Lucille's BBQ - Lake Forest,CA - just me or????
After hearing about the big crowds and seeing pretty good reviews here last year I finally got around to dinner at the Lucille's in Lake Forest last night. Maybe it was an off night but I have to say I was not at all impressed with the meat. It wasn't bad, just not anything to go back for.
My wife and I shared the large sampler to get a taste of 3 different meats - babybacks, tri-tip and chicken. Of the 3 the chicken was the best for us - juicy, large 1/2 portion, decent flavor. The tri-tip was over cooked and the ribs, while tender, had little indigenous flavor. Addition of the original style sauce helped but should really only be a condiment for decent Q.very good.
That said, I have to say that the sides were actually better than the meats. We had sweet potatos and shoestring fries (yeah - too much starch, but m-m-m-m). The sarter salads (one house, one caesar) were basic but good too. A Pyramid Heffeweisen and a Black & Tan from the bar were a good accompaniment.
Service was very good, efficient and knowledgable. Nice touch to explain the sauces and to ask us if we wanted to see the smoker when visit we said it was our first visit.
Bottom line - OK place.... but the meat was not as good as I make at home, and I'm no expert. We wondered why it was so busy. Aren't we in a recession?
We tried our first Lucille's just this last summer at the Lake Forest location and really enjoyed it. Now, we also really enjoy Hof's Hut and usually visit the Torrance location. With owner, Craig Hofman, changing the Orange, CA Hof's to a mini version of Lucille's BBQ (apparently not yet named), we are hoping that they leave the rest of the Hof's Huts alone. Hof's has always had really good food (burgers) and desserts!
I realized the last time I was there that the only reason I ate there was for the sides. The cheese grits and the mashed sweet potatoes are great. The meat has never been impressive. I find the sauces to be barely edible, but I am not a fan of overly sweet bbq sauce. Their fried pickles are pretty good, but, again, that is an appetizer and not a main.
I had a similar experience at the Tempe, AZ location. I had the baby back ribs with cheese grits and sweet potatoes. The sides were near perfection - with the cheese and grits working well, and the mashed sweet potatoes with a hint of cinnamon and sugar. The biscuts were OK, but the strawberry lemonade was very good. Oh yes, the ribs - like you said, the ribs were somewhat disappointing. They were not very tender and the sauce was nothing special. It's OK, especially the sides, but there are many better BBQ places around.
A review of Lucille's and no mention of the apple butter? For shame :)
Went to the one in Torrance this past weekend and it was about as good as the Brea one. The ribs ARE a bit under seasoned, but I dunk them in the Memphis sauce anyways. Tri-tip I had was tender and juicy and almost as good as I get in San Luis Obispo. Mac n cheese isn't any good, but those garlic mashed potatoes make up for it. The fries you mentioned are good as well. There's certainly better bbq found elsewhere, but like all chains, you know more or less what you're getting when you go into Lucille's.
Mr OCAnn loves--LOVES--Lucille's (Brea). We usually split the bigger combos & sit in the bar area (to avoid the dining room waits).
I'm not a big BBQ fan, so I can either take it or leave it...but IMHO, I do think Lucille's is one of the better places. I like it more than Chris N Pitts, but CNP is a better value.
Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ
1639 E Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821
I agree with you as well. Although their sauce is ok, I was not and am not impressed with the food their either. I was so disappointed that they decided to change the Hof's Hut in Cerritos to a Lucille's, especially when just 2 exits away is another Lucille's. Not that Hof's was great, but it had more choices than Lucille's does.