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Oct 3, 2000 10:09 PM

Mr Cecils Barbecue

  • k

This weekend, I went to Mr. Cecil's Barbecue in on Pico in LA which was a total mistake. The LA Times had just posted a review on the restaurant and it was very very difficult to get in. I waited about 1 hour and a half for a table for two. After getting our menus, we waited over half an hour just to get our orders in. It was especially frustrating because I noticed that people were coming in through the back door and hovered over some tables like vultures while they were being cleared, and sat down as soon as the staff finished.

After ordering, we waited patently for more than half an hour again before our entrees AND appetizer arrived at the same time. The appetizer was simply chips and salsa. The salsa was obviously freshly chopped, in addition to tradtional ingredients, there were yellow bell peppers and cucumbers. This salsa had absolutly NO heat (unless I can't taste it because I've eaten too many hablaneros to taste normal jalapeno heat).

I ordered the beef ribs, which came with a cornbread and a coleslaw. The ribs are cooked in the 'dry style' with no sauce, but two types of sauces (cajun and mesquite) is provided in bottle if you so desire. I really don't think the ribs were ever cooked in a smoker, but probably par-boiled and/or baked in an oven and finished on the grill. I tasted no smoke at all, which may turn away some bbq purists. However the ribs were quite tender and came off the bone easily. The ribs weren't dry, but the flavor was really a combination of the char from the grill and the very sweet cajun sauce that I dipped it ribs in.

My buddy ordered the combination plate which was a half slab of pork ribs and two beef ribs. My comments on the pork ribs are the same as the beef ribs.

The restaurant has a good selection of imported beer, including a 750 mL Belgian ale.

The service was extremly slow, but I wouldn't write it off to being unexpectedly shorthanded. I noticed the staff over-attending, even fawning over two tables while brushing off the rest of the guests, including those that came in just to pick up their phone-in order. IMHO, the food wasn't good enough to give the staff a second chance. There's much better bbq at a few other restaurants and my own backyard.


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  1. I ate there a few months ago and found it interesting. it was before the article in the times, so it wasn't so crowded. the meat seemed nicely cooked, tender and flavorful. but you know I want great sauce with barbeque. and pouring that stuff out of the bottle just didn't do the trick for me.

    1. Hm, don't recall seeing this is a recent topic of discussion...What other BBQ joints would you - or anyone - recommend in LA, preferably Hollywood/Dowtown/West LA? (Other than your backyard, unless I'm invited.:)) The only place I've found that I enjoy remotely is The Pig on La Brea, and that is quite good but doesn't knock my socks off.


      10 Replies
      1. re: Lisa
        Tom Armitage

        Did you use Chowhound's search function? It's a very useful tool in find posts on a specific subject. Anyway, there have been a number of posts on Los Angeles BBQ. One string started with a post on July 6, 2000, subject: "BBQ that is not a take out." A second string started with a post on December 16, 1999, subject "BBQ in LA." A third string, starting on March 27, 2000, subject: "A good meal in the Valley," gets into a discussion of BBQ, launched by a reference to Dr. Hogly Wogly's. A fourth string, starting with a post on September 25, 2000, subject; "Curious to know more about Canetti's Seafood Grotto in San Pedro," also contains some BBQ discussion, mostly concerning JayBee's. For me, I prefer the babybacks at Phillip's, the brisket at JayBee's, and the beans at JayBee's.

        1. re: Lisa

          Of course you're invited ;-). The next time I am scheduled to 'q, is the day after my sister's wedding. I prefer spareribs over baby backs because I think they have more meat, and cost about 1/4 the price (although baby backs are "fun" to eat). I slather them with some mustard, then a spice rub consisting of paprika, cayenne, garlic salt, brown sugar, sugar, and S & P. Pretty much whatever I can find in the spice rack. Then I put into my fanagled smoker with applewood chips for about 4 hours at "low and slow". It gets mopped a few times with apple juice and water.

          For restaurants, I'd suggest Jay Bee's in Gardena, not exactly the area you're looking for, but I don't know of any that are good there.

          1. re: Lisa

            Have you tried JR's? I think it is on Centinela at about Washington. I've only been once, but the BBQ (memphis style pork sandwich) was as good as I've had outside the South. They had other items on the menu as well, but I have not yet tried them. The service was SLOW, but the food was worth the wait.

            1. re: Russ

              Can you be more specific about where it is? I drive down that street all the time and don't remember it. On Centinela? North or South of Washington Blvd or Place? East or West side of the street? You have my curiousity aroused. I went to Benny's BBQ last night and it is severely downhill from its former glory. I need a new Q.

            2. re: Lisa

              Per usual, big thanks to the Chowhounds posse. You've given me some excellent Q ideas and I'll report back on my findings....

              1. re: Lisa

                My personal favorites are a bit spread out. I love the Abilene Rose BBQ on Warner Ave in Fountain Valley! Right off the 405 south, then head east. There's also country bands that play there in the evening. Great beef ribs, interesting appetizers, and an attentive and nice manager. Unfortunately, it's best saved for a Sunday or late morning drive due to traffic. ( I live in Hawthorne myself, but will travel far and wide for great beef ribs. I work for United Airlines, so I really mean that)

                Next place is The Bear Pit in Mission Hills, on Sepulveda. Been there forever. Get the Kodiak special.

                Next up is a year old place, Lucilles Smokehouse BBQ, directly off the 605 south, Carson St. exit. In the new (and very crowded) outdoor shopping center, the Long Beach Town Center. It's right on the Cerritos border. Another Sunday drive !! It's gotten almost too popular, and you will most likely be given a beeper to listen for your name. Once again, great beef ribs.
                And good buttermilk biscuits with apple butter. Very friendly service, too. Once again, the place gets packed!! holds about 300 people.

                For smaller places, I like the Original BBQ on Rosecrans and Crenshaw, and also Greece's BBQ on La Brea, just south of Wilshire. It's by 6th st., across from the car wash.

                My ultimate favorite is a true Sunday Drive!!!!!
                It's Woody's BBQ in Santa Barbara!!!! (no relation to the woody's bbq in the L.A. area). A fun place with excellent food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                I think I gave you all enough ribs to chew on for now. Enjoy!!!!

                1. re: ellen

                  Hats off, I think. Not so much because Ellen F has uncovered a vast motherlode of great barbecue places (I'm not sure I like ANY of them) but because she has opened up the idea of a barbecue aesthetic completely opposite to that of most of the people on this site, the meaty, mild, sweet, popular style that does indeed dominate in this country.

                  She obviously knows about the ``good'' places (i.e., she mentions Woody's), but has her own preferences, which are, with the possible exception of Greece's, remarkably consistent. She knows what she likes! Which is rare, even around here.

                  I can only add Pecos Bill's, an old shack near Griffith Park that serves Oklahoma barbecue consistent with this style that even I might find delicious if I were down with its sweet, mild aesthetic.

                  1. re: ellen

                    I am humbly impressed and duly grateful for your contributions, Ellen, as well as the great ideas the rest of y'all had. Thanks a million...I now have BBQ for a year.

                    In case anyone still has an, ahem, bone to pick on the BBQ subject, I do a lot of traveling and am open to nationwide recommendations. (Personal fave is Stubbs in Austin.)

                  2. re: Lisa

                    There is a great little joint for BBQ Pork ribs called Greece's. It is on LaBrea just north of Olympic in a little strip mall on the west side of the street. The guy told me he has been there for 10 yrs. The Pork ribs are goooood!

                    1. re: Lisa

                      I have six words to say "The Pig," "The Pig," "The Pig". Try it, you'll like it.

                      It's on the La Brea south of Melrose on the east side of the street next to the movie theatre. 612 N. La Brea.

                      The Hickory-Smoked Baby Back ribs (World Championship
                      recipte) are the best I've ever tasted

                    2. j
                      Jonathan Burrows

                      Hi Kevin: I'm the owner of Mr. Cecil's California Ribs. I'm sorry you got such a negative impression of my restaurant. We were reviewed by the LA Times, in the most glowing terms, on September 28th and it looks like you stopped by around then. The review was so terrific & the response to it so overwhelming that we ran out of food a few days later and had to close for two days. Now that some time has passed & we are better organized (having been open for business for almost 4 months) why don't you come back and give us another try? You and one friend will be my guest, exclusive of alcohol, tip & taxes. Call me at the restuarant (310 442-1550) or e-mail me at lowell8@ibm. net, and I'll set it up for you. Hope to see you soon. Sincerely yours, Jonathan Burrows