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Beachwood BBQ - Seal Beach

Thanks to the 'hound who posted about this place last week. Stopped by for dinner last night, and had some succulently wonderful baby back ribs. Extremely meaty and tender, exuding almost too much smokey flavor (can that be??). Ribs are served dry, with four house made sauces available on the table (vinegar, mustard, sweet, and spicy). The ribs were so tasty that they didn't need the sauce, but a dip into the spicy version added a nice kick. I didn't try the mustard, but the other two were forgettable. I chose BBQ beans and grilled corn on the cob as my sides. The beans were very tomato-ey, not sweet as they are in most places, and had nice little bits of meat mixed in. Grilled corn on the cob was good, but would probably be better if it were truly corn season. Served with a nice square of really tasty corn bread, and I chose a medium brown beer from a Eureka brewery to go with my meal. The whole thing worked really well, and, New Year's resolution be damned, was worth every calorie.
This tiny place has only been open two weeks, and was full of happy customers chowing down. They're open for lunch and dinner, and promise to have delivery soon. I will definitely be back.
Beachwood BBQ
131 1/2 Main St.
Seal Beach
(562) 493-4500

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  1. I went with friends today. The ribs were very good, very smoky, great texture, maybe saltier than I'd prefer, with good sweet potato fries, good grits called Bleu Cheese Grits, I'm not sure I could detect the bleuness but nice texture, a decent square of cornbread with little red fruits in it accompanied by honey butter that had gone off a little and was promptly replaced. I didn’t try the sauces, available in big bottles on the table, the ribs were fine without compromise. The others' sandwiches looked and smelled like what you’d want at a barbecue restaurant. All of us were stuffed, but one friend ordered peach cobbler for dessert, it was with ice cream, nice oatmeal-based streusel top, and the peaches seemed to have the texture of fresh peaches. Decent fresh peaches in March? Going back another time, I’d try other sides too, and maybe something less enormous for lunch than a WHOLE order of ribs. The operation and the food, except for the unfortunate butter today, seemed at a standard of professionalness, attractiveness, and satisfyingness that suited the price, way over my cheapo lunch budget. We saw a delivery going down the street while we were eating and cash coming back in, so delivery service seems to have started, at least to the neighbors.

      1. re: SRosie

        I was the one who posted last week. I brought home a menu w/ prices. Based on our four dinners, the combos seemed to have less meat than the full meals, which we shared.
        Everything comes with 2 sides...
        Babyback Ribs--Full slab $22 (huge portion); half slab $15
        Spare Ribs--Same as above
        Pulled pork--$14
        Smoked Chicken $12 (half a chicken)
        Salmon--$13 (Someone please try this a report on it. It sounds great...cold smoked with oak and finished on the grill)
        Combo of any 2 of the above $15; any 3 is $17 (add $2 for fish or ribs)
        They also have sandwiches and salads.
        You can also buy by the pound.

        The chef came out and talked to us--his background is fine dining and he has never lived in the south. Like I said, this was better BBQ than I ever got while living in Tennessee or Texas.

      2. ok, so I was a little wierded out by how formal this place is for a BBQ joint... not that it's formal, but I don't rememberr the last time I went to a BBQ were people were not covered in sauce and peanut shells were not on the floor.
        The food, was really really good. but I'm not sure that I'll be going back, because I can't justify dressing up for BBQ.

        3 Replies
        1. re: SRosie

          Are you sure you went to the right place?? The place I was talking about on Main Street has concrete floors, almost bare walls, it's tiny with only about 10 tables and everyone in there when we went had jeans or shorts on. My husband's complaint was that there was no atmosphere and it was a little too noisy. True, it doesn't look like a barn interior like some theme restaurants but we were all licking our fingers at our table!

          1. re: bohemiana

            when i was there it wasn't fancy at all, lots of nice microbrews on tap. but i think the poster probably meant it's not a shack/dump. and it is tiny not particularly fancy at all, reminds me of the pig on melrose from a decor standpoint of course without the excessive tackiness.

          2. re: SRosie

            It's definitely NOT a dress-up place. Even the hostess/owner is in jeans. As for the sauce, their bbq is a dry rub. Four types of sauce are on the table, so if you want to be covered in sauce while you eat, have at it.

          3. I had a chance to try out Beachwood BBQ for lunch yesterday. Based off the reviews I read here, I decided to order the full rack of baby back pork ribs, their only option of ribs that they offer. Normally, beef ribs are my first choice of ribs, but they don't offer it here. I chose sides of bleu cheese grits and sweet potato fries.

            When my entree arrived, the ribs seemed to be a bit overcooked, charred a bit more black on the outside than I would have preferred. As a result, the meat was a bit dry, but still tasty. I did sample each of the 4 BBQ sauces that were on each table: vinegar, sweet, spicy, and mustard. I liked the vinegar and spicy sauces the best. The sides of bleu cheese grits and sweet potato fries were pretty good.

            Overall, I'd rank the ribs as about average. They didn't advertise the style of BBQ that they have here, but it seemed similar to other places that have advertised Santa Maria-style BBQ. While I enjoyed the meal and would go back if I was in the area, I doubt that I would drive a fair distance out of my way to come back here.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Wonginator

              the beef brisket or sliced beef was pretty good here. and yeah, by that token it would be in santa maria style. it's kind of the same style as Boneyard Bistro in SFV.

              1. re: Wonginator

                From my conversations with the Chef, the ribs are not "charred", the process of smoking instead of boiling the ribs (like Tony Romas), causes the rub to carmelize on the outside and create darker ribs. Further, the "dryness" is a result of the smoking process, and again because the Chef doesn't cheat by boiling his ribs, the meat does not fall of the bones.
                I really enjoy the uniqueness of this place and tend to think they produce a solid tasting product.

              2. I finally made it to Beachwood. It's a yuppie-style BBQ restaurant. The decor reminds me of someplace like Daily Grill, with dark wood chairs and mostly hard surfaces. As a result it's pretty noisy. They have expanded to the next storefront, so are obviously doing well as it was almost full at 6:30 pm on a Thursday.

                The menu is also a bit of a yuppie take on BBQ. Appetizer of smoked albacore served sashimi style. Sides include grilled asparagus. Both were good.

                Also ordered the collards (a bit overcooked and yellowish, but tasty) and chicken plate. The server told us the BBQ is supposed to be Memphis style (smoked with dry rub and sauce added later). The chicken comes as a half chicken, with so much smoke that the skin is sooty. Took the skin off, no problem, and the smoke taste is definitely there. Meat is moist and falling of the bone. Sampled the Spicy BBQ sauce (not very spicy) and the mustard (not bad, on the sweet side). Cornbread is the sweet cake type (with craisins), works nicely as dessert.

                I would return, if just to try a larger portion of the smoked fish (comes on the sandwich menu with one side, and the dinner menu with two).

                Pricing isn't too bad, about as posted above. Sides are $3.50 each although small in portion. I think they have some good happy hour specials.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mlgb

                  I have to admit it has been about 6 months since I've been to Beachwood. Unfortunately, they hipped it up too much for me with all their sashimi and such. I guess there wasn't enough business for BBQ meat like they started business doing so well. Last time, my chicken looked like a burned sparrow--it was so dark and tiny that I asked for a new piece. The replacement wasn't that much better. The ribs, however, were as great as always although a smaller portion than usual. Having spent many years in Tennessee, they are authentic dry rub & smoked. They may not appeal to everyone but they are the real deal.

                  It's interesting that they have added smoked fish. I LOVE smoked fish, although I never saw it at any BBQ joints in Tennessee. I'll have to revisit the place.

                  We went to Naple's Rib Company on Saturday for the first time. No comparison to Beachwood! Tasteless meat unless you gob on the sauce and boring sides.

                  1. re: bohemiana

                    I have had the smoked fish and I really, really enjoyed it here. Of course, I truly love their ribs, so fall of the bone tender and so much flavor, you're right, haven't found anything that can compare (for smoked, not for slathered on sauce).

                2. I was down in Seal Beach for a birthday and just happened across Beachwood BBQ. I was very happy I ate there. They had a great selection of beers, I had a cask ale from Stone and an Echt Kriekenbier (sour flemish ale). To eat I ordered a combo of their babyback ribs and beef short ribs with sides of hush puppies and collards.

                  When the plate arrived I could immediately smell the smoke. Both the ribs and short ribs are dry-rubbed as others have mentioned. The short ribs were falling apart tender and infused with smoky goodness. The mustard based sauce (south carolina style) went great with the beef. The babybacks had that great red smoke ring that comes from slow smoking. The ribs tasted great without any sauce and even better with some of the vinegar based sauce (pretty sure it's east carolina style). They were better than the ribs I had at Salt Lick in Austin. The sides were pretty standard.

                  Hands down this is the best BBQ I've had in California. Beats Baby Blues, Mr. Cecil's (horrible), Boneyard Bistro, Wholefoods Venice (surprisingly decent) and Lucille's smokehouse in my mind. If anyone can point me to better que (closer to West LA best), please do so.

                  Beachwood BBQ
                  131 1/2 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740

                  Salt Lick
                  3600 Presidential Blvd, Austin, TX

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: joshekg

                    I just recommended this place for a birthday, how is the bar at night, is there alot of people there getting drinks?

                    1. re: FoodiePastor

                      The bar area can get a little bit crowded, but it is easy to get a drink. They don't serve liquor but the beer selection more than makes up for that. I had a Pliny the Elder last week when I went.

                    2. re: joshekg

                      That's quite a diversity of comparisons! Salt Lick (I'm from Texas originally, lived in Austin for five years, and always felt the further you get from that Yankee town, the better the BBQ in Central Texas), Whole Foods (it started in Austin, but I can't remember ever liking their prepared foods), Baby Blues (gave me the blues), ...

                      I agree that Beachwood BBQ -- the feeling, the staff, and the food -- is very good. But they need to keep their hands up, whip down, and ride hard to the line, because the competition is now very stiff from Big Mista' and his wife and crew. Of course, I seriously doubt Beachwood wants or needs to compete at that level.

                      For other places **of similar type, less the Pacific** that are just as good or better in my opinion, I'd send you to the greatly under-recognized Blake's (antiseptic industrial neighborhood but very good brisket), Zeke's in Montrose (lots of people seem to think the Hollywood location isn't good, but I haven't been there -- in Montrose, I like the pulled pork and the sides, especially the creamy mac and cheese), and KC BBQ (fine skinny ribs and friendly owners, dumpy atmosphere). You didn't like Boneyard Bistro as much as BBBQ, but I'd rank them at the same general level on food and, within this group, go to one or the other for ancillary reasons having to do with the meaning of life on particular occasions.

                      None of these comes even close to Big Mista' for me, but all serve BBQ as good as the very good Beachwood BBQ in semi-comfortable to comfortable sit-down restaurants.

                      Zeke's Smokehouse
                      2209 Honolulu Ave, Montrose, CA 91020

                      Kansas City BBQ
                      10863 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

                      Blake's Place
                      2905 E Miraloma Ave, Anaheim, CA

                      1. re: Mel Gee

                        Hey Mel Gee. As a fellow "Central Texas BBQ enthusiast" I need to know: How does Big Mista' stack up to places like Kreuz's, Smitty's, Coopers and Salt Lick in Texas? I've been to Blakes, Baby Blues and even Beachwood but so far have not been overly impressed. Maybe it's due to our wonderful AQMD's regulations on smoke emissions, but that Texas 'Q is hard to beat!

                        1. re: Grubber

                          Big Mista' is from Central Texas, Grubber -- he played football at Texas State in San Marcos. So it's not surprising that, with his cooking talent, he produces BBQ that competes favorably with the best in the Lone Star State.

                          Good BBQ needs a lot more love than smoke alone can give it, but if you like the taste of well-smoked meat, you won't find a higher (pleasing) smoke level in Los Angeles than Big Mista's pork ribs, in my experience. And, as I noted in another thread recently, they offer as good a combination of ribs, brisket, and pulled pork as anywhere I've been in the Midwest and South -- far better than anything else in California.

                          To answer your questions: I haven't been to Cooper's since the late Eighties, but they got a 4.0/5 in the Texas Monthly Top 50 last year (really, a 0.0/1 by the way TM reported the scores). The other 4.0's I tried from their list were only about as good as the best out here (other than Big Mista'), so I'm not sanguine about Cooper's. The Salt Lick, which was way outside Austin when I lived there, seems to have become even more of a tourist place. (I hear one has opened in Vegas.)

                          I used to eat at Kreutz all the time and stopped there twice last year. It's much better than either Cooper's or the Salt Lick and is now in a huge building on the edge of Lockhart, TX. It's a great place to have BBQ -- still served on butcher paper, despite the magnificence of the setting -- and the brisket is excellent. The first time I had Big Mista's brisket, it was just below Kreutz in quality. The second time Big Mista' was better -- juicier, crustier, better seasoned, and more tender. It was as good as any brisket I've had. Although large pieces of pure bark, of which I always order extra whether in Texas or California, were more powerfully seasoned and salted than some people might like, they were paradise to me.

                          Smitty's, as you may know, is in the old Kreutz building and is owned by another part of the family that owns Kreutz. (A family dust-up created the two similar restaurants.) When in Lockhart, I always go to Kreutz.

                          In my opinion, anyone in Los Angeles who loves good food should go to Big Mista', which is wonderful not because it's authentic (it is, with a multiplicity of authenticies) and not because it follows this BBQ style or that (great brisket and great pulled pork on the same plate? impossible, yet there it is). Big Mista' is great because it delivers deeply satisfying and delicious food, and the man himself and his wife and crew are friendly, hardworking people. In these troubled economic times, let's support this outstanding small business.

                          1. re: Mel Gee

                            Did I miss it when we talked about where this place of glorious Texas bbq is located, Big Mista?. Being from Houston, I could use some good bbq asap.

                            1. re: FoodiePastor

                              Big Mista operates at various farmer's markets around the city. He (Neil) is also on twitter. Website is below for locations and times.
                              Atwater seems to be crowded. I go to the El Segundo one on Thursday afternoons. It's as good as people say.


                              1. re: Ogawak

                                OK cool, thats not too close to me. but if its as good as people say, it can never be too far!

                            2. re: Mel Gee

                              If it's close to Kreuz's I'm in. I agree with you regarding Smitty's. I do like the old building, though. and I miss seeing those knives chained to the tables.
                              Thanks for the heads up, Mel Gee