For her first review of the year, Besha Rodell gives her take on Maple Block Meat Co., Culver City's much buzzed about barbecue restaurant that comes by way of Adam Cole, who previously worked in the kitchens of The Bazaar and ink. The restaurant recently was on the receiving end of some serious praise, what with Texas Monthly barbecue critic Daniel Vaughn declaring Maple Block's brisket as the best in the state.
B. Rod doesn't disagree with Vaughn, and describes the brisket as "intensely smoky, the ratio of fat to lean meat is just right, and the peppery crust on the outside gives just enough prickly flavor. This brisket is as good as any I've had outside of Texas and far better than 90 percent of what the other 49 states have to offer."
However, it isn't all good news, as the Weekly critic chides the over-sauced chopped pork and pretty much everything else:
And I don't love the sauces, either, particularly that weird, chocolate-tinged red sauce. Sides were hit or miss, too — the mac and cheese tastes suspiciously like the white sauce and has a creamy viscosity that makes me think perhaps it's made with the same mayo base. The greens are fantastic and funky, but when we asked a server for some vinegar to perk them up, he brought us a ramekin of salad dressing. That's the kind of faux pas that makes for good joke material, the kind of comedy that would call into question the entire premise of expecting good things from a fancy barbecue restaurant in Los Angeles. [LAW]
Maple Block Meat Co. receives two stars.