One of Jase's favorite memories from growing up in the Philippines was the food served at the Aristocrat restaurant chain. "They specialized in grilled chicken with a side of rice and some atchara," Jase says. "Atchara is a pickled shredded papaya side condiment. I haven't found anything like Aristocrat since I've been in the U.S."
Until, that is, Jase found the Carson Branch of Tony's Barbecue and Bibingkinitan.
At Tony's, the meals cost $6 to $9, and they all involve your choice of grilled meat, a side of Java rice, peanut sauce, and atchara. Signs warn that since everything is grilled to order, you'll have to wait. But it'll be worth it.
The pork skewers are an absolute hit. "The meat and fat was caramelized just right—juicy porky grilled flavor. Little bits of char and crunch giving way to the meat. Just loved it," Jase says. And the acidity of the atchara is a nice match for the meat.
Other menu items are also solidly prepared. The squid had a nice grilled taste, although it was a bit overdone on the side, Jase says. The wings were a bit small but had good flavor.
And it turns out the similarities between Tony's and Aristocrat aren't entirely coincidental. "During a lull after our meal, I had a brief chat with the owner, Tony," Jase says. "I mentioned my Aristocrat memories and he said his intent was to model the place after Aristocrat. It's not blow-your-mind destination food. But it's tasty grilled Filipino food at inexpensive prices."
Tony's Barbecue and Bibingkinitan [South Bay]
860 E. Carson Street, Carson