A while back had the pleasure of escorting Kevin, a freelance writer for Variety Magazine, to a couple of BBQ joints around Los Angeles. He was on a BBQ odyssey of his own in this great city and I was fortunate enough to accompany him to a couple of his pit stops. He offered me free BBQ in exchange for an open dialogue on this subject. How could I resist?
It was a Tuesday evening and he had decided that we should try Tasty Q on Crenshaw. This was a restaurant that I had never been to, so I was totally down with the idea. We weathered the evening traffic and found ourselves confronted with an affliction common to many BBQ restaurantsâ€¦ irregular hours. For some unspecified reason they are closed on Tuesdays, this wasnâ€™t the best start a BBQ adventure but fortunately we were resourceful. We resorted to an on-the-fly plan B, Bad to da Bone BBQ on Century Blvd., but that will be the subject of another post. We knew that eventually we would have to return to Tasty Q, so we rescheduled for a lunch meeting.
The first thing that I noticed about Tasty Q was the architecture, not as much in a Frank Gehry kind of way, but more of a fast food franchise style. The restaurant is actually housed in an old school Taco Bell building with arched windows and a functioning drive-thru. That is correct, drive-thru BBQ. Sweet! . The exterior is quite unique as it adorned with hand-painted signage informing you of their Louisiana heritage and a mural on the backside depicting the owner deep-frying some turkeys. The architecture is offset by the large weather-beaten road sign which reads â€œT s y Q arbe ue, drive thruâ€ and includes an arrow directing traffic off of busy Crenshaw Ave.
I walked in and noticed that they had a couple of trophies on display. I didnâ€™t know this, but The Beat L.A. FM used to host BBQ competitions for local restaurants from time to time. I donâ€™t think that The Beat L.A. does this contest anymore, but it was nice to see that Tasty Q had acquired a couple of the awards. The lady at the counter was very nice, as was the owner. They had no problem with answering any questions about the menu, their BBQ and the restaurant. I wasnâ€™t sure if it was part of the employee dress code, but everyone behind the counter had on a Bluetooth headset.
The had a pretty good sized menu as well as some specials that were on some hand-written signs placed around the entrance. The one that caught my eye was the lunch special for 7 bucks, which included a spare rib, two beef ribs, chicken links, beans, potato salad and two slices of bread. Sign me up! Keven ordered the same thing but also added in a BBQ turkey drumstick. I hadnâ€™t seen one of those since the Los Angeles County Fair. They do a lot of turkey at this restaurant especially during the holidays when they offer deep fried turkeys. They ask you how you want your BBQ sauceâ€¦ hot, medium, spicy and you-gotta-sign-a-waiver-before-you-taste-this- hot.
Overall, I was impressed with the meal. I started with spare rib, which perhaps wasnâ€™t as tender as I would have liked it to be, but it was still very delicious. Chicken links were lively and flavorful. The herbs that were mixed in with the meat really brightened up the flavor. But links and a rib werenâ€™t the only things on the menu although they could have been. The beef ribs were pretty amazing. They were tender and had a great BBQ flavor to them. The owner had mentioned that he would prefer to use hickory for his smoke flavor, but that getting in here in California is too expensive. I think the oak that he uses is working pretty well for him. The meats were all very good with the smoke flavor.
I was equally impressed with the side dishes as was Kevin. He smiled and said, â€œthese beans are the best that I have had in L.A.â€ The BBQ beans were pretty good; they were flavored with pieces of smoked turkey. Oh, really scrumptious. The potato salad wasnâ€™t no joke either. A splendid blend of seasonings and potatoes, much like recipe that I would make at home to complement a piece of meat that has been cooking for hours. It worked well with the meal.
After we finished eating, we spoke with the owner and he showed us his Ole Hickory smoker in the back of the restaurant. He is very proud of his BBQ as well as his Louisiana heritage. The great BBQ and the personal touch by the owner all contribute to the uniqueness of this restaurant. The turkey menu also sets this restaurant apart from the rest. Overall I was impressed with this restaurantâ€™s BBQâ€¦. and they have drive-thru! How many BBQ restaurants in Los Angeles have a drive-thru? If you do happen to visit, let me know how it goes.
Tasty Q drive-thru window
Lunch Combo plate, super-tasty
BBQ turkey leg
Kevin, knawing on a leg
Tasty Q BarbeQue
(closed on Tuedays)