Moving has its pros and cons. Packing takes forever, dollars fly out of your pocket, and you get emotional after finally throwing out the corkboard collage that’s been through every apartment with you since freshman year of college. But once you’re out of your old place, now comes the excitement of building something completely new.
Restaurants also face pros and cons when moving or expanding. Take Trudy’s Underground Barbecue, which was never really a restaurant, but a one-man barbecuing sensation who earned local legend status for smoking brisket and other meats for whoever was willing to line up in his Studio City driveway. The man behind the smoker has since outgrown his yard and opened his own restaurant called Slab, an order-at-the-counter spot in Beverly Grove. We were concerned that the barbecue at Slab would lose its backyard appeal - it hasn’t. Slab’s space might be new and fresh, but the focus of this fully realized restaurant has remained entirely on the food.
Whether you’ve been a fan since the beginning or you’re just hearing about Slab now, know that their brisket put them on the map. But after you leave Slab on 3rd, the spare ribs will be the topic of discussion when you text that one friend who you always text after a great meal. Dry-rubbed and chopped right in front of you at the counter, the meat on these bones doesn’t even require chewing. The brisket is still very good, but it’s the ribs that have achieved black belt status.
Then there are all the brand new items that we never saw in Studio City - frito pies, turmeric potato salad, and mac and cheese that’s better than our grandma’s. Slab could’ve just phoned in some sides to justify calling itself a barbecue restaurant, but instead, it’s built out a menu that goes toe-to-toe with other spots in the city.
Slab’s space might not have backyard charm, but the food is as straightforward as it gets - a genuine relief considering they landed on a street best known for mediocre brunch cafes and neon dessert shops. You order at the counter, find an empty table, and eat your barbecue in peace. It’s an efficient operation where the food is still what matters most. Now you just get all the extra pros that come along with it.
The spare ribs are our favorite thing at Slab and among the best ribs we’ve eaten in LA. Each one is packed with meat and the dry rub on the outside gives everything a smokey, fragrant flavor. No one looks good eating ribs in public, but this is your moment and nobody else’s.
The brisket is what Slab is famous for, and while it’s very good, we would double-down on the ribs first. If you do order it though, be sure to eat it first - it tends to dry out the quickest at the table.
This is the only sandwich on Slab’s menu (aside from a pastrami special only served on Mondays). It’s very good and involves brisket, cole slaw, and BBQ sauce all stacked on a sweet Hawaiian bun. Consider it a must-order especially if you’re taking it to-go.
Mac and cheese is one of those items that’s easy to make good and incredibly difficult to make great. Slab’s mac and cheese is great. It’s not some crazy modern take, just macaroni, cheese sauce, and exactly the right amount of shredded cheddar on top. And by that we mean a healthy handful.
We’ve had better frito pies in LA, but if you’re in the mood for homemade chili over of a basket of fritos, you won’t be disappointed.
If it’s not clear by now, a meal at Slab is a heavy affair. And after several pounds of meat and mayo-based sides, you need something sweet to cleanse your soul. Get the pecan pie bar. It’s the perfect combo of sweet and savory, and not so big that you regret ordering it.