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Baby Blue Barbeque

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After watching a DDD with Guy Fieri where he visited Baby Blue in Venice, we decided to make the trip on a Saturday in horrendous traffic on the W/B 10. Took a couple of friends with us. It was the worse meal we have had in the longest time. On the program, it looked inviting. One of the customers announced that he cried if they ran out of the mac n" cheese by the time he got there. I cried because they did have this mish/mash dish that was called mac n' cheese but there was no resemblance. It was an overcooked mess with curdled cheese throughout. They advertised baked beans as a side and all that was was some kidney beans and I guess pinto beans thrown together with no baked bean seasonings. Horrible. The pulled pork sandwich was one that any of us could make at home but better. It had some tasteless cole slaw on it which didn't add a thing to the flavor. The baby backs were dry and not all that. Our friend had the cat fish Po Boy and he actually liked it but he's like Mikey, he'll eat anything. I ordered kool aid since it's been years and years since I've had this drink and dissapointingly found out it was nothing more than canned Hawaiian Punch, no KA taste to it at all. The bill came to $70 without tip and that hurt the most. Our friend paid and i felt so guilty for even suggesting this place not knowing it was so awful. Just wanted to vent a little. Apparently there are people who like it because it was about 2:30 in the afternoon and the place was very busy, not packed but a nice size crowd

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  1. baby blues is somewhat well known for being terrible. i've been told that the banana pudding is pretty good, though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: raizans

      Makes me wonder how it ended up on DDD if it is known to be terrible.

      1. re: SIMIHOUND

        Jay Bees BBQ ended up on DDD and they are terrible.

    2. I've tried Baby Blues' Beggar's Banquet feedbag and while ribs and brisket were okay, we found our pulled pork to be pretty bad. It's novice level bbq if you compare it to "the real thing," but is good for what it is. I live in the Westside and now drive out to Bludso's instead - it's worth the drive for great 'que done right.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        I gave them two tries. Some 'Hounders love the place, but not all 'Hounders are created equal. The place sucks. The have something they call burnt ends or something like that - but their burnt ribs which are just that - burnt ribs. Not the chewy, tasting, crunchy bark of properly-done BBQ. The second time I felt humliated; "Screw me once, shame on you, screw me twice..."

        Ridiculous. One wonders - especially if you're in the restaurant biz - how is it that food like that not only survives but thrives? I think because they do thing SO wrong it seems intentionallly creative. Like lightly seasoned beans. It's...rustic!

        1. re: foodiemahoodie

          It's three things, location, location, location. Most people who live in that area, wouldn't know good BBQ, if the smoker ran them over.

          1. re: foodiemahoodie

            >>Some 'Hounders love the place, but not all 'Hounders are created equal.<<

            Oh boy - aristocracy in the discussion of food... Just my .02 - every Hound should be granted their own space for their own tastes. I know of some very respected Hounds who fall in that "love" group. I strongly respect your posts as well as poster reality check's as well, but I think it would be a pretty boring food world if everyone agreed on one specific standard for each category of food - BBQ is one of them. Some folks love smoke while other don't. Some prefer fall-off-the-bone, while others wan't to gnaw on their bones. Don't even get started on what regional style is at the top of the heap. It verges on talking politics or religion. On this board, traditionalists have a strong tendency to pounce on and pull a "Dodger Stadium Parking Lot Send-Off" on folks with a different view. This stifles good meaningful conversation.

            So does geographic elitism. I have a buddy who does a mean smoked brisket and ribs at home (the whole process takes about a week) - my fingers smell of smoke - good smoke - days after enjoying his 'que. He lives in the "Most people who live in that area, wouldn't know good BBQ, if the smoker ran them over" area and likes BB as well. I think he'd take exception to remarks like that and I'm sure others do as well. I think the lack of great BBQ joints is a matter of economics, culture and tolerance for smoke by surrounding residents - this speaks of LA in general. It's just not a hot bed for traditional BBQ.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Baby Blues stinks. Their pulled pork was like something I would get at a hospital cafeteria. Went there once and thought it was terrible. Did give them another chance later since I love BBQ. Guess what? Still terrible.

              Of course there is elitism when discussing food on a blog. That's the whole point. And some places are just bad. Especially with BBQ. In fact, I would say most BBQ places aren't good. I"ve been all over the country eating BBQ and have been to some terrible places. But finding those needles in a haystack are worth the trouble.

              1. re: bsquared2

                >>Of course there is elitism when discussing food on a blog. That's the whole point.<<

                Of what whole point are you speaking of? Discussing food is great. The process of vetting is important so each Hound can hopefully learn and ultimately eat great food as often as possible, based on one's own preferences. My previous post has to do with the statement that I highlighted, as well as the pointed remark about people in certain areas. That is the elitism that I take issue with.

        2. my family friend convinced us to go to this place a while ago on the basis that if it was featured on TV, it has to be good. i disliked place and everything we had. not to mention the rude server.

          1. BBQ Babies sells food that ranges from barely edible to thoroughly disgusting, and I say that not because the taste, texture, and odor are merely wrong but because the food is disgusting (as described in many previous threads). I'd rather have BBQ from a supermarket freezer case than this dreck.

            Los Angeles has dozens of places that are at least one level above disgusting. Why not move up? Unless you're eating just to get calories, you might even think about moving all the way up to Big Mista or Smoke City (especially their "moist brisket"), among a small number of really good stands, joints, and restaurants. For BBQ lovers, it's easy enough if you have a car and a native Californian's attitude toward driving.

            1. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, sounds like they have either gone down hill, or have a kitchen staff that is not very well trained.

              We usually get take out from them, and had them about 4-5 months ago. Macaroni & cheese was wonderful, flavorful, gooey, and not the least bit overcooked, which would explain why the sauce broke on your serving.

              Without getting into all the different ways BBQ can be done, theirs is North Carolina BBQ, which is worlds different than: Memphis, Texas, Kansas City, and most points in between. They do smoke their pork, it is just not dressed in a tomatoey, sickly sweet sauce that most are expecting. Any self-respecting Carolinian knows they use a tart, hot, vinegary type of bbq sauce. Whether or not they actually sauce the meat, I don't know, they do offer a couple of versions of their own tomato-based sauce for you to do yourself.

              Sounds like they have become popular, they have a second joint in WeHo, which some claim is better than the Venice outpost. I have no opinion of that. But perhaps with the popularity came a bit of attitude, but that's the way it is at MANY LA restaurants that shoot to the top really quickly. And those that are nostalgic favorites, that the rest of us transplants don't get - that "we've been doing it this way for X years, don't tell us what to do" attitude. I think the other poster who said it's popular b/c they are not very many BBQ places on the westside is onto something.

              1. I love BBQ and I wanted good BBQ so bad on the Westside that I convinced myself that Baby Blue is ok. The truth is it is not and it has even gotten worse lately. Last two times I was there I got dry, overcooked and burnt ribs. Even if you send them back the whole batch is that way. I have a dream that someday we can get Lockhart Texas (http://www.lockhart-tx.org/web98/visi...) quality BBQ here in Los Angeles. I can dream can't I? Or should I just buy another ticket to Austin on Southwest again?

                Baby Blues BBQ
                444 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                2 Replies
                1. re: wienermobile

                  I know the feeling, wienermobile, having lived many years in Texas (five in Austin) and in other BBQ paradises throughout the South before returning to California. I've been to Lockhart more times than I can remember and especially love Kreuz Market in their modern location and Smitty's in the old building. Thank God for family feuds!

                  Fortunately, LA now has a couple of places whose brisket would be highly competitive in the Lone Star State. For me, Big Mista offers the most-consistently satisfying juicy, crusty brisket (and great spare ribs, contrary to J. Gold's claim that Texans don't do pork), but that shouldn't surprise anyone. Neil Strawder, the owner, is a great cook, and he played football at San Marcos, which is less than 20 miles from Lockhart. Hell, we throw passes that far in Texas!

                  I've also been very glad to find that newcomer Smoke City has outstanding brisket, and the beef ribs and sausages aren't bad, either, although I'm not a fan of the pastrami. Order what their PR genius calls "moist" -- i.e., fatty -- brisket, and you'll get flavorful, juicy beef that puts to shame most of the middle-ranked places on the Texas Monthly Top 50 list that I've been to. Last year, something about their pre-opening publicity rubbed me the wrong way, but these friendly non-Texans convinced me at first bite, and I've been back often. Parked there at a picnic table with jalapenos, Wonder Bread, and great beef spread out on butcher paper, I can almost believe I'm in Austin or Lockhart or Luling.

                  Imagine, on the other hand, an Angeleno sitting down to a Mexican meal far from home, hoping for the comforting flavors of masa, meat, and spice but getting something that tastes like expired taco-in-a-can. I had that experience once in Helsinki and am reminded of it every time I go to places like BBQ Babies. Why bother when you can find exceptional BBQ at Big Mista and Smoke City and very good BBQ at a handful of other places around town?

                  But, as we like to say on Chowhound, each to his own. As far as I know, taco-in-a-can is not illegal -- just keep an eye on that expiration date.

                  1. re: Harry Niletti

                    Harry I also do love Big Mistas brisket, some of the best I've had outside of Texas. And you are right about Kreuz Market, it's sets a very very high bar for me.

                2. Baby Blues is an interesting example of how success can bring great criticism. It was busy and crowded almost from its start several years ago. At the beginning they employed some tattooed and/or pierced servers who embodied the Venice look and laid-back attitude, which appealed to some and turned off others. I have eaten there several times over the years, and have always enjoyed myself. Yes, the BBQ doesn't measure up to Bludso's, but their pulled pork is good and pretty consistent. Yes, part of their success is due to their location and the lack of good BBQ competition in the area, but remember that Bennie's (or whatever it was called) nearby across the street predated Baby Blues and was quickly outshined. Not the best, but not deserving of the vitriol.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nosh

                    I used to live in the area when Bennies arrived. I liked it. In my memory they were better than Baby Blues. I remember Bennies had BBQ lamb shank which was pretty unique and very good. They've morphed into Moria's Ribs & Pies. I don't know when. I haven't been to the former Bennie's in at last five years (with a friend who hated it, but then again he likes dry rub BBQ - and he made me the WORST BBQ I'd every had by leaps and bounds - unedible. He likes the car wash BBQ on Washington Blvd). But in my memory the old Bennies was better than Baby Blues. But that'smoot point now.

                    Has anyone tried Morfias? And what about that "authentic" looking place on Abbott Kinney?

                  2. I'm glad that I read this post because I have never tried Baby Blues but was planning on it. I heard that they have good ribs, which is my favorite.

                    I guess I'll stick to Smoke Star BBQ. They just opened up close to my place so my roommie and I are able to get our food delivered (they have a $30 delivery minimum). Their ribs are really good, so I was glad when I found them. Although, I may still give Baby Blues a try... just to see for myself.

                    Star BBQ
                    16334 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foodess101

                      fwiw, i haven't been to baby blues in almost a year. I went quite a few times when they opened. I think the strongest thing on the menu was the (NC style) pulled pork. They had a great little vinegar sauce on the table that made it quite wonderful. The ribs were dull, the brisket nothing special and some sides were fine - the creative ones (the blue cheese cuban corn things) weren't for me but thecrowd liked them. I'd go just for the pulled pork and lay heavy on the vinegar sauce.