Monday, August 18, 2008

Mr. Cecil's California Ribs

Mr. Cecil's California Ribs
13625 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, California 91423

In the book "Charles Kuralt's America," the author writes: "There may still be a law on the books in North Carolina that if you don't cook it over hickory logs, you can't call it barbecue." I was reminded of that while eating at Mr. Cecil's, which was just about the worst "barbecue" experience I have had in the L.A. area. There is no way this food was cooked in a smoker. It had to have been (over)cooked in an oven.

My brother and I started with some hot links. They were decent. Nothing special, but edible. Things got worse from there. I got a pork sandwich that was probably the driest sandwich I have ever eaten. This was surprising, as there were several giant chunks of fat strewn about the meat. But even after I picked those out (and that took a while; there was a lot of fat) the sandwich was inedible.
My brother's ribs were also overcooked. They were charred on the outside and completely dry. I would be embarrassed to serve this kind of food at a backyard barbecue, let alone to paying customers. The barbecue sauce on the table was very good, and the fries were great. But I had not driven out to the Valley for fries. Now I understand why I have heard so many people say negative things about this place.

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