The smell of smoking mesquite has often called to me long before the restaurant sign is visible from the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills .
I decided to start out the 7in7 with what to me was an unknown, a stranger among friends. Not a complete stranger, but one that I have seen around So Cal many times. There are several locations scattered around Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties. Although I have often wanted to, I had never stopped in. Today, I am pleased to say that the silence has been broken. Today is the day that I was formally introduced to Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill. The humble exterior of this BBQ restaurant did not match the interior, which was refined and expansive.
The restaurant was surprisingly popular for a Sunday afternoon. Not necessarily packed, but popular. I tried to pick a time when taking a couple of photos wouldnâ€™t be conspicuous or intrusive to other diners. Oh well, luckily it was darkâ€¦ not so lucky from a photography point of view. Lets just say that the photos came out moody.
Lets get on to the food. No appetizers were ordered in view of the fact that we were going with the combos and they both came with two sides. They also offered up some complementary garlic rolls, which were hot and very garlicky. My wife beat me to the punch and ordered the tri tip roast & baby back rib combo. Drat! I was a little disappointed that they didnâ€™t offer BBQ spare ribsâ€¦ Iâ€™ll get over it. I wanted to mix it up a bit so I ordered the BBQ chicken & western beef rib combo. We had decided to order four different side dishes so that we could sample the variety and offer a fair evaluation.
The tri tip was pretty damn good (I understand why itâ€™s their signature item), very tender, smoky and scrumptious. They say in their menu that it is slow-roasted overnight. Hot. The baby back ribs were tasty, meaty and delightful. There BBQ sauce favored the baby back ribs quite well. The BBQ beef ribs were nice and tender. Although beef ribs arenâ€™t my favorite BBQ item, these were quite agreeable. The Wood Ranch BBQ chicken was pretty moist and for the most part good; it did lack a little seasoning. Nothing a little bit of salt and BBQ sauce couldnâ€™t handle.
We were very pleased with the quality of their side dishes, which were skillet-baked beans, smashed sweet potatoes, peanut coleslaw and mesquite-grilled corn. The coleslaw was a perfect complement to the BBQ as well as the smashed sweet potatoes, which straddled the fence between sweet and savory. They were my wifeâ€™s favorite. The baked beans were tasty as was the grilled corn.
Overall we enjoyed our meal the Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill and will probably visit again soon. I canâ€™t say that I agree with the reviews, which state that this restaurant offers the â€œbestâ€ BBQ in Southern Californiaâ€¦ that is TBD. But, Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill does have good BBQ. Aside from dine-in and a full bar, they offer a take-out menu with 10-minute take-out parking right in front.
Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill BBQ sauce
BBQ baby back ribs and tri tip combo with coleslaw and baked beans
BBQ beef ribs and BBQ chicken combo with mesquite grilled corn and mashed sweet potatoes
Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
The Grove (LA)
Rancho Santa Margarita