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Barrel and Ashes

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Is It Any Good?

Well, a lot of people are talking about this Barbecue place in North Hollywood.

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Nothin’ feels better than when you’re in a Barbecue place and, they’re playing the right music on the radio.

While I sympathize with establishments that make sure their audience is comfortable with the latest Top 40 hits, play me some R&B dammit. That’s the music that makes Barbecue feel right,

I am sitting the heart of Barrel and Ashes, the Valley’s latest contribution to Barbecue culture. Barrel and Ashes has come to me highly recommended by people who are in the know with it comes to good food and good eatin’.

But these people ain’t Texansor people who were raised by Texans.

Did I mention that I once flirted with the idea of making the name of this blog “Barbecue Hardass”?? My Parents were born and raised in Texas. It is a State I personally have very little use for, except in the one area in which it excels…Barbecue.

I have been to Barbecue Valhalla. I have visited Barbecue places, and basically what is considered slightly above average faire, and still find myself disappointed whenever there’s a new “must try” spot in California. Barrel and Ashes is not Barbecue Valhalla.

It’s…fine. I could eat here again, and probably avoid the crushing disappointment of…well…

Where do I begin?

Barrel & Ashes

Already one strike against. The Barrel and Ashes “Platter”, which is supposed to be their greatest hits, with Sausage, Pulled Pork, and…Smoked…Chicken?

No Ribs in the platter?

No Brisket?

Oookay.

Barbecue Hard–I’m just setting myself up for disappointment, aren’t I?

Sigh.

To recreate, a proper Texas Trinity (Ribs, Brisket and Sausage), I’d have to get three separate plates of food, and as much girth as I’ve already put on, I ain’t got that much room.

Now, I am pleased that the platter comes with Beans and Greens. Good choices and probably what I would have ordered anyway.

And then comes the second…kinda strike.

No sauce.

Now, this is an area where I might have to give Barrel and Ashes some points, because some Texans believe that good barbecue is only done without sauce.

Again, fine. Okay. I can deal with–

–oh, you have sauce?

Oh, it’s house made…and I have to ask for it?

And it’s…sweet.

Oy.

Yeah, so…that’s how that went.

Barrel and Ashes, a really fine establishment. Looks fun (unfortunately I came here for Lunch). Pretty good cooks working back here, but as a Barbecue joint…for me?

Let’s just say it has a really good soundtrack.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well…

Like I said, I had “The Platter”, which was Sausage, Pulled Pork, and…SmokedChicken. Each meat was prepared to perfection. The Sausage was good. The Pulled Pork was…good, but it had a mustardy quality that made me wonder if someone had been hanging around in South Carolina too much. The beans were sweet and tangy, and very good…as where the greens. Someone in that kitchen does know something about greens.

…and then there was the Smoked Chicken.

Smoked…Chicken. Kinda looked Baked to my eyes.

Barrel & Ashes

Didn’t feel like it belonged on my plate. It felt it it belonged on the plate of someone who was trying to lose weight. In which case, what are you doing here?

The Smoked Chicken was…actually good. Good skin, well-seasoned, tasty, tender as all get out. And it was…

Sorry, it felt out of place to me. Probably should have gone ahead and gotten the ribs.

But the good news is, Barrel and Ashes is not out to gut-bust you. The plate you’ll be served is something you can handle, an appropriate amount of grub.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Yeah, just get the Ribs. If you’re at a Barbecue place, get the Barbecue stuff.

I saw people in there having…salads…

…and I was just so ashamed.

 

PARKING: Hellish. It’s the one main drawback. Barrel and Ashes is parked on some prime real estate along Ventura Blvd. It’s going to get a mess of walk in business from the nearby CBS Studios and all the other businesses around it.

If you’ve got a car and try to go there, you may be screwed.

For lunch your only…and I mean ONLY option is to meter park, and I’m guaranteeing you that by 12 noon, all those meters will be gonzo. The further you’re willing to walk, the more likely you’ll be able to find parking, but…it will be a hike.

I need to come by for Dinner, and (after trying one of their house cocktails), see what kind of Valet service they have, because that could make all the difference for you.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
Barrel and Ashes
11801 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604

Tel: (818) 623-8883

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:00 – 10:00 pm
Saturday: 8:30 am – 10:30 pm
Sunday: 8:30 am – 10:30 pm