Photo by Scott Mercer
Huston’s Pit BBQ has stood on Cahuenga Boulevard, just south of Hollywood Boulevard, since World War II; an undistinguished, narrow cinder block shack squatting in the broiling California sun. As one of the few places to get barbecue of any sort in the central Hollywood area, and staying open until late in the night, the place is providing a valuable service to club-hoppers and tourists alike.
Their décor is not going to win any awards. The place was probably last redone when The Brady Bunch were still trying to deal with the impending arrival of Cousin Oliver. The fake-woodgrain formica tabletops, plastic fast-food chairs, and faded movie posters on the walls (mandatory for Hollywood area restaurants; I think there’s a city ordinance) all dated prior to 1975 prove it. But then, when it comes to barbecue, some people like a down-and-dirty location to chew their ‘cue, the divier the better. Those people will feel right at home here.
Fortunately, Luis, the owner, does give you something of quality to chew. The dinner plates come with cole slaw (outstanding, just a little bit sweet), baked beans (done to a turn), and a (briefly) grilled French roll (just there to soak up your sauce, nothing more). You can get chicken, beef ribs or pork ribs for about nine bucks, quite reasonable for these here times. BBQ sandwiches are only $5.50, and BBQ salads are even on offer. No bottled soft drinks or beer were available: just a styrofoam cup filled from a corporate soda fountain. Ugh.
They claim “delicious meats slowly cooked to perfection over real wood.” I’ll give them that. The chicken I had was indeed cooked to perfection, done through and just on the cusp of retaining its natural juices. Beef ribs were nicely charred but not burned. Just one problem with the chicken: the fairly good barbecue sauce (lots of molasses, no heat) was applied only after plating. That’s right: meats were cooked naked. Not marinated, no sopping, no slopping. That may be a problem for some people, but I don’t mind it too much. Makes for a less messy dinner. It also allows a person to taste the meat better, and, in the end, isn’t the meat what we’re all here for?
FOOD: 4 out of 5
ATMOSPHERE: 1 out of 5
SERVICE: 1 out of 5 (order at the counter, pick up your plastic tray)
VALUE: 4 out of 5
Huston's Pit BBQ, 1620 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, California 90028 Phone (323)464-3972 Fax: 323-464-3416