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Gus's BBQ (South Pasadena) - Review

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Gus's BBQ (South Pasadena) - Review

The Oracle | Apr 29, 2008 11:04 AM

We ventured to Gus's last night for the first time since their opening...

The place was about 1/2 full - no one sitting in the front area, but the back section was almost full - lots of people at the bar watching the Laker game (but not overly crowded or loud). The space is very pleasant (great lighting - not too bright, not too dim) - and the booths are SO comfortable (and offer privacy). I thought they did a great job with the space.

On to the food....

The portions are generous - you certainly shouldn't go away hungry.

Apps: We ordered the buffalo wings. My dining companion loves him some buffalo wings. I usually eat one and am set. The wings came out - nice presentation... I let my dining companion go first... he ate one full wing and declared his mouth was on fire. I didn't really believe him, so I took a bite... indeed - these things were inedibly spicy. After one bite, my mouth was burning (and I can typically handle spicy foods!). In all my years of eating, I'm trying to recall a time where I sent a dish back... and I can't. I usually just suck it up and decide never to order it again - but these wings were RIDICULOUS. We called the waitress over and told her about it. She said that she couldn't eat them either because they were so hot and she thought they had changed the recipe.... she took them away and we ordered the spinach artichoke dip instead.

About a minutes later, our mains came out.... which was REALLY quick, I thought...

We ordered a full rack of baby back ribs (with sides of potato salad and carrots/snap peas, and the mac n' cheese (which is an entree by itself).

The ribs: The meat just FELL off the bone and was very tender and succulent. They made a mistake and gave us a 1/2 rack of each type (they have spare ribs with a dry rub and the baby backs with their bbq sauce). I first started with the spare ribs, and since my tongue was still on fire from the wings, the spice in the dry rub only made the heat hotter. They were still good and I could imagine if my mouth were not already on fire, it wouldn't have been so spicy.

The baby back's were much better - the sauce sweeter - and at this point, I was just thankful they weren't spicy. I wasn't wow'd by the sauce though... but, again, it didn't set my mouth on fire, so I was happy. I was glad to have the chance to try both types of ribs.

The side of potato salad side was our saving grace, as it calmed the 'fire' feeling in my mouth. The carrots/snap peas were cooked fine and were good.

The mac n cheese was disappointing - the description of it sounded so yummy - it's 3 cheese w/ applewood bacon. There were such miniscule bits of bacon in the dish, it was comical (maybe 6 or 7 little pieces total). I was expecting a dish like the Yard House serves, but it was nothing like it and lacked oomph in the flavor dept. I also think the size of the macaroni could have been slightly larger, given the size of the dish (it was regular elbow mac, served in a large bowl).

The artichoke dip came out as we were digging into the meal. A crock of piping hot dip with a clump of cheese that was still bubbling. My dining companion liked it much better than I did. It was too hot (temperature this time) to eat - and I found that as it cooled, it congealed together in a big lump, rather than being a dip. I also didn't think it had much flavor to it (but maybe that's because I couldn't taste anything at this point).

I have to say, if there was a 'wait' to get in, I would have been very disappointed with the experience. But, since it's a neighborhood joint for me, I plan to give it another shot and try their burgers (which looked good as they were served to other tables) and the brisket.

Service - the bus boys were on top of it and very friendly and helpful. One of the managers came by as we were first settling in and was a little too much - she kept repeating how lucky we were to not have to wait for a table ... I'm happy for them that they got a lot of business from the recent press... but was our lack of wait supposed to make the food taste better? And, for as long as she overstayed her welcome to chat up the place (talking about how everything was made from scratch, how much she loves meat, etc.), she never came back to hear what we thought afterwards...

The damage: 1 app, 2 mains, 1 glass of wine: $59 pre-tip.

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