Barbecue as Good as it Gets in the Conejo Valley
Yes, I am the “Hard to Please Guy.” Never with a chip on my shoulder, but I do expect to be served food that is better than what I can make at home at a reasonable price, accompanied by friendly and professional service.
When The Charhouse BBQ & Grill first opened in Oak Park, my expectations were limited. I spent four years in Dallas and I really enjoyed their great selection of BBQ restaurants, more for the food than the mostly informal ambiance. Baby back ribs, tri-tip, beef brisket that melted in your mouth, BBQ chicken, slaw, corn on the cob and beans, with all the meat slathered in a tangy BBQ sauce… life was good and tasty!
Nothing in California came close, with the exception of Wood Ranch. The good news is you can find reasonably good BBQ at somewhat reasonable prices locally. For me, the down side includes too much noise, long wait times and “finish up so we can clear your table” attitudes. While I wasn’t expecting to be impressed, I figured The Charhouse was close by, so why not give it a try? Surprise, surprise!!! Owner/Chef Isaac Kafaja prepares the best BBQ in Southern California, in my opinion, and I only have to drive about a mile to get there, although I would drive 20 miles or more if I had to.
During the past few months, Robin and I have worked our way through most of Isaac’s entrees:
- The tri-tip sandwich on a soft roll with cheese and sauce is my current guilty pleasure. With fries and a salad, I am in heaven. The tri-tip is lean and tender. Yum!
- Isaac’s fries are another guilty pleasure. Made fresh and crisp to perfection, they are very dangerous if you are on any kind of a diet!
- The baby back ribs, brisket and BBQ chicken are all perfectly prepared and slow cooked to tenderness. Most of the California BBQ restaurants I’ve been to overcook and dry out the meat, but not The Charhouse.
- The last time I was there I tried the Cajun rib-eye steak. At only $27 for the dinner, which includes the usual potatoes and veggies, it might be the best meal deal in the Conejo. The steak was flavorful, juicy and tender.
Like most BBQ restaurants, The Charhouse offers combo dinners with sides. I especially like the slaw and beans. They also have a full bar, a solid wine list and a nice selection of cocktails.
Stop by seven days a week for lunch, dinner and their recently introduced breakfast menu and Sunday brunch menu.
The Charhouse is located at 706 Lindero Canyon Blvd, #788, in Oak Park. Call 818.852.7199 to make a reservation or visit TheCharhouseBBQ.com.