Nestled out yonder in Santa Monica is Holy Cow BBQ, a new eatery specializing in good ol’ fashioned barbecue with a California flair. Founder and barbecue aficionado Rob Serritella, the guy responsible for Los Feliz eatery MESSHALL, opened this Texas roadhouse-style kitchen in late 2014.
The farm-to-table restaurant seeks out local, organic, sustainable and natural foods (that’s the “California flair” part). Everything is carefully smoked, resulting in a menu filled with what Serritella and crew call, “slow-smoked goodness.”
I’ll take it a step further and call it “greatness.” As a part-time paleo or gluten-free or vegetarian or vegan, I made my visit a “none of the above” day. The meat – brisket, tri-tip, pulled pork, ribs and hotlinks – is tender, flavorful and served with a variety of homemade barbecue sauces. You’ll want to try them all: smoky, spicy, sweet, tomato and mustard-based.
A vast assortment of fresh salads and sides complement the meal – from kettle beans to potato salad, collard greens and every side in between. We particularly liked the mac ‘n’ cheese, with the perfect ratio of cheese to mac.
For vegetarians and vegans, there are plenty of options. I skipped the salad so as to not take up valuable tummy space, but my vegetarian lunch date reveled in its freshness. Veggie or not, you’ve got to try their three-bean vegan chili, which is rich and thick with just enough kick. Add a chunk of fresh-baked corn bread to the spread and you’re all set.
For the under-12 set, Holy Cow offers kiddie favorites such as grilled cheese, burgers, barbecue chicken, fried chicken, field green salads and their flavorful baby back ribs, portioned for smaller appetites. All kids’ meals include fries and a fountain drink.
Whatever you order, I beg you to save room for dessert. Work out twice before you go if that’s what it takes. The Chocolate Bread Pudding is made with brioche, vanilla bean cream and chocolate; and the Banana Cream Jar Pie folds bananas and vanilla wafers into a smooth pudding, topped with caramelized bananas. I’ll have to try the Seasonal Fruit Crumb with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream next time (all desserts are available a la mode).
While eating in is a lot of fun in this little nook, take-out is also an option, with easy online ordering available for those who like to plan ahead. Holy Cow also delivers to your home or office and has to-go platters for parties of all sizes.
I’m definitely making a trip back, sooner than later. I think tomorrow. Really.
Holy Cow is located at 264 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402, (310) 883-6269, www.holycowbbq.com.