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Robin's BBQ (Pasadena): our first time...

silence9 | Sep 12, 200512:08 PM

Greetings... For me, there really is no bad BBQ, in the way that there really is no bad pizza (the exception being: the use of tainted ingredients, in which case it is simply bad 'food'). This culinary philosophy serves no good purpose to anyone but myself, and can be downright probelematic when dining with others of a much more discerning bent. All this is but preamble to qualify my dubious opinions as a BBQ consuming hack. I enjoy both BBQ and what passes for BBQ... So we headed out to Robin's on Sunday afternoon to pleasantly find parking directly out front and no lines within (though by 6:00 p.m., a crowd had formed). As other's have noted, Robin's is a theme-restaurant based around BBQ. The servers are friendly and easy going and seem to genuinely want you to 'get it' while there. Food arrived quickly. Wanting to sample as much as possible, I ordered the Garbage Can Platter for $24.95, it being all the name implies by way of quantity. On the 'lid' I received: 4 tender baby back ribs, 2 meaty spare ribs, 1 large beef rib, 4 thick slices of tri-tip, one large hot link, and a hunk of bbq chicken composed of wing/breast/leg/thigh; choice of one of four sauces; and my sides included the oft touted blueberry cornbread loaf and bleu cheese pecan slaw. Everything listed was good C+ or B- examples of 'que and sides; smoke was detectable, if not overly present, and their standard sauce had a slow tingle. Nothing was falling-off-the-bone tender, but not too resiliant either. The beef rib was rather overdone and though flavorful, yielded little actual meat. I had an entire second meal of left-overs, and I'm a big eater. The bleu cheese pecan slaw is an acquired taste, which I acquired by meal's end. And the cornbread seemed drier than I imagined, but had good corny flavor... The wife sampled everything from my platter, in addition to ordering a cheeseburger w/fries of her own. The cheeseburger was smoky & large, and benefitted greatly from a drizzling of the signature bbq sauce; fries were not terribly crisp but actually tasted of potato... There are many other menu item platters, sandwiches, salads, and desserts (we took home a chocolate cake slice the size of a Doc Marten), but I'd stick with the chicken, tri-tip, and pork/rib items, and wash it all down with good lemonade or beer brands your grand daddy quaffed. I cannot imagine Robin's will draw the obsessive 'que afficiandos in droves, but it will do just fine for the other 90% of the charred protein zombies of which I am an unabashed example. I think it was good, simply because it was easy. Make it easy, and they will come.

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