Thursday, July 02, 2009

Big John's Cafe-Closed

Big John's Cafe
2302 Artesia Blvd
Redondo Beach

WOW what a surprise. Normally I do not reply to emails from restaurants owners to come try their food. But Big John's Cafe emailed me and told me they are serving BBQ, so I did some searching and found that they do not have BBQ on their regular menu. It is only served on weekends. Last weekend they had pulled pork and sliced beef. This week for July 4th, they had ribs!!!! So I made the drive out to Redondo Beach.

I got the St. Louis ribs, $16.95 with cole slaw and creamed corn. The ribs came out and honestly I wasn't expecting much. After all this is Redondo Beach, lily white and their idea of BBQ is Tony Roma's. But I was surprised, these ribs were great. Nice smoked flavor, I belive hickory and maybe apple wood, (I found out Big John's uses hickory and pecans to smoke his meats.) not overpowering at all, just right. Tender meat with a very nice smoke ring, they use hickory and maybe apple wood. The meat was reheated in either a microwave or a warmer, they were very hot to the touch but they weren't finished on a damn grill. Real BBQ should NEVER touch a damn grill. But the meat wasn't dried out at all. Just tender, flavorful meat with almost no fat at all. I would bet that even most ardent baby back ribs fan, wouldn't be able to tell the difference when eating the ribs from Big John's Cafe.

Now two things about the ribs:

BBQ is comfort food. Real knifes and forks and BBQ don't really belong together. Big John's maybe a little too fancy for the BBQ purist. But I'm certainly not going to give Big John's a bad review because the BBQ was served on a real plate with real knives and forks.

The ribs were a bit too sweet, I like some kick on the bark. But otherwise a damn fine example of what real BBQ ribs should be. I would bet Big John's would finish in the top 3 for ribs at any BBQ competition.

Service was good. I hope service was good because that is how they normally treat their customers. But I called to make sure they had ribs, I wasn't driving all the way down to Redondo Beach and they didn't have any ribs. I tried to play it off as though I went last week and had their pulled pork, so I asked 'You do you the pulled pork tonight right? After they said yes, I aske 'What other BBQ meats do you have?" Once they said ribs I was going for sure. I'm not sure if they knew it was me, after I took a picture of the ribs, I didn't take a picture of the outside until after dinner. But service was indeed good. Best of all the server said "I'll bring your change, right away." Very good since it is rude for any server to ask "Do you need change?" It is the server's job to bring change. Though saying I'll being your change right away, is a great way to remind the customer to tell the server to keep the change.

Big John's was pretty slow when I got there. They are not a BBQ restaurant, they have everything from burgers to fish to chicken fried steak. They should make BBQ part of their regular menu, because people will love their ribs.

Make sure to call Big John's to make sure they are serving BBQ but otherwise make sure to stop in at Big John's Cafe, by far the best real BBQ ribs in the South Bay and very high up on the list of best BBQ ribs in LA.