Food

Critic's Choice: Barbecue in Los Angeles

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You probably know your barbecue: Bludso's in Compton for meaty beef ribs; sliced brisket from Phillips in Leimert Park; maybe farmers market fixture Bigmista's platter of pulled pork, ribs, brisket and links. But here are a few lesser-known spots to add to your list, in case of goat-barbecue, Korean-Chinese-mutton-skewer or Argentinian-parrillada cravings.

Gish Bac At David Padilla and Maria Ramos' Oaxacan restaurant, Gish Bac, the weekends are made for goat and lamb barbecue. A third-generation barbacoa specialist, Ramos began learning the trade of goat and lamb barbecue as a 10-year-old in Oaxaca's Sunday market in Tlacolula — one of Mexico's longest-running markets. Barbacoa blanca is pit-roasted lamb scented by avocado leaves and served with an intensely seasoned, meat-perfumed consomme. The barbacoa enchilada is goat roasted over avocado leaves and served in its juices. Every mouthful of goat barbacoa — tender meat infused with intense aromatics — yields the distinct flavors of dried red chiles, cloves and ripe tomatoes.

4163 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 737-5050. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Feng Mao Owner Jin Chun-Hua and her husband hail from China's Jilin province, a northeastern state that borders North Korea, and yang rou chuan, grill-them-yourself Beijing-style spiced mutton skewers, is the restaurant's headliner. Give the mutton an extra dip in an accompanying bowl of a cumin-driven spice mix and it becomes even better. Chicken, squab and quail are on the menu, as are assorted cuts of pork and beef. Most non-mutton skewers are available à la carte, which is good for offal eaters eyeing kidney, heart, liver and even bull penis skewers, the last of which arrives as tough, tiny slices that are best left to Feng Mao's most curious customers.

3901 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 935-1099. Open 11 a.m. to midnight daily.

Buenos Aires Grill The throb of tango music, the sizzle of grilling meat, crowded tables groaning under the weight of portable barbecues loaded with short ribs, sausages and yards of skirt steak that drape over the grills' edges. The restaurant's parrilladas, or mixed-grill meals, are the attraction at this popular Argentinian spot. The parrilla completa includes skirt steak, bone-in short-rib slices, chicken legs and shrimp (easily sufficient for three). Argentines don't mind slightly chewy meat, because most of the flavorful cuts are the leanest and most exercised. They go for asado de tira, Angus short-ribs cut crosswise, or the entraña, Angus outside skirt steak.

8856 Corbin Ave., Northridge, (818) 772-5552; http://www.bsasgrill.com. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

food@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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