From the bustling streets of Times Square to the equally vivacious streets of Hong Kong, people walk around with smiles after enjoying the japanese barbecue cuisine at Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant has more than 700 locations worldwide, each rooted in the belief that some of the strongest bonds between friends are forged at the dinner table. Groups dine on a huge variety of Japanese dishes, from popular meat and veggie dishes such as Harami Skirt Steak, Kalbi Short Rib, and Mushroom Medley - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Pork Gyoza Dumplings, and Chicken Karaage. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, grilled ahi tuna, or chicken with basil sauce until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.
From under the grill at Britt's BBQ, flames reach their flavor-enhancing tendrils up to barbecue-glazed ribs, tender pork shoulders, and skewers loaded with fresh veggies, infusing the whole menu of barbecue eats with their smoky essence. Grill-savvy chefs fill sandwiches, entree platters, and fresh salad greens with cuts of brisket, ribs, and chicken as guests order, resulting in hot meals fresher than a daisy on laundry day. A flavorful assortment of sides and freshly squeezed lemonade enhances the sensory experience of barbecue feasts, surrounding entrees with verdant slivers of cucumber salad, herb-speckled chunks of potato salad, and scoops of beans glistening in pools of barbecue sauce.
When Danny Fischer and Rick McCarthy first settled into Los Angeles, they missed the tradition of authentic, Southern-inspired barbecue. In an ode to their meat-loving identities, they cracked open a bottle of bourbon and swapped some of their favorite family recipes. Baby Blues BBQ may have been conceived right then, but the work was only beginning. Rick and Danny ventured on a road trip that led them to the barbecue capitals of Carolina, Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, St. Louis, and New Orleans. They learned authentic preparations, meat sourcing strategies, and how locally grown produce can make a dish truly shine. In 2004, Baby Blues BBQ opened its doors boasting a home-style vibe and an all-star roster of smoked meats.
Their different backgrounds and regional techniques form what Danny and Rick call hybrid barbecue. Here's a rundown of all the regions represented on the menu.
Memphis: Though Danny is hesitant to call any single item on Baby Blues BBQ's menu its specialty, the Memphis ribs certainly stand out. Prepared in the St. Louis style?with the fat and brisket bone cut off?they're dry rubbed with a mixture that's half brown sugar, half 19-spice blend. After slow smoking for about five hours, which chars the rub into a crispy bark, the ribs are grilled until they sizzle.
North Carolina: The aforementioned Memphis ribs are finished with a light wash of sauce. Like all of Baby Blues' made-from-scratch sauces, the sauce uses a traditional North Carolina vinegar base. Pulled-pork sandwiches are also a nod to North Carolina recipes, though Danny puts his own spin on them by smoking the shoulder meat in Guinness.
Texas: The Texas-style beef ribs are, perhaps predictably, significantly larger than the Memphis ribs. They're big, rich, and marbled, yet still delicate enough to be dismantled with a fork.
The Gulf Coast: Although the menu is brimming with barbecue meals, it also includes seafood dishes. Grilled shrimp are topped with a New Orleans?style r?moulade, and the catfish filet is seasoned with Cajun spices and encrusted in cornmeal before it is blackened in a cast-iron skillet.
The aroma hits you first. It could be the brisket fresh off the smoker, or the candied yams carmelizing similar to how grandma use to make them. No matter the dish, D's Original Take Out Grill makes sure it's menu carries the soulful essence of owners Damon and Wendy Stalworth's southern roots. He whips up Louisiana-style chicken sausages, and coats St. Louis-style ribs in a sauce inspired by his grandmother's recipe, which is now sold at Whole Foods. Diners can also enjoy the signature sauce on wings or take bottles of the sauce home to paint edible murals on open walls.
Huston's Texas Pit Bar-B-Cue’s cooks slow-roast meats over real wood, continuing barbecue traditions that date from the restaurant’s opening in 1944. Diners lounge at small wooden tables near large windows, chewing through barbecue sandwiches full of sliced beef, pulled pork, chopped chicken, or other barbecued specialties from an extensive menu. Sliced or chopped meats can also be purchased by the pound, then hauled home to feed a ravenous crowd of dinner guests or flock of waist-high baby birds.
At Smoke Star BBQ, every cut of meat is slow-smoked and slathered with house-made barbecue sauce. Smoked pulled pork, baby-back ribs, chicken, and beef brisket come à la carte, accompanied by two sides and bread, or layered between buns. Sides such as potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw accent meaty entrees, creating full meals for dining in, delivery, or catered events such as birthday parties or anti-Arbor Day demonstrations.:m]]