Sweet Carolina

Baby Blues BBQ brings East Coast barbecue to WeHo

The way the crowds are converging on the new outpost of Baby Blues BBQ, you'd think West Hollywood has never had good barbecue before. That's not entirely true (Zeke's Smokehouse is less than a mile away), but the big food, kitschy decor and sassy vibe are packing the house. And we found the best time to hit the sauce: lunch.

As fans of the Venice original know, the owners proudly call this a "hybrid" 'cue with no allegiance to any one region, but the dry-rubbed ribs and vinegary sauces skew more southeast than southwest in flavor. All meats are smoked on premises and finished on the grill; a little extra char maybe isn't the most traditional, but it's quite good. Spike the long-bone pork ribs ($18.50)–or our favorite, the baby backs ($19.50)–with the spicy three-chile "XXX" sauce for the full effect. The stuff is even good on golden, cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes ($8).

Because lunch is less busy with swift, friendly service, it's a great time to go. If barbecue is too heavy for daytime, a sandwich like blackened catfish smothered in creamy coleslaw ($11.50) is considered "light" by some standards. Smoky, tender chicken with a side of greens and sautéed okra ($15) couldn't hurt, either.

Baby Blues BBQ, 7953 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 323-656-1277 or babyblueswh.com