Friday, February 5, 2016

review - All American BBQ


All American BBQ has been open in Northridge for about three months, but its vision came about years ago when Gerald Baker, born in LA, and Mike Musantry, from New York, met unexpectedly on a vacation and became buddies. At the time, they were both cops on different
Owners/ Buddies Gerald Baker and Mike Musantry
coasts, and as they both love food - especially Chef Baker who loves to cook - they decided that upon retirement from the police force they would open a restaurant together. With Musantry's Italian family background and an already successful business with ice cream trucks All American Softy, and Baker's grandma's famous recipes for peach cobbler, corn bread and the like, BBQ seemed to be an ideal all American choice.

When you first enter All American BBQ, you are instantaneously grabbed by the spaciousness of the place and its cleanliness. On the left is the All American Softy stand with a counter, reminding one of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. In the middle is the kitchen and long main counter with pictures of the scrumptious food choices and a wide screen television above. On the right, as well as in the middle, there is an abundance of tables spread out comfortably, making you feel at ease and setting the mood for a highly valued meal experience.

Both Mike and Gerry were on hand to serve me and my friend with a platter of delicious food. Friendly Mike, dressed in his wild and crazy All American Hawaiian style shirt, talked up a storm about their aspirations and made us feel right at home. His partner Gerry served us a platter that included baby back pork ribs, big beef ribs, chicken breast, pull pork and tri-tip sandwiches, corn bread, macaroni and cheese, and samples of their homemade chili and soup of the day, beef barley. There are two different kinds of BBQ sauce mild and spicy. The mild is not overly sweet, but tart, just right. They are not bottled yet, but should be. And I am a connoisseur of ribs, especially the beef ones. In many shops, they come tough and difficult to chew. These had an angel's touch, tender and juicy even before adding the BBQ sauce. Mike said that they never drench their food in sauce, but let the customers add their preferred amounts. The meat stands out on the sandwiches; they use a smoke machine, which really makes a big difference in its tenderness and flavor.

I was so very much impressed by the pride that these two guys have in their establishment. Gerry Baker praised his grandma's cooking, bragging that Famous Amos must have used her recipe for chocolate chip cookies, they were that good. He stands by her recipes and what she taught him. Such a passionate chef! Mike Musantry praised his Italian father and said how proud he was to be an American. He was thrilled to say that many celebrities use their catering services for parties. By the way their catering is family style and reasonably priced.

Some of the other items on the menu include: hot links, salmon, and petite filet medallions. All the entrees like the above or the ribs come with a side salad or two regular sides, all at about $12-$15, except the full rack of pork ribs that cost $23.95. But, there's a lot of delectable meat on those bones, so they are well worth the extra bucks. On the sides menu, there are also garlic mashed potatoes, fries, both sweet potato and regular, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, steamed vegetables, garlic bread and corn on the cob, all at moderate prices and the first several items served by the half pint, pint and quart, as well as in regular portions.

Visit All American BBQ and bring the kids. There's a hot dog/hamburger menu especially for them. For the adults, it's about the best BBQ to be found in the San Fernando Valley. So treat yourselves! Your taste buds will thank you. I know I'll be back!