Friday, June 30, 2006

The Quest for Great BBQ in LA: "Yes child, we're going to Woody's" (Crenshaw)

Since I was in the Crenshaw area today I thought I'd kick off the Grub in LA - Greater LA BBQ Quest by stopping by Woody's (3446 W. Slauson, near Crenshaw 90043). The restuarant is take out only with a couple of plastic chairs by the door to sit in and wait for your order to come up. A few years ago my friend Gary and Alice celebrated their 10th Anniversary by ordering the Large Party Plater which represents the best meat Woody's has to offer: beef ribs, pork ribs, rib tips, whole chicken, sliced beef and hot links. (The party platter, which also comes with potato salad, baked beans and a loaf of wonderful white bread, costs $102 for 10-12 people or $56 for 6 - 8 people.) Alice's boss (the editor of a high profile glossy magazine on the City of Angeles) swore by Woody's as the "best BBQ in Los Angeles." It's pretty darn good and worth the drive.

My BBQ adventure today included 3 dishes: 1/2 pound of beef slices, 1/2 pound of chicken links and a 1/2 pound of beef links. I took the food home where Phoebe was recovering from the birth of our baby. Her mom is in town from Tucson and I thought Woody's would be a fun celebratory type food. The pound and half of meat came to $24 and also included 6 slices of white bread. The beef slices were not very fatty (this cannot be said of the ribs which are quite fatty) and were cooked to perfection. They were moist and tasty and hardly smothered in BBQ sauce. The taste with all of Woody's food comes from the fire not the sauce. (A sign at the ordering window warns customers to designate what type of BBQ sauce is desired: mild, medium or spicy. Default temp is mild.) Everyone had a different favorite but the consensus was that all was tasty. Down home, not gourmet but very edible.

The experience is part of the fun. The drive to Woody's could take you down La Cienega or down Crenshaw which for most West-siders or East-side hipsters is a very foreign journey. There's tons of neat local flavor and a plethora of one-of-a-kind eateries waiting to be explored. I actually prefer Woody's #2 (90031) as a location because you can eat on the site (read: "not in the parking lot") and every time I have been there I have been able to spot the restaurant a mile away from the plumes of BBQ smoke.

A lot of the reviews online of Woody's mention the South Central location as a particularly dangerous spot. While this could be true after dark, it is near a major intersection in Los Angeles and perfectly fine according to this reviewer. Hours at the location on Slauson range from 11am to 1 am (though most nights it closes at 11 pm). The Market St/ La Brea location is usually open from 11am to 9pm. A Rancho Cucamonga (91730) location also exists!

Cost: $24 fed three for a moderate lunch with leftovers.
A good deal but not a steal.
Taste: Pretty good BBQ from an LA institution.
All three eaters gave it the thumbs up.
Experience: A fun BBQ joint ot try but a bit of a jaunt.
Woody's #2 is the best spot so you can eat on site.

Check the and head on down to Woody's #1 (Slauson) or Woody's #2 (La Brea)!

p.s. Woody's menu shares the restaurant's official slogan: "Yes child, we're going to Woody's"

No comments: