feel free to bring your friends and fill your bellies with some pretty authentic 'cue. What better way to start the spring season and warm weather than with a new bbq joint! You just might find yourself ditching your own grill in the backyard to let BBB cater to your grilled cravings. Use the backyard for the sunbathing.