This Week's Review, The Condensed Version: Bludso's Bar and Que in Hollywood
This week, we review Bludso's Bar and Que, the new barbecue spot that aims to take the magic of the original Compton Bludso's and bring it to the heart of Hollywood. It would be swell if you read the full review. But here's the short version for the attention-impaired.
Anne Fishbein Ribs at Bludso's
Food: The menu is just a shortened version of the original; there are ribs, there's smoked chicken, pulled pork, brisket and plenty of sides. All of which -- the mac and cheese, the baked beans, the collard greens -- taste not only much like the original, but a hell of a lot like what you might get in a side-of-the-road joint in Texas. Some of the meat (the pork in particular) is a tad less tender than the Compton version, and it often arrives room-temp. But that doesn't stop it from being delicious.
Drinks: From the review: "Cocktails are fun, especially the more outlandish and creative ones, like the Jalisco Honey, a mix of gin, mezcal, Campari and Punt e Mes -- basically a smoky Negroni. The old-fashioned was a touch too sweet, as was the julep on tap, but a julep is more about parading your big silver mug of ice around than it is about the drink itself. That was true in the 1800s; it's still true today. They also have the digestif Fernet-Branca on tap, which is hugely helpful once you've stuffed your face with all that meat and pudding."
Space: The space is a broad square that feels almost industrial, with the bar running down one side, and lots of steel picnic tables and big leather booths sourced from Urbano, the downtown pizza parlor that closed late last year. Flat-screen TVs playing various sports channels dot the walls. A few swank details remain from the building's previous incarnation as Mark Peel's cocktail lounge and restaurant, Tar Pit.
Service: Friendly, competent, in a hurry. Food comes out super quickly -- almost suspiciously quickly. I had the wrong thing brought to my table more than once (and once had to argue strenuously to get the runner to take it away and bring us what we ordered), but hey, it's a barbecue joint. If I were the type to worry a lot about that type of thing I'd go elsewhere.
Takeaway: 3 stars (very good). I honestly did not expect this place to be able to replicate the magic of the original Bludso's, and I was pleasantly surprised. It's not perfect, but it's a very good approximation.
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