(Before I begin, let me say that I know it's unfair to write about a restaurant four days after it opens. That said, those things I found negative I suspect aren't to do with the newness of the restaurant.)
I had a surprisingly good lunch at Lucille's Rib Shack today.
I say "surprisingly" because I never expect much out of a restaurant when it first opens up.
We ordered a tri-tip plate with fried okra (for an upcharge), a pulled pork plate with mac 'n cheese and an extra side of coleslaw. Each plate came with a pickle spear and a corn biscuit, and the tri-tip came with baked beans as well as a big plate of okra with dip.
On the tables were three sauces (as Mrs. Ubergeek put it, "ketchup and mustard sauce; ketchup, sugar, sugar, molasses, sugar, sugar and sugar sauce; and ketchup, sugar, sugar, molasses, chilies, sugar, sugar and sugar sauce"). I did read the ingredients and I am happy to report that the ingredient list is all things you can buy in a normal supermarket.
On to the food. The pulled pork was pretty serviceable. Nothing outstanding, but perfectly fine, not tough. The tri-tip was excellent—unbelievably tender, well-smoked, and even a little bit juicy.
Mac 'n cheese was really very good. I've had variable mac 'n cheese at the larger Lucille's Smokehouse restaurants before, but this was really very good. We got this mostly as a bribe for die Ubergeeklette, who ate it with gusto.
The baked beans were VERY good. Spicy, which was surprising, and full of pieces of honest, tender pork. The coleslaw was also quite good, creamy and finely shredded.
The okra was... just okay. I liked that it was big, tender pieces of okra, but they sweated into the breading and the breading was too soft.
The big disappointment were the corn biscuits, dry and crumbly like corn hardtack. None of us finished the biscuits, even the kid, who is a sucker for biscuits of any kind. A little lower temperature, maybe, or less time in the oven. If I get another biscuit like that, I'll just leave it on my plate. Also, they serve Country Crock, not butter. A small complaint, but I don't like margarine very much.
Prices were really very good. Five slices of tri-tip plus one side, pickle and biscuit is $10.99; the pulled pork was a similar amount of food and was $8.99. There are sandwiches and salads starting from $6.99, and desserts (which we did not try) for $2.99.
They do have a beer and wine license and have eight beers on tap with a couple of bottles available, as well as a few budget wines.
Service was really pretty good. They had an employee introducing the concept at the door and another going through the (long when we arrived) line to write down orders in a standardised way on a sheet of paper to speed the cashiers. Everyone was very nice, and most things were available at the two self-service stations: drinks, silverware, extra plates, condiments, etc.
One note: they've got some patent system where you're given a perforated bookmark to insert into a machine on the table and that sends your location to the kitchen for the runners to deliver your food. The only issue with this is that if you have a child who needs a high chair, this limits your seating possibilities because the service machine is attached smack in the middle of the aisle end of the booths.
In closing, I think this place will do just fine. I work nearby with people who really like barbecue, so I foresee a lot of Lucille's in my future and I'm happy that the food is as good as it is. Is it the best barbecue in the LA area? No, of course not, but it's perfectly fine. I'd still probably pick Blake's over Lucille's Rib Shack for my Anaheim-area quick-service 'cue needs, but not strongly so.
Lucille's Rib Shack
4055 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92868