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SEA

Review

Lady Jaye

$$$$
Written by

Look around at any BBQ spot, and you’ll see the gang’s all here: pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, sausages, maybe some pimento cheese. But at Lady Jaye, a BBQ spot in West Seattle, their pulled pork is molded into balls, panko-breaded, and fried. Their sandwiches are topped with housemade bologna. The pastrami’s made with pork collar. The sausage is mixed into a creole-style dirty rice, the pimento cheese is stuffed inside cream puffs, and the cocktails have ingredients like pumpkin seed orgeat and rose vermouth. Even though this is far from your traditional BBQ, Lady Jaye is the kind of truly excellent BBQ restaurant that Seattle has always lacked.

At first glance, Lady Jaye looks like a bar - and you could certainly just come here and drink. The cocktails are terrific, ranging from the Havana Banana made with banana-infused cognac and pineapple rum to the Bourbon Crusta, a citrusy drink with an absinthe rinse and a rim of tart sugar that tastes like Sour Patch Kids. And despite how different the cocktails are from each other, they all pair mysteriously well with the BBQ dishes.

The plates here are all less than $23, and work within the Greater Barbecue Universe (you know, the GBU). But they have a spin on them that’s completely their own. Sure, there’s no brisket sandwich at Lady Jaye, and that might make you sad for a half-second. The incredible fried bologna sandwich is here to comfort you, though. The meat has a good amount of smoke, the shaved dill pickle slaw gives it some tang, and there’s a nice crunch from homemade potato chips. There’s also some slow-smoked turkey, but it’s in the form of a massive drumstick that you’d normally spot at amusement parks and renaissance fairs. Even at Universal Studios, though, your turkey isn’t falling off the bone or covered in ancho-barbecue sauce and lime crema. And then they even serve burrata, which seems totally out of left field for a BBQ place. But when it comes with smoked tomato, green beans, and fried shallots, it makes perfect sense on this menu.

Even though there are other good BBQ spots in Seattle, there is nowhere that’s doing it quite like Lady Jaye. It’s hard to imagine a time before trying BBQ that tasted like this, and we’re glad we don’t have to anymore. Now, when we look around at our fried bologna, pork collar pastrami, and ancho turkey drumstick, we’ll agree - the gang is indeed all here.

Food Rundown

Fried Pork Cakes

Turns out, the best thing to do with pulled pork isn’t piling it on a bun or inside tortillas. It’s molding it into spheres, panko-breading it, and serving it with a drizzle of Carolina gold barbecue sauce. These are delightful, and we only wish the sauce came by the bucketful.

Pimento Cheese Puffs

Imagine a dessert cream puff, only filled with salty pimento cheese instead of vanilla custard. If you decided to give them to someone as an April Fool’s prank, the joke would sadly be on you.

Paul Sevilla
Burrata

Since when do you see burrata at a BBQ place? Since now, and we think it’s hilarious that it’s classified as a “salad.” The ball of soft cheese has a drizzle of olive oil and garlic breadcrumbs on top, along with a mixture of smoked tomato, green beans, and crispy shallots underneath. It’s creamy, crunchy, tangy, smoky, cold, warm, and a total home run.

Pork Collar Pastrami Plate

Lady Jaye’s pastrami plate comes with toasted onion rye, creamy Thousand Island dressing, cabbage slaw, and a pickle. The DIY sandwich that results from the whole thing is brilliant.

Smoked Bologna Sandwich

If you walked into elementary school with this housemade fried bologna sandwich topped with potato chips, dill pickle slaw, and mustard on a big squishy bun, you’d rule the playground at recess. What makes this smoky, meaty beast so outstanding is that each layer brings something different to the table, from the crunch of the potato chips to the tang of the pickle slaw.

Forever Smoked Turkey Drum

We’ve never seen a turkey leg this big on any menu in Seattle until now. Topped with ancho barbecue sauce and lime crema, this slow-smoked meat is so tender that you can even attack it with a fork like you would a piece of chocolate cake.

Mac & Cheese

Much like Joey from Full House or your pet’s Instagram account, the mac here is cheesy and easy to love. You can even get it topped with braised pork cheek, a fistful of arugula, and grated parmesan.

Dirty Rice

This dirty rice would make a box of Zatarain’s lock itself in a dark pantry and have an emotional breakdown. The flavorful rice comes with smoked turkey, pulled pork, and andouille sausage - this is a mandatory side for the table.

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