Whoever says vegetarians hate BBQ joints, steak houses and burger stands has never met… well… me! I’m not enthused to know my pennies support these temples of the flesh, but such establishments produce consistent, high-quality, vegetable sides and sizzling condiments. Besides, when planning our monthly Serious Eats MeetUp, it’s not always about what I want.
So, what does a vegetarian eat at a barbecue restaurant? Let me tell you…
At Baby Blues it’s all about “The Side Car,” any four sides with a slice of their molasses sweet cakey corn bread ($13.95). When it comes to barbecue, I always stick with the classics: mac and cheese, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. The creamy Mac and Cheese was a point of contention at the table. With a plasticy finish—that can only be attributed to processed cheese product—it left a contentious note in the mouths of the seasoned home chefs at the table. But for a high-brow/low-brow diner-outer like me, the fakeness is a subversive indulgence, not an offense. On the other hand, the Creamed Spinach leaned a bit too far into the healthy zone. The fresh full leaves of iron rich spinach—wilted in a watery cream bath—didn’t offer the buttery mouth coating experience I expect from this side dish. The Mashed Potatoes also lacked the fatty richness I never dare to add to my homemade smashed potatoes. The light grainy texture was saved with a hardy dosing of Baby Blue’s housemade hot sauce, but what good are restaurant potatoes if they don’t contain obscene amounts of cream/butter/salt?!
So, I guess as far as side dishes go these are not exemplary examples—except in the case of the corn. As my wild card side, I blindly ordered the Blues on the Cob. My intrepidness was graced with two succulent logs of grilled sunny kernels under a snow drift of cotija cheese and a slice of lime. Cheese + lime + corn = perfect!
My meaty companions ate a bunch of meaty dishes. How was it? I don’t know… I don’t care… but they seemed to like it. It’s going to get real bloody from this point on. You’ve been warned!
Baby Blue’s BBQ
444 Lincoln Blvd
Venice, CA 90291