Among the vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, and raw crazes to have flooded the LA food scene, one culinary masterpiece is making a very necessary comeback; good ole fashioned, bloody, fatty and delicious, meat. Max City Bar-B-Que is serving up some of the best animal protein around; from ribs, to pulled pork, rotisserie chicken, and brisket, these grilling masters could convince a vegetarian to play for the other team any day. Nestled on a quiet corner on Eagle Rock Boulevard in between a liquor store and laundromat, Max City is the first of its kind, paving the way for new restaurants to emerge in the area that is too often overshadowed by neighboring York Boulevard. The guys at Max City started off this past March serving up BBQ dinners a few days a week, but since then their popularity has boosted them to open almost daily (closed on Mondays) for both lunch and dinner. Get there in the early hours for the freshest meats, and before they sell out. Go for the rotisserie chicken plate or pulled pork sandwich, and pair it with flavorful collard greens and the best macaroni and cheese you’ve ever tasted. Max City believes in straight up, simple, local, and fresh. While these words may not usually be associated with the American classic, the guys here surely do it right. Even down to the barbeque sauce and cornbread, every detail is perfectly crafted. Max City is the newest gem of Eagle Rock, and will continue shining for many days to come.
Just down the road from Max City lies the best pastrami I have ever had at The New York Famous Deli. Hidden in a strip mall that most people pass on their way to the neighborhood Target, this hidden oasis of Jewish and Italian goodies just opened up 10 months ago, but by the looks of its exterior, seems like its been a neighborhood deli for decades. While the location and interior may be simply dressed, the food is anything but. Their hot and tender pastrami is piled high on freshly baked rye bread. The triple decker sandwich is a decadent combo of corned beef, salami, and pastrami on three slices of their thick rye. I opt for mustard instead of coleslaw on the sandwich so the meat is the main event. Don’t pass up their potato salad, it is the perfect palate cleanser to the saltiness of the pastrami. The owner makes it fresh daily when he gets to the shop at 6am to start preparing for the day. He also makes stuffed cabbage, matzos ball soup, chicken parmesan, and a number of my other childhood favorites that you can’t seem to find in Eagle Rock. In the past I’ve raved about The Oinkster’s pastrami just down the street, but these two sandwiches are both in leagues of their own. While the Oinkster serves it meat thinly sliced and slightly fatty with a briny zing, New York Famous Deli serves its hot pastrami in chunks rather than slices, and has a saltier, tangier flavor. I would vouch for both, and say that both are equally fantastic but very different, so on a day when you and a friend are feeling up for it, get one sandwich at both and split them between the two of you to decide for yourself whose pastrami reigns supreme.