There's New 'Cue on Third Street

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Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge The Smokin' Joint's jazzy logo lights up the night. - BARBARA HANSEN
  • Barbara Hansen
  • The Smokin' Joint's jazzy logo lights up the night.
Just when you think there's nothing new in barbecue, The Smokin' Joint arrives on West 3rd Street. What you get here is "Hollywood 'cue," created by chef-owner Michael Kesler. "I've taken the best from all over the country and put my own twist on it," Kesler says.

Pecan wood fuels the two big black smokers in the kitchen. The beef that goes in them is prime Angus. All the meats are organic and hormone free, and produce is locally sourced.

Even the cornbread with honey butter that comes with entrees is above the ordinary. The butter is made there, fresh every day.

The usual ribs, brisket, tri-tip, pulled pork and chicken are on the menu, accompanied by Kesler's signature sauce. It's southern style, semisweet with a little kick at the end. He's also come up with a sweet smoky molasses sauce and another flavored with citrus and chipotle.

click to enlarge Michael Kesler has put his own guitars on the wall. - BARBARA HANSEN
  • Barbara Hansen
  • Michael Kesler has put his own guitars on the wall.
The signature meat is smoked filet mignon, and some of that goes into Kesler's chili along with smoked tri-tip, brisket and enough beer to leave a lingering, edgy taste.

Sides include "the world's best baked beans" (they're super sweet); baked potato topped with mascarpone, applewood smoked bacon and chives, and braised greens with bacon and garlic. And the best 'cue dessert, made in-house, is a "buzzed" pecan pie with a Jack Daniels-laced crust.

But more than food makes this place different. A onetime musician, Kesler displays his guitars on the wall. And diners get to watch videos from his vintage collection of rock, blues and jazz performers, some never seen before. There's still more. Kesler had the sturdy tables and chairs made to his design in Bali. And the bar came from India. Not many 'cue joints can come up with anything that exotic.

The Smokin' Joint: 8486 W. 3rd S., Los Angeles; (323) 655-RIBS (7427).

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