They obviously spent a lot of money on atmosphere. There are lots of knick knacks, interesting materials, and technology (nice lighting, sound system, walkie talkies on the hosts, etc.).
The blues music they play has a sound quality that really adds to the feel of the place. It’s not too loud, just loud enough to fill-in the gaps.
I appreciate the effort it must have taken. But there is still a certain “chain” feel to it.
The baby back ribs were cooked perfectly: a nice black sticky crust on the outside, and inside it was pink. These were very tender, and came off the bone nicely. This was my favorite meat dish.
Also pretty good was the tri tip. It had a dry rub and was pretty firm in texture. The smoking had really given it a nice flavor. This was quite good with some additional sauce.
The Kansas City Spare Ribs weren’t my cup of tea. They were not as tender as the baby backs (as expected), and had a little more fat (also as expected). The flavoring didn’t quite permeate through them, and I think they could have cooked for a while longer. They just weren’t quite “there” yet.
The brisket was my least favorite. On its own, maybe in a sandwich with some barbecue sauce and cole slaw it would be perfect. But served in a pile on the plate, it just doesn’t look very appetizing. And the taste was quite bland. It was very tender and stringy, and it had some sauce it was served in. But it needed a little more oomph.
Which brings me to the BBQ sauces on the table.
There are three sauces: One is mighty sweet (I did not like this one), One is quite tangy (this one is pretty good), and the third one, the one that’s blackish colored is quite spicy (this was my favorite).
Like the meat, the side dishes were hit and miss. The macaroni and cheese was creamy and had a nice bite to it. I really enjoyed this. The baked beans were too sweet. The corn on the cob was cold and difficult to eat as they flower-back the husk to one side so you have to hold it out of your way while you eat.
The biscuits they serve when you arrive are nothing special really, but they’re okay to take off the appetite edge. Interestingly, the whipped butter they serve it with has nutmeg in it. Unusual, but not bad.
The drinks (non-alcoholic) are served in huge glass jars that generally don’t need refilling.
Overall, it was fine... Kind of like Houston’s or Claim Jumper, but with a Southern barbecue bent. The quality was also a notch above Claim Jumper, although at Claim Jumper you get more food (not a good thing in my book). Even so, we brought home about a half-serving of meat.
The above was about $60 before tip.
As an aside, we were driving home from the Lucille’s in Long Beach to Hollywood, and OMG, the fireworks in the backyards along the 605 were unbelievable, especially in Norwalk and Downey. Somehow all these people had the fireworks that shoot up and explode in big multi-colored sprays. This was better than sitting in a park somewhere because it just kept going and going as far as you could see.
Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ
7411 Carson Boulevard (it’s in the huge shopping center just off the 605)