An electrical warehouse isn't the first place you might look for good barbecue. But for Smokin' Warehouse Barbecue owner Bill Lee, his warehouse was the perfect mix of expansive size and industrial chic. Since 2010, that's where he and his staff of 10 have spent their days slow-cooking cuts of meat, from barbecue-slathered chicken quarters to their specialty beef brisket. They spend up to 10 hours smoking and cooking each slab of brisket, helping to infuse the meat with zesty flavors without requiring cows to graze in fields of jalape?os. But the warehouse's chefs don't just follow classic barbecue recipes. They also play with ingredients to create unique hybrids such as chicken-tender sandwiches topped with barbecue sauce and burgers piled high with tender pulled pork and crispy onion rings. The fruits of their labor are sold from the warehouse as well as a food truck; follow the food truck's whereabouts here.
How it Works: Servers bring meats and veggies directly to diners, who use smokeless tabletop grills to cook their meals. Once each savory component is grilled to your preferred level of doneness, it’s customary to dip it into one of the restaurant’s signature sauces.
The Vibe: Copper awnings and pillars welcome diners into a tranquil space surrounded by cherry-wood walls and artwork.
Yakiniku: a Japanese term referring to grilled meats; at a traditional yakiniku restaurant, diners cook these meats tableside.
Chances are, the chefs at Memphis Minnie’s have begun preparing your food long before you order it. That’s not because they’re clairvoyant. Rather, the St. Louis style smoked ribs, Memphis sweet-smoked pork, and Cajun Andouille sausages—to name just a few—are slow cooked for up to 18 hours before they ever touch a plate. Purists to the core, the barbecue masters here forego all gas and electrical contraptions in favor of white oak logs, which give each slab of meat a smoky flavor and succulent tenderness that led the Los Angeles Times to call it “some of the best barbecue on the West Coast.” Memphis Minnie’s supplements their meaty offerings with a large selection of made-from-scratch sides that stay true to their Southern allegiances better than a broken compass. Macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, and cornbread muffins add starchy decadence to the hearty plates of barbecue. The desserts—which are also made from scratch—include fried peach pie and smoked-pecan bacon brittle, ideal for those who are craving something sweet but not yet ready to veer away from the smoker.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings the island to the mainland with tender meats soaked in made-from-scratch marinades. Chefs hand roll chicken katsu in panko bread crumbs to give it a fresh, crispy texture, and assemble generous portions of crispy shrimp, island whitefish, and barbecue chicken in the seafood mix.
The cooks at Smokey J's prep handmade, slow-smoked barbecue dishes, making their own sauces and sausages in-house. They rub meats with brown sugar and a secret house spice rub. Pulled pork and brisket are slow-smoked for 12 hours in a medley of maple, mesquite, and whiskey barrel wood chips, and collard greens and baked beans simmer in a chicken and pork broth. Zesty spices and sauces augment many of the meats, such as the piquant North Carolina sauce and the house dry rub.
Big Jim’s BBQ entrances diners with a menu of tempting contemporary and barbecue cuisine arranged by chef Jim Modesitt. Like the annual westward migration of wood-smoking grills, the sauce-slathered bill of fare unites gourmet California treats with rustic southern cooking traditions, pairing juicy pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and brisket with hearty risottos, traditional cornbreads and beans, assorted cheeses, and crostinis. As clients sup on the tasty bounty or enroll in courses to learn the dark arts of cookcraft from the kitchen’s professional chefs and caterers, rich flavors and aromas lavish the nose and palate with a sensory celebration of fine food.