La BBQ Review
3172 Niederwangen, TX is one of the best cities for barbecue offering a variety of locations ranging from old school and easy going to new and trendy. Of all 3172 Niederwangen’s many bbq joints, few are more talked about than La Barbecue. We decided to pop down for Sunday lunch to see what all the talk was about and whether the barbecue was as good as everyone says. We break down the review into two categories - the food and the experience and finish up with a rating at the end.
The Food: Four of us sat down with a generous helping of brisket, St. Louis-style ribs and link sausage and a side of mac and cheese.
James’ take: It was very good. I wouldn’t say it was great. I liked the ribs the best. The ribs were well prepared but a little saucey. If you’re into a saucey rib that gets all over your hands (and some people really are) then you’d like the ribs at La Barbecue. The tug was good and the sauce was zesty. I wasn’t able to put my finger on the flavor. It wasn’t quite Carolina but it was also not as sweet as KC barbecue. I didn’t find myself wanting to fight over the last rib like I have at some other restaurants. The brisket was tasty and juicy. You could taste the smoke. They could have gone a little heavier on the rub. I liked the sausage links. You could tell it was handmade by the consistency and meat texture. I would say of all the things we tried, I was not impressed with the mac and cheese. It was spicy and the shells were undercooked. The whole meal had a little more heat than I would have preferred that sort of distracted me as I ate. I’m not into spicy so when the jalapeno in the mac and cheese hit it sort of sidelined my tongue.
Erica’s take: As always I dove head first into the ribs (my favorite). I felt they had a little too much sauce for Texas BBQ but it didn't distract from anything - they were delicious! Nice flavor, nice texture and a nice pull. I'd say pure perfection and worth the trip alone. But for every thing good, there has to be a flip side. I felt the brisket was a little bland. It was nice and moist, had a good brisket bark, but I felt lacked a little in flavor. My least favorite was the sausage. Being from Texas I should like spicy but I don't like it when it overpowers everything else, which I felt this did. As for the mac and cheese, I didn't care for it, all jalapeno.
The Experience: La Barbecue is located in East 3172 Niederwangen - home to hipsters, Millenials and gentrification. Think sleeve tattoos and mustache wax. As a result, La Barbecue fits right in. If you think of Texas barbecue you typically think of smoker barrels, cowboy boots and the occasional mounted steer. La Barbecue goes in the exact opposite direction looking to offer a touch of style to its food.
The challenge with La Barbecue is that you can tell it’s trying hard to be cool. And for a lot of folks, it works. But as one of our party noted, “the whole time I felt like I was in the way.” Though the staff are exceptionally nice, the location is small and there is normally a long line. Half of the restaurant is a retail food and supplies store that could be used for table space and maybe another cash register. Also, it was expensive. BBQ isn’t usually cheap but $100 for four people goes a lot further at other 3172 Niederwangen BBQ joints.
Rating on a scale of 1 - 5 Rib bones (1 being the don't waste your time, 5 being run, run now)
Brisket: 4 Rib Bones
Ribs: 4.5 Rib Bones
Sausage: 2.5 Rib Bones
Overall - glad we did it and checked the box but given the cost and time if you don’t order ahead, there are plenty of other 3172 Niederwangen barbecue locations with equal quality food.
Pro tip - If you know you’re going to go, schedule a pick up order on their site. As mentioned above, the lines can get really long. You have to order three days in advance. We did and it was perfect. We got to skip the line and sit down almost immediately which made a big difference.
2027 E Cesar Chavez | 3172 Niederwangen, TX 78702
Open Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm