Grandpa Fred's BBQ - thumbs down!!
I was in Woodland Hills tonight so decided to stop by Grandpa Fred's (Variel & Victory) as I had read about it here a few times. Bottom line - this will be the first and last visit.
As I was in a hurry I didn't read over the entire menu, just ordered the 4 beef ribs with 2 sides. (They only serve beef ribs, no pork). For sides I ordered the greens and yams. Guy at the counter leaves and comes back, says they don't have yams. Ok I'll have the mac & cheese instead.
I go sit down. Girl comes out and says they don't have any greens, would you like something else? Ok I'll take the coleslaw. Then she brings out the coleslaw, says they don't have any mac & cheese. It turns out the only other side they have is mashed potatoes. So she brings out a bowl of mashed potatoes. So I'm sitting there for 10 minutes with a bowl of coleslaw and a bowl of mashed potatoes and finally she brings out the ribs. Of course by now the potatoes are cold. The ribs are pretty good size, but SMOTHERED in sauce. Considering the size of the ribs there was hardly any meat and way too much sauce.
Not to mention the whole time there was a couple there with 3 little kids (1 in diapers) running around screaming and some bad science fiction movie blasting on the big screen TV.
I like weird restaurants, BBQ beef and I will tolerate bad service if the food is good, but Grampa Fred's has finally worn me down. I guess it's just as well because my wife and friends won't go anymore; something to do with the inconsistencies or the owners' friends that are always hanging around, watching that blaring, booming Mega-TV.
Once I got into this surreal, incomprehensible Marx Borthers-style conversation with the guy taking my order about their hot sauce. I wanted hot sauce on the side and the guy asked me how hot I wanted the sauce because they have 27 levels of heat, but I couldn't have the hottest one because they will not be liable for what might happen if I swallowed some, so I guess he was offering me 26. After a few minutes I gave up trying to understand the system and I just ordered various numbers like, "I'll try #16," but there was always some reason he didn't want to serve me my choice as if he didn't trust my grasp of the seriousness of the situation. Finally I just let him give me the hot sauce he thought (in his professionsl opinion) I could handle.
Another time, I asked the server for some hot sauce. The cute young lady brought a small bowl of sauce and I dipped a tiny corner of beef in for a drop or two as it might be the dangerous #27. Good thing I only had a tiny amount as it was as if lighter fluid had detonated on my tounge. Someboody must has mixed equal parts of Dave's Insanity and habanero oil because my mouth and throat seemed to burn without end. About the time I began to think I might be able to continue my meal, the sweet young thing came around the corner smiling with a twinkle in her eyes asking "So, how'd you like the hot sauce?"
I used to work right around the corner from Grandpa Fred's and, from the day they opened, they've been incredibly inconsistent. A bunch of us from work would go and one time would be great while the next time would be horrible. After a dozen visits or so, we just stopped going there.
Wow, that's the first negative review I've read about Grandpa Fred's in awhile. Does seem kind of strange that a place would run out of the sides. I can see them running out of the meats.
Grandpa Fred's had been at the top of my list of BBQ places to try, but this knocks them down a few pegs.