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My friend and I were driving to Costco in Marina del Rey but wanted to stop for lunch first. We stumbled upon a nondescript restaurant called Baby Blues BBQ. I love BBQ, so we decided to take a chance on the joint. We were not disappointed!

The Ambiance

Baby Blues BBQ exteriorBaby Blues BBQ is located at 444 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice and Sunset Ave. They have another location in West Hollywood.

The appearance from the street is unimpressive. It has bright blue awnings that make it look more like a patio furniture store than a restaurant.

There are three sets of doors, only one of which actually works!  Use the one closest to the street corner (and avoid looking like an idiot trying to open the other two doors, like I did).

Once you step inside, the situation improves. You feel like you’ve been transported to a small town BBQ joint in North Carolina. There’s corrugated aluminum siding on the walls, and photos of all kinds of celebrities and random other nick-nacks on the walls. It’s definitely an “informal date” type of place and not at all “L.A.” – refreshing!

Baby Blues BBQ interior

Baby Blues BBQ interior

The Food

One of the most important questions to ask at a BBQ place is “what style of BBQ is it?” Baby Blues’ website describes it as a hybrid, “featuring a Memphis-style rib, a dry-rubbed babyback, brisket and pork that are slow-smoked in Guinness beer, and a sauce that hails from the western region of North Carolina.” Hmm.. sounds good to me!

I ordered the Sliced Brisket, featuring “Black Angus beef, pepper crusted, slow smoked for 14 hours” with a side of cole slaw and potato salad. My friend ordered the pulled pork “smoked with Guinness Beer” with a side of beans and coleslaw. We couldn’t wait!

At every table was a selection of several BBQ sauces in plastic bottles, including Porno XXX (hot), Ginger Tabasco, BBQ, and Sweet. I noticed that all of the sauces were rather thinner than what you would find in sauces that you buy at a grocery store. This is consistent with a Carolina BBQ sauce, as opposed to a Kansas City style thicker sauce.

BBQ sauce selection at your table

BBQ sauce selection at your table

The food arrived very quickly and looked delicious. I went with the standard BBQ sauce first, slathering my first slice of meat with it. The brisket was fantastic; super tender – some of the tenderest brisket I’ve had. I really liked the pepper rub.

Baby Blues BBQ brisket

Baby Blues BBQ brisket

I ended up trying all four of the BBQ sauces and liked them all! I think I liked the Porno XXX the best, but it was a bit too hot to have for the whole meal.

I tried the pulled pork and fell in love with that as well.

My friend said the beans were incredible. She was less impressed with the cornbread, but I really liked it. I thought the cole slaw and potato salad were decent.

Prices and Service

The prices were reasonable given the high quality, with the pork at $14.95 and the brisket at $17.85. Portions were fairly big and I was stuffed afterwards.

The service was decent and friendly. The food came out very quickly. It took a while to get our check, but we were so satisfied, we didn’t really care.

The Verdict

Overall, I found out why many people claim Baby Blues BBQ is the best BBQ on the West Side. I am a believer! There is also a Baby Blues BBQ West Hollywood location.

Once you get past the gaudy exterior, you will be transported to the hills of North Carolina where you’ll be having some of the most authentic BBQ around. While it’s by no means a formal date place (they don’t even take reservations), you’ll definitely enjoy the food here. I imagine there will be a line to get in during peak periods, so be patient. It will be worth the wait!

What is your favorite BBQ place in Los Angeles and Orange County? Please comment below! – Brian


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