Belle Belle’s Barbecue Serves Up Southern Smoked Goodness in Chinatown

Belle Belle's Cue has just opened up in Chinatown, offering casual, affordable and savory smoked Texan barbecue.

Belle Belle’s Barbecue DTLA Downtown LA

Photo by Katrina Yentch
Photo by Katrina Yentch

It looks like Spring Street Smokehouse has a competitor to beat for Chinatown’s smokiest barbecue. Owner Justin Mi, the man behind LA’s Lobsta Truck lobster rolls, has opened Belle Belle’s Cue just blocks away from the other restaurant. Offering similar sandwiches and dishes of pulled pork, brisket, and ribs, Belle Belle’s is a more casual and quick approach to this Southern specialty, and at cheaper prices as well. Belle Belle’s Barbecue DTLA Downtown LA

Southern barbecue is a stifled cuisine in Los Angeles. Aside from Spring Street Smokehouse, the only other joint serving up these heavy meats is Horse Thief BBQ in Grand Central Market. For those looking to indulge in this Texan specialty and avoid parking difficulties in Downtown, Belle Belle’s serves as a go to for both its pricing and free parking lot. Yes, this is an important factor only in L.A. dining.

Photo by Katrina Yentch
Photo by Katrina Yentch

As mentioned earlier, the layout of the restaurant is simple and approachable. Plenty of booths fill the space on Cesar Chavez Boulevard and a few rustic barrels, a wagon wheel and barbecue signs remind visitors where the experience is drawing from – the South. A chalkboard menu scribbles out items you can buy at the shop. All the ingredients, right down to the huge array of barbecue sauces you can choose from, are made in house. If you’re as much of a sauce fanatic as I am, you’ll be enchanted by the sweet and spicy array of choices like honey BBQ, habanero, classic and mustard.

Photo by Katrina Yentch
Photo by Katrina Yentch

The side dishes awaken every craving you’ve had for something cheesy, creamy, sweet or all of the above…TOGETHER. Belle Belle’s keeps it traditional and done right with classic options like mac & cheese, creamed corn and baked beans. While some sides like the mac & cheese fall a little on the dry side, the creamed corn is anything but dry –a hot, gooey and salty glorious stack of corn and butter melted together effortlessly.

Photo by Katrina Yentch
Photo by Katrina Yentch

The main meats themselves, of course, are just as delectable. You can practically smell the smoke wafting out of the kitchen lazily as the hearty ½ pound servings of brisket, spare ribs and pulled pork are prepared – and in under 15 minutes too. You can also grab sandwiches of pulled pork or chopped brisket instead if you need a little bread to balance everything out. Overwhelmingly satisfying, savory and tender, these goods are either served on their own or part of inexpensively priced meals (one meat + two sides) for under $13.

Photo by Katrina Yentch
Photo by Katrina Yentch

To wash it all down, Kool Aid, Sweet Tea, lemonade and simple craft beers like Lagunitas compliment the salty, smoky dishes. Pecan pie seals the deal for dessert.

Photo by Katrina Yentch
Photo by Katrina Yentch

Like I said, the menu is short and sweet. There are no crazy fusion dishes and there’s no gluten-free option to rid your guilt from piling on the carbs. Belle Belle’s Barbecue is trying to do Southern barbecue the way it’s done in Texas, and Mi has gathered enough inspiration (and carbs) from eating his way through the South himself to stay committed to the craft of wood-fired barbecue. Even though the market for Southern barbecue is small in DTLA, he’s committed to keeping it affordable for visitors and giving them a chance to try something they might’ve had before, but with much bigger quality efforts.

Find Belle Belle’s Cue at 701 Cesar Chavez Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012 & open Wednesday – Sunday from 11AM to 4PM (or until sold out)

Katrina Yentch
Katrina Yentch

Writer, coffee guru, audiophile, and L.A. native with a B.A. in Literary Journalism from U.C. Irvine. Other side passions and endeavors include public radio, hiking, and playing big Japanese drums.
IG: @ohnoitskatrina & WordPress: katrinatypes.wordpress.com