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REVIEW: Studio Bar-B-Q

PRSMDave | Mar 26, 2002 04:43 PM

Studio Bar-B-Q
In the 11300 block of Moorpark Ave., east of Tujunga
North Hollywood

After the barbecue thread I started a day or two ago took off, I decided to head for our closest barbecue joint. Now, by barbecue, I mean Southern Barbecue, not $ETHNIC barbecue (Thai, Korean, etc.)

I did not really have time to eat in so I can't give you much on the service, but I can dish on the food.

The building is squat and features a sign with a pig wearing an apron. There is a parking lot in the back. What a shame the workers who were painting the building had parked their pickup trucks so that nobody else could fit into the lot. Parking is available on streets until 9:00 pm (it's permit parking, so unless you live in preferential parking district #81, forget it).

The inside isn't very interesting. Red vinyl booths and wood chairs and tables, not exactly interesting, but functional and mercifully free of the license plates, comical cartoon pigs, and general kitsch that seem to be staples of barbecue joint décor.

There is an all-you-can-eat lunch option ($8.95) with purchase of a soft drink, but since I wasn't eating in, I ordered an entree off the menu. Entrees come with soup or salad, two sides, and a dinner roll.

The lady at the front did not speak sufficient English to take my order and, flustered, went to find the manager so I could order.

I ordered the sliced pork plate with extra sauce on the side, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and an a la carte order of hush puppies. Total cost: $19. I waited about 15 minutes, and was given my bag.

When I got home, I realised I should have checked before leaving. There was no salad or soup. There was no extra sauce. There were, however, two dinner rolls with butter melted in its packets and honey. (That is one of my pet peeves - put the butter ELSEWHERE, dammit!) So my packet contained the pork, the rolls, the corn, a pickle, the coleslaw, and that's it.

When I opened the tray with the pork, I saw that some barbecue sauce had been lovingly and artistically dabbed on the pork.

Huh?! Barbecue isn't about beautiful plating and artistic dribbles of sauce! It should be a mess! There was maybe a tablespoon of sauce for six slices of pork. And of course, my extra sauce had gone missing somehow. What sauce there was, however, was quite tasty and slightly vinegary, as Carolina barbecue is wont to be.

The food itself was mostly quite tasty. The hush puppies had nuggets of corn and jalapeño in them and were pleasantly prickly. The dinner rolls, once I managed to get the butter and honey on them, were unremarkable but tasty. The pork itself was well-cooked, hot, and had been treated with a good rub. The barbecue sauce, as above, was tangy, the way I like it - if only there'd been about three times as much!

The coleslaw was odd. Where I come from, coleslaw is normally creamy and contains white cabbage and maybe some shredded carrots. This was more like an over-dressed Thai salad minus the peanuts. The dressing was quite sweet. It was tasty, but it wasn't my idea of coleslaw.

Now we move on to the corn. The corn was an absolute chaloshes. Disgusting. It had obviously been left to soak in the water for hours. Now, I'm fine with gushy corn at BBQ joints as long as the gush has some flavour. This didn't. All the corn flavour had been leached out by the unseasoned water in which it had been boiled. It takes a lot for me to refuse to eat something, but I refused to touch the corn after the first bite and one confirmatory bite. Ugh.

I'm so disappointed. Their meat is correct and is neither underdone nor overdone, and that's the heart of truly great BBQ. If they would just change some things (and GET THE ORDER RIGHT) they'd have a first-class operation going there. For $19, though, that should have been one hell of a meal. It's not like barbecue is made from ingredients that you can't find all over the country or something, and it's not like they cost THAT much more here than elsewhere.

I'll probably go one more time when I have time to eat in and just make sure that it wasn't a fluke, but as of right now my recommendation is for you to go over to Dr. Hogly Wogly's.

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