August 18, 2007

Lucille's BBQ [Tustin]

Lucille's BBQ - Your nonstop ticket to the 3rd circle of Hell

I typically take all steps to avoid chain restaurants (though I have a soft spot for Olive Garden), but I'll sometimes make an exception if warranted by the occasion. Today was such an occasion and Lucille's came to mind with a party of 10, a request for something fun, and a birthday in tow.

While there are locations throughout Orange County, we opted to try the Lucille's in the recently opened "The District" shopping center in Tustin. The chain doesn't take reservations, but we considered ourselves fortunate to arrive to only an hour's wait. With people shoved into every corner and lines just to get on the waiting list, we felt extra lucky when we only had to wait 45 minutes. A lesson in setting expectations.

We took a gander at the menu, but with our party size, the decision was pretty clear: Lucille's Super Feast--a behemoth of a meal that serves 10 people or more. As if that weren't enough, our greedy stomachs ached for a tease and we also ended up with strawberry lemonades for the table and a few appetizers for sharing.

I'm not sure if the description gives you an apt approximation of the amount of food, but let me show with pictures what words cannot describe.
Feed the whole family for less! Choice of three racks of baby back, St. Louis or beef ribs and four half BBQ chickens, with your choice of two of the following: two pounds of hot links, two pounds of tri tip, two pounds of pulled pork, two pounds of rib tips or two pounds of beef brisket, a large tossed green salad, plus your choice of six sides. Served with one dozen homemade biscuits with apple butter, and your choice of one bottle of Lucille's BBQ sauce.
We knew we were in for it when our order of Spinach Dip arrived, but only until we were completely done for by the Onion Straws. I was surprised to see the tortillas glistening with oil, as I didn't expect them to be fresh. While the spinach dip itself was a little watery, its flavor was well balanced without falling prey to the creamy cheese base. The Onion Straws were a little soggier than I would have liked, though I slurped up the tangy and smoky BBQ ranch sauce it was served with.

Our salad came with a choice of three dressings and wasn't anything out of the ordinary for a green salad. I can't say the same for the biscuits, which were the size of my fists and dusted with a sprinkling of sugar. The killer was the apple butter, which is not only a commendable attention to detail, but also delicious in its every conception--just a touch of salt and a hint of spiced apple cider.

They say ignorance is bliss and in the moments that we waited empty-handed, we were humble, modest, and free from the temptations of excess. It was not long before we were tempted by the forbidden fruit.

Our waitress graciously informed us that all of Lucille's meats are smoked for at least 24-hours in what they call the "Smokestack." I've had better pulled pork and the ribs were a bit fatty for my liking, but objectively, the meats as a whole were well dressed, smoky, tender, and juicy. Barbecue lends itself well to bulk cooking and Lucille's has got itself a formula that works.

I've never been a big fan of meat straight-up, so with a choice of six sides, I seized the opportunity to make a meal of it. The corn was grilled to its tipping point and the kernels almost burst on contact with our mouths. The mashed potatoes were flavorful without the help of gravy and the mac n' cheese, satisfying. As simple as they are, these comfort foods can easily go awry--too greasy, too sweet, too mushy,too salty, you get the idea. But while portions are heavy, seasonings are dealt with a deft hand in an execution of restraint that is delicious.

Don't get me wrong. I've had better barbecue at the Hitching Post and I've had better truffle mac n' cheese. But Lucille's tickles my nostalgia in all the right ways. It's simple home cooking done right.

The end of our feast was marked by the heavy sighs of bloating, the clang of unnotched belt buckles, and the markings of gluttony. The evening sky cloaked us in its darkness and begged for mayhem befitting of a weekend night, but after stuffing ourselves like fat turkeys, we could only think to absolve ourselves till the next reckoning.

Lucille's BBQ
The District at Tustin Legacy
2550 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782
714.259.1BBQ (1227)


экскурсии в барселоне said...

I found a lot of useful data in this post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finally writing about > "Lucille's BBQ [Tustin]" < Liked it!

Stop by my weblog - seo capital