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Smoky Goodness, Salty Sides, Good Drinks at Bludso's

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Photo by Elizabeth Daniels
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Bludso's Bar & Que on La Brea, from the folks behind The Golden State, essentially stripped out the Tar Pit's grand interior and remodeled it as a more spartan barbecue joint. And it so happens that the barbecue, prepared here by Noah Galuten and based on Kevin Bludso's methods and recipes, outpaces the minimalist decor. For the most part, the acclaim has been pretty universal from critics, though a few detractors remain nonetheless, mostly because of the early issues with consistency, and the higher prices than Compton (isn't that expected?). Here now, a distillation of the various positive and not so positive news from around the web.

The Apple Pie News: "The spice-rubbed brisket and stand-a-fork-in-it mac and cheese require no trappings. But now...Texas-style BBQ can be had in a polished Hollywood sports bar-like spot, complete with mint julep in a silver goblet. Can't swing a gluttonous sampler tray? Might we suggest smoke-infused rib tips, supermoist chicken (the dark horse), pork jowl-studded greens, and butter-rich apple pie, which is baked daily by Galuten's mom." [LAMag]

The Honest Sides News: "I went to the newer Bludso's with some skepticism. I believe that some food is regional and perhaps ought to stay that way...Surprisingly, for the most part the food at the new Bludso's Bar-&-Que is a pretty amazing representation of what you might get at a barbecue shack — in the South or in Compton. The meats are smoky; the sides taste honest. Collards are funky and imbued with vinegar, and the slaw is all fresh, vegetal cabbage crunch, with just the right amount of mayo. Baked beans are smoky and sweet, with enough heft and carmelization to distinguish them completely from the canned variety. The mac 'n' cheese is the closest I've had anywhere to my North Carolina mother-in-law's — tangy, made with real cheese, hearty rather than creamy." [LAW]

The Hit or Miss on the Sides News: "Two types of sauces, Regular and Spicy, were served on the side, which we liked since we were able to control the amount of sauce on the meat. All the meats were perfectly bbq'ed and my favorite meat was the rib tip. The sides were either a hit or miss. We liked the baked beans, coleslaw, and the baked beans but the collard greens was too salty." [LAEats]

The Texas Margarita News: "A really light, refreshing mixture of tequila, limeade, and Pabst Blue Ribbon is a natural with the links and a sultry, summer day." [LAMag]

The Word From Jonathan Gold: "There is a sweet, peppery sauce, but the beef ribs and the coarse sausage don't need it, although the relatively wan pork ribs might. The brisket that issues from those battered smokers is a paradigm of meat, beef that disappears so quickly that, if it weren't for a feeling of satisfying fullness, you might swear that you had less eaten it than dreamed it." [LAT]

The Flavorful But Not Memorable News: "We got ribs, brisket, sausage, corn bread, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and sodas and it hit me with $75. Dang that is a lot for me because I never go that high on a first time visit. Everything was flavorful but not memorable. The ribs had some heat where one of my boys said it was too spicy so he stuck to the brisket. The sausage was good but no heat and the brisket was just okay. The whole experience was okay but nothing worth going back and nothing I would tell my friends or family about." [Yelp]

The Smoky Brisket News: "Smoke-intensive brisket and tender ribs paired with hoppy craft beers and pewter-cup Mint Juleps ($10) poured from a nitro tap: What more could you ask for?" [Tasting Table]

The Decent, But Didn't Knock Socks Off News: "Bottom Line: The food is very hearty, good service but it didn't knock my socks off as most of the reviews suggested it would. It's not bad, I just wasn't crazy about it... All the meat was decent but most of it was warm, not hot. Im not sure if that's how it's supposed to be or not." [Yelp]

The Slow-Cooked News: "All the food's slow-cooked with times running from a long movie (2.5hrs) to a full season of Dexter (12+hrs) in a car-sized smoker... which leads to meats available by the half-pound or full-pound, including legit-smoked insanity like this pulled pork shoulder. Also available -- hot link sausages, and grainy, deliciously fatty brisket, just like grandma used to make, before the coronary and the veganism and the weird thing with her arm." [Thrillist]

The Word From KevinEats: "That being said, I can understand the appeal of the place. I'm not a huge barbeque guy, but this is my style: smoky and slow-cooked, with multifaceted seasonings and a focus on the meat itself and not the sauce. It sorta wants to make me explore the genre further. So Bludso's BBQ is finally out of the 'hood and in LA proper, replete with a smart cocktail program, surprisingly decent service, and a hipsterish vibe." [KevinEats]
· All Good News/Bad News Coverage [~ELA~]

Bludso's Bar & Que

609 North La Brea Avenue, , CA 90036 (323) 931-2583 Visit Website

Bludso's Bar & Que

609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036