With fewer barbecue joints than you can count on your hand, it’s safe to say that the central city of Los Angeles doesn’t have a wide selection. What’s even more disappointing is within that handful is only one solid restaurant. For a while now The Parks Finest has been holding down the task of “great barbecue in Downtown LA” with a Filipino flare. But if you’ve been looking for Texas style barbecue and you exhausted all nearby options to no avail, there’s a fairly new addition to the city that will make you proud, Belle Belle’s Cue.
The barbecue restaurant owned by Justin Mi takes over the space that once housed his previous restaurant, Lobsta Shack which resided there from 2014 to 2016. The solidification of transitioning to the new restaurant came thanks to a trip to Texas where Mi sampled, studied, and hopefully overindulged on southern style barbecue. Thanks to that trip and Mi’s passion, there’s finally a great option of barbecue within Chinatown.
I visited the restaurant twice. The first time was simply to try the food and become acquainted with the staff and the location. The second visit was to see if the food was really as great as I initially experienced. I quickly found out, it was.
The staff at Belle Belle’s Cue is kind. They’re friendly as they guide you to find the perfect meat of your choice and they have a level of patience that seems unheard of in the busy city of Downtown Los Angeles. It may have taken a few moments for me to decide exactly what I wanted, but I didn’t feel rushed whatsoever to make a choice. Instead, I opted for a bit of everything. As my friend Lauren and I waited for our order to arrive, we sat sipping our drinks. Although we could have ordered beer, we opted for Lemonade ($2) and Iced Tea ($2). Both drinks were light and refreshing and were a delightful start to what I hoped would be a finger-licking messy meal.
In the last few moments before the food arrived, we filled up on a few of their sauces. With five varieties from brisket to mustard, there’s a sauce to fit anyone’s taste. For myself and Lauren, we stocked up on all of them. Research of course.
As we finished pouring our sauces, the food arrived. The meats range in price with Spare Ribs and Pulled Pork ($10 per ½ lb) and Brisket ($12 per ½ lb) and meals with two sides ranging from $8 to $12. We quickly saw that the food was perfectly priced! A tray was full of brisket, ribs, and pulled pork and they immediately caught my eye! It didn’t take long for me grab hold of the ribs and slices of the brisket to devour them. I loved how although they are completely different cuts of meat, they are dynamic in their taste. It’s clear as day that they have a smoky flavor, that they are tender cuts, and that they’re slow cooked.
In between bites of the meats we tried out the sides. Potato salad, cream of corn, white bread, coleslaw, and baked beans. I loved each of the sides that Mi and his team serve, some more than others. The baked beans were deep and had a sweet honey taste, the mac and cheese felt like the best style of comfort food you could as for, and the potato salad was filling. That’s not to say that the white bread wasn’t good, but by comparison, the others were a clear favorite!
Knowing that a meal isn’t complete without dessert, we split a slice of Pecan Pie ($4). It tasted the same way a grandmother in the south would make her pie which means it was delicious! It was warm and sweet, and gone in a matter of seconds.
It’s safe to say that Belle Belle’s Cue is the best southern style barbecue in Downtown LA! The addition of the restaurant to Chinatown brings well-priced and delicious barbecue to anyone in the city. For those of us who have driven far to find barbecue or who have eaten in a few Downtown LA barbecue joints that have missed the mark, there’s finally a place that is worth your money and time.
Address: 701 W Cesar Estrada Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (323) 897-9227
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday – 11:00am to 4:00pm (or sold out)
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Plenty of parking