BBQ Birthday in the SFV
My big day is coming soon, and my wife and I would like to celebrate by partaking in some good BBQ food. We live in the SFV and don't want to go beyond that area.
We don't care for Dr. Hogly Wogly's, and Boneyard Bistro is just too darn expensive.
What we are looking for is just some good, not fancy or super expensive, BBQ food (baby back ribs, chicken, baked beans, garlic bread, etc.). We're considering either Wood Ranch in Northridge or The Bear Pit in North Hills. We are going to eat the food in, vs. taking out.
Please help us decide between those two, or feel free to suggest another place in the SFV. TIA!
Well, thanks to all who chimed in on this thread. My b-day was a couple of weeks ago, and I'm just now getting around to posting our experience. You know how life goes (especially those w/small kids!).
We arrived at Bear Pit around 5:45pm or so a couple Saturday nights ago and were immediately seated. We ordered the baby backs and a BBQ turkey sandwich on garlic toast, along with sides. After the dish of carrots/celery/pickles and iceberg lettuce salad (the sesame dressing was tasty), our main courses arrived.
The baby backs were tender enough, but lacked any real flavor other than from the BBQ sauce. They did have a smoky flavor, but it was lacking any other real flavor or seasoning. Pretty darn disappointing.
The BBQ turkey sandwich was just OK. The bread was more like a cheese bread but was pretty tasty. The turkey was on the dry side as it can tend to be, flavor was OK but again I detected a lack of seasoning in the preparation. The BBQ sauce helped things, and it wound up being a decent enough sandwich.
It was fun to go there once and enjoy the hokey atmosphere and relatively benign food. But, I'll take some of your advice and next hit up Wood Ranch, Mom's and Willy's.
I'm originally for the LA area, so I prefer Woody's or Philips for BBQ. However Moms in Van Nuys is pretty good. I also like Ribs USA in Bubank. Although Mom's is not a sit down place, it's definately worth switching to take out. Ribs USA does have space, but it's not
fancy. Happy B-Day!
I think Ribs USA's ribs are terrible. The buffalo wings, however, are the best in the valley, but that is for another thread.
Kansas City BBQ is decent. I think I prefer Mom's food, but as people have said, it's not a sit-down restaurant, just a counter with a couple of seats in the room. Kansas City BBQ is pretty casual, too, but at least it has tables with some type of covering.
I do see what givemegoodfood means about ambience. If you actually want to go someplace where you can sit, order at a table, and have a drink, Tony Roma's, Mr. Cecil's and Boneyard Bistro are the places that come to mind. (I've never been to Wood Ranch or Bear Pit.) There also is Rosie's BBQ in Northridge. I haven't been there in years, though we used to go fairly often when they had a branch in Encino.
well - I would vote for the Bear Pit. We have never had a bad meal there. I know people are rather passionate about their views on BBQ, but I have always found the beef ribs amazing and the baby backs are very good indeed. So shy of venturing out to some unknown joint and wading into the morass of Tony Roma's or Cecil's I recommend the Bear Pit (have never been a fan of Hoggly Woggly).
And whatever you do stay clear of The Swinging Door BBQ @ Vanowen and Vineland
Bear Pit Bar-B-Que Restaurant
10825 Sepulveda Blvd, Mission Hills, CA 91345
It’s on my To Go To List. Haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard good things about Kansas City BBQ Company from a very reliable source. It’s not too far from SFV and freeway-close. I hear they serve great Q and have a nice beer bar. Take note, they're not fancy - more like a hole-in-the-wall in a so-so locale. Anyway, don't most good Q joints fit that description?
Kansas City BBQ Company
10863 Magnolia Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
i have not yet ventured out of the LA basin, but the only place in the SFV i hear mostly positive things about is the mom's in van nuys. they're supposed to be similar to phillips and several other places in LA: well smoked with a smoke ring (but not overwhelmingly smoky), trimmed of fat and gristle, tender but not mushy (the compliment "falling-off-the-bone" should not be taken literally), simply seasoned, with a tangy sauce (you should ask to get this on the side).
wood ranch does not smoke their meat, but the bear pit does.
It would seem to me that you would want nice atmosphere for your birthay dinner, which you won't get at Mom's. I consider Mom's a strictly take out place. Hogly Wogly's, whilie you don't care for it, only has slightly better atmosphere. I have not been to Kansas City BBQ since it moved to Magnolia, so I can't advise on that. I went to El Paso BBQ in Tarzana once a long time ago but thought the food while okay was way overpriced. The atmosphere is okay.
I do not like the Bear PIt and Valley BBQ is gone. So, it looks like the only viable options are Wood Ranch (as you mentioned) or (here's where I get killed) Tony Roma's in Encino. Yes, I agree that TR's does not have outstanding (or even really good food). It is, however, acceptable and it has the proper environment for a birthday celebration.
If it was me, I'd do Wood Ranch.
re: givemegood food
Givemegood food, thanks so much, you really seem to know about SFV BBQ.
Just curious, why would you pick Wood Ranch over Bear Pit? The food? Atmosphere? Seems like either place's atmosphere would be OK, so it seems to come down to the food...which one has better baby backs, chicken, beans, etc.?
Thanks again for everyone's help! I can't wait to dig in! I've got another week or so to field replies before we "hit the bones", as we used to say in our family when going out for ribs.
re: GK in SO
In all honestly, it was a very long time ago we went to the Beat Pit and all I can remember is we got lousy serivce and the food was over-smoked for me. I also must confess I wasn't much of a foodie and definitley not into BBQ as I am now. Since we weren't pleased with it and it was kinda far for us, we never gave it a second chance.
I like Wood Ranch, yes it's a mini-corporate, but we've gone to Northridge, Camarillo, Wood Ranch and most frequently Agoura Hills. The food is always consistetnly good and we like their wine selection (only place I've found Opollo Zinfadel by the glass!!)
Have you been to Wood Ranch? If so, you know exacltly what you'll be getting. If you want to try something new, got to the Bear Pit. My Birthday is next Thurday, So happy birthday fellow Aquarius!
re: givemegood food
gmgf, thanks so much for your reply. Yes, I went to WR a long time ago but don't recall it. What do you recommend there, baby backs or chicken (we don't eat beef)? I've perused their menu, and it looks pretty darn good.
Belated happy birthday, fellow Aquarius right back at you, I hope you had a good one.
We did try something new (Bear Pit; see my post below). I'm glad we did it once, and it was pretty good but not incredible, but look forward to WR and others to fit that bill.