Two BBQ Lunches -- JR's and Outdoor Grill
Really enjoyed JR's on La Cienega south of Washington near Jefferson. Was one of the first to sit down at 11:30, got the rib sandwich with potato salad and a lemonade. Was a bit worried that three pork ribs wouldn't fill me up, but these were very meaty and tender. Ordered the hot sauce on the side -- extremely hot (and I like it that way) -- went great with the cool potato salad and the neutral roll, but a bit too incendiary for the ribs. Next time I'll get half hot and half medium. Extremely friendly service and vibe. I left stuffed and happy spending $14 after a big tip.
Can't say the same about Outdoor Grill. Ordered a rib and pork combo which wasn't specified on the menu -- gave it to me but charged for a rib and tri-tip combo (the pork is less expensive than the tri-tip for the sandwich). Only one bbq sauce is offered. As the serving guy passed my plate over the counter, he added another rib -- made me wonder whether this was a generous move or a practiced play. Ribs had a nice crusty exterior but not as large or meaty as JR's. Pork was machine-cut rounds from a pork loin -- next time I'd go with the tri-tip which is admittedly their specialty. Side of mac'n'cheese was poor -- limp large pasta rounds in a thin, lightly flavored cheese sauce. I guess what really turned me off was going up to the cashier for an additional plastic serving of bbq sauce and asking her for a slice of bread for the pork and having her start ringing up $.50 on the register -- No, Thank you. I left full but dissatisfied after $14 with no tip -- self-service.
I've always found the ribs at JR's on the dry side and not very impressive, and converse to your experience at Outdoor Grill, we always like the food we have gotten there, and haven't ever felt gamed. I actually like their mac n cheese, something very homey about it.
It's true they don't have a huge variety of sauces at Outdoor Grill, and if you really like spicy bbq sauce (which I don't), then JR's is going to get your vote.
The best items at Outdoor Grill are the pork ribs, the tri-tip, and the chicken. Never had the pork loin, it must be new.
I like the beef ribs at Outdoor Grill, and at the location in the valley (Northridge) they have sauce filling stations with two or three types so you can load up to your hearts content. I also love the Turkey Chili at the OG if you're into that, very, very good.
Honestly, I don't like either place. The amateurish tri tip from the Outdoor Grill just made me wish we'd driven to Phillip's for their sliced beef. Hubby Mr. Creosote said OG's ribs were equally disappointing.
JR's is a neat looking little diner but we found the BBQ mediocre for both pork ribs and the pork shoulder sandwich; They do have more of a clue than the Outdoor Grill, though.