When I heard a BBQ place was opening off Morena, about 2 miles from Phil's BBQ, I was thinking this place must be really good or they didn't do their homework. Then I hear it was the project of Frank Terzoli from Top Chef Season 2 and previously Executive Chef at Delicias in Rancho Santa Fe. I love BBQ so I was pretty excited to try it.
So tonight I finally had my chance to see if my dear Phil's had any competition in town. The place was pretty crowded. I ordered a 1/4 slab of pork ribs with 2 sides, I chose cajun fries and BBQ beans and a coke. I thought the atmosphere was ok, except I thought the cowboy hats the staff was wearing were a bit corny and I would have liked some kind of background music.
Apparently there was something wrong with the coke, so I was offered something else and I chose lemonade, which was like water with a lemon.
My food came out pretty fast. The ribs were very tender, almost too tender, even mushy. I thought they were fatty, but had a very nice smoky flavor. The cajun fries were limp but were decent. I think they were flavored with maybe garlic and oregano? The cheddar jalepeno cornbread was average, a very similar recipe as Cook's Illustrated offers. The BBQ beans came with chunks of pork and the pork was the best part of this side. I thought the beans had an overwhelming flavor of cumin, and I couldn't finish them. forgettable at best.
I live close to this place, but until I hear that things have greatly improved I won't go back.