So yesterday we visited two locations of Phillips (there are three) and confirmed something critical but not terribly surprising: the youngest isn't nearly as sublime as the original. Previous separate visits revealed some differences but it wasn't until experiencing each side by side, dipping into the sauce and gnawing our way through a few plates worth did we realize we're dealing with two very different bbq experiences.
#3 (the newest branch) was the first bite. The rib tips were chewy and dry throughout. It was as if it had been bled of its essence of sweet pork oil, skimmed, blotted, and reheated. The smoke flavor had faded terribly as well.
The original Phillips #1's rib tips were right on the money and a quick nibble around the bones revealed there was still life and zeal and melting-yet-stretchy bands of tissue covering the joints. The flesh sprang back gently when you chewed it and a tiny stream of juicy pig oil slowly dripped down my hand. The crust resisted just enough to give a smack of smoke and carbon chew, but then gave in to the succulence of the flesh. Beautiful stuff, same old magic.
The sauce was a sad cousin to the depths of Phillips #1-like someone trying to rip off Phillip's sauce without the exact recipe and then watering it down to a thinness that insulted the way the sauce at #1 hugs the meat like a velvet choir robe. Not the thoughtful, deep stuff but really more of a bbq consomme.
Chicken links were about the same with some snap and warm spice tones, but they source those from elsewhere. The red velvet cake (made by Ms. Ruby's Bakery in Inglewood, sold at #3) was spot on and comforting and made us feel a little better about the weak batch of bbq from #3.
Anybody else notice this?
#1 4307 Leimert Blvd 323.292.7613
#3 2619 Crenshaw Blvd 323.731.4772