Saturday, October 22, 2005
I Should Probably Watch My Back: Ribs USA, Burbank
*looking over shoulders* OK, look. I'm going to say something that is probably going to earn me a lot of hate mail as soon as I hit "Publish." Ready?
I went to Ribs USA the other day. And really liked it.
OK there, you happy? Now bring it on. I can take it.
More than any other type of food out there, BBQ seems to be what people get the most defensive and competitive about. The Chowhound Los Angeles board will show you: put a post about the "Best BBQ in LA" anyday and there'll be a slew of debate over who has it. Perhaps it's because there is clearly not a multitude of good BBQ places in L.A. Whatever the case, it's like BBQ is somehow connected so someone's manhood or origins, like "If you're gonna fuck with my BBQ, you's better come fuck with me first." Or worse yet, bring up a good BBQ place that everyone else thinks is crap and people will come after you with torches and dogs to hunt you down.
Well, unfortunately for me, Ribs USA is one of those places. It was named by 9 on the Town as one of the Top 9 Rib Places, and though I don't think anyone slammed Ribs USA directly, there were certainly a slew of negative responses to the original post that contained this list. "That list is crap," one guy said. "What a joke," said another. OK, I agree with some of the Hounds...Dr. Hogly Wogly's is crap, and The Pig on La Brea is even crappier, and I haven't been to this so called chain of crap Lucille's Smokehouse, but damn it, I like Ribs USA! I may as well be condemned to chain-restaurant-lover status huh?
Ribs USA is about mismatched wooden tables and chairs, neon beer signs in the windows, plastic beer penants lining the ceilings, TV's with the latest games on, and sawdust and peanut shells on the floor. Not an ounce of pretention in this shack of a restaurant located on Burbank's Olive Avenue. It makes you want to sit down, watch a game, and have a few beers. And not fancy imported beers, mind you; I'm talkin' the domestic stuff--Coors, Miller, or Bud. Grab a complimentary basket o' peanuts, crack those suckers open, toss your shells on the floor, and you're set.
You can toss these shells to the curb (literally!)
So maybe Ribs USA doesn't excel at all of their 'cue. Their beef ribs are a tad on the tougher side (but I feel that way about most beef ribs anyways). Their BBQ chicken seems just like roast chicken with BBQ sauce on it. But their baby backs? Basted in a honey-sweet, smoky and slightly spicy sauce, the meat on these comes right off the bone with a slight pull and yet stays on just enough so that you have something to suck and gnaw on to get every last bit of sauce off. Finger lickin' good, I say.
For lunch recently, my analyst and I split a T-Bird Tyrone's combo, including a half slab of baby backs (or beef ribs if you so choose, but guess which one we chose), 2 hot links and 2 sides. The two hot link sausages were cut in half and butterflied and were hiding underneath our half slab of ribs. No worries--this way, they got all that yummy sauce that dripped off the ribs, and as if they didn't already have a nice spicy kick to themselves, the BBQ sauce off the ribs gave them even more kick.
*slamming knife into slab* I like this food, dammit!
Bitter and salted just right, our side of collard greens were also spicy the way I like 'em, making them far from boring. (Ain't nothing worse than boring collard greens) My analyst and I, however, disagreed on their potato salad. I don't think she likes potato salad in the first place, but let me order them anyways 'cause I'm the boss. They were more on the soft side, but they still had a nice chunky consistency, and if I had to guess what seasoned them I'd say it was 1000 island dressing and pickles, but I could be wrong. All I know is that they were a little creamy, a little tangy, a little sweet and just plain tasty! I can't say the same, however, about Ribs USA's Mac N' Cheese, which our table somehow got extra dishes of. Totally bland, no sharpness whatsoever...it was as if they made this dish with cottage cheese.
You can skip these
Ribs USA also serves pulled pork (which my friend thought was "OK"), tri-tip (which two other people in our party said were really good), hot wings, various sandwiches, burgers, fried catfish, charbroiled shrimp, and salads (but we don't need to know about those, right?).
I'm about to click on "Publish Post," and I've got a jumbo Mag-Lite in hand, just in case.
2711 W. Olive Ave.
Burbank, CA 91505