Los Angeles is slowly getting known for certain delicacies in the food world. We've got some good Mexican food, a great variety of ethnic cuisine, and farm to table menus most other places. What we haven't gotten is our fair share of street cred in the food world. Enter Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly's BBQ Editor. Daniel gets paid to travel around the country and write about BBQ. Yeah, tough job. LA certainly has never been known for BBQ, until Vaughn spent two days here last week and then declared Maple Block Meat Co as having the best brisket in the state of California.
The chef Adam Cole used to be Lindy and Grundy's butcher extraordinaire, breaking down all of their big cuts. He's also spent time at ink and Bazaar. Vaughn marveled at the technique, smokers and process Cole uses at Maple Block. The meat isn't hidden behind the secret kitchen curtain. It's cut right in plain view at a counter where you can sit and watch the magic happen. They will ask if you want your brikset from the lean or fatty side, but I'm assuming if you've come for good BBQ, you know the answer to that question.
The meat has a great, flavorful pepper char on the outside and was mouth wateringly moist on the inside. It's served with a barbecue sauce and a green chimichurri sauce, but frankly, it doesn't need it. If you find yourself talking too much and if the meat begins to cool off, then go for a chimichurri dunk. Better yet, stop talking, and enjoy California's best brisket hot!
Wanting to see what else they're going at Maple Block, we ordered the half chicken, almost just in the name of research to try something else. I'm glad we decided to research as that chicken was truly memorable with great smoke and a super juicy interior. Pickled peaches made for a great stacked bite with the chicken. The white sauce made of mayo and vinegar might sound strange to non-Southerners, but it worked. It worked real well. I was happy to have leftovers of this chicken as it was even better the next day after the flavors had time to develop even more.
Even the sides weren't throwaway. Of course you have to have the homemade buttermilk biscuits. They're all the things they should be - crisp on the outside, light and poofy on the inside, and served alongside a nice honey butter.
The summer salad was even memorable. Crisp vegetables were dressed with the cilantro - parsley chimichurri sauce. That was good use of the chimichurri and that bowl was licked clean.
Even though we only ordered the half chicken (just $16) and the half pound of brisket (a fair $13) we were still full, but again, in the name of research we continued to dessert. There was no way we could turn down banana pudding with peanut butter and, wait for it, bacon. Yup, they threw bacon crumbles right there on top. Another clean bowl.
I appreciated the reasonable prices, the extensive beer list and interesting wine list that we were allowed to sample before ordering a bottle. The Moon Duck red blend was a smooth partner to the food with enough peppery notes to hold up to the smoked meat.
The atmosphere is festive, but not screachingly so. There's a nice wood bar next to the carving station, and also a covered, outdoor patio. I should note that they even have their own parking lot and it's free, but come early as it's not that big.
I'm glad Los Angeles continues to make strides in the culinary world, and kudos to Maple Block Meat Co. for a nod on the best brisket in California. I'll be back for more as they're open for lunch and dinner.
Maple Block Meat Co
3973 Sepulveda Boulevard, Culver City