We all go through identity crisis at one time or another, right?
Sometimes you walk into a business, and expect everything to go well. Nothing could not be truer about Lenny’s Smokehouse BBQ in Chatsworth. As I pull into the parking lot, and am greeted by the pit-master, I just knew everything would be alright.
I walked in without a reservation, and Grace immediately greeted me. I should have had a reservation and felt wrong as she drilled that point home. “Table for 2,” I say calmly, amid the stern reprimand. “There is about a 20 minute wait, sir,” she stated. My friend and I take a seat. 20 minutes or so pass, and Grace comes to seat us. She informed me that the only seating available was outside. I was against sitting outside because it was chilly, and I was coming down with what would later become a cold. Note to self: do not drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix, then back to Chatsworth for dinner with the air conditioner blowing in your face. I eventually relented and sat outside. To her credit, once an inside table was available, she moved us.
My waitress’ name was Brandy. She started off attentive, and friendly. The hiccup came when she informed me that Lenny’s does not have cornbread. I am not sure I have ever had that happen, no cornbread at a BBQ joint? I ordered a mixed full rack of the Raspberry Ribs and the Whiskey glazed ribs, with a side of Smoked Red Beans. The fruit reduction sauce let me know immediately that this would not be a traditional BBQ dinner, but did not lead onto the surprise that would come later—my ribs were pretty bad. Furthermore not having cornbread saddened me, but Brandy offered to bring dinner rolls in their stead; unfortunately she may have forgotten to bring them to the table.
I am no BBQ rib expert nor am I a pit master, but I do know overcooked and under-cooked meat. To my surprise the rack of ribs I received from Lenny were both. No smoke ring, hard pull on the under-cooked ribs, easy pull and even bone-cracking on the overcooked ones—I will not bother asking where the dry rub was because it certainly was not on the ribs. Perhaps the words [cajun rub, and special rub] in the menu description were just used as a colorful adjectives to distract you from the hoity-toity raspberry sauce. Or maybe the cooking style was Kansas City ? You know drenched in sauce with little meat or rub flavor profile.
The ambiance, live music, and overall feel of the restaurant is Southern, more specifically Nashville or Memphis. So it seems we have a Tennessee-styled restaurant in Southern California serving Kansas City-style BBQ ribs…I suppose I can get with that. We all go through an identity crisis at one time or another, right?
Lenny’s Smokehouse BBQ looks great, and feels even better. The setting makes you feel right at home, a Tennessee home; unfortunately the ribs I received were Kansas City, or somewhere in the Midwest, but certainly not Tennessee or Southern BBQ.
Cookin’ with Lenny’s Smokehouse BBQ
23360 Lake Manor Drive
Chatsworth, CA 91311