for the past week, ellie and i were talking about bbq. gary, originally from florida, wanted some bbq in the san francisco area. as if the stars were aligned, my buddy jay and i talked about trying bbq around the city. after living in texas for two years and some time studying in florida, i kinda know something about bbq. jay travels around the states for business, knows his bbq food well and just needs to satisfy his desire for bbq meats. two places came to mind since the san francisco chronicle's 96hours had a brief review of few bbq places — roadside (in inner richmond) and memphis minnie (in lower haight).
this past friday (apirl 28th), ellie, gary, yumi and i headed out to an art opening at park life which is directly across the street from a great american comfort food restaurant, Q. after loading up on some beers at park life… and me spending a few hundred bones on a painting, we decided to walk over to the nearby roadside bbq.
roadside bbq is something you would miss as you drive down the busy geary street. there's nothing that shouts out bbq except for it's street sign. as you walk into the wooden panel interior, you smell bbq, see brisket and rolls of paper towels and drool. here's me being picky about the interior... it looks half-assed with cheesy texas license plates and southern-looking items with southern state names on them. the menu is a big billboard with their items on wooden blocks. as we were ordering, one of the cooks pulled out a brisket and started slicing. all of us pretty much dropped our jaws.
ellie's baby back ribs, corn on a cob and [yikes] cole slaw
for some random reason, gary and i order pretty much ordered the same thing again — the memphis pulled pork and texas brisket. [ellie, could you tell your boyfriend to stop copying me?! stop it!] ellie had the baby back ribs (in an obvious attempt to regain her eating championship belt) while yumi ordered the smoked bbq chicken. each plate comes with two sides and a corn bread muffin. the order came in five minutes with someone shouting out your name and order.
so how's the food? well, it's good but it doesn't knock your socks off good. the place claims it's "authentic bbq." authentic what? texas bbq? southern bbq? KC bbq? the word, authentic, sounds like a gimmick. everyone agreed the pulled pork was great. it's moist, juicy and flavorful. however, i wasn't too keen on the brisket. i ate one strip of the three or four. the smoke ring wasn't prominent which means it lacks the smoky flavor. and dry too! the brisket was probably sitting around in the smoker for too long. and the bbq sauce was pretty bottle standard. their brisket would have been better as a chopped brisket sandwich oozing with sauce... sadly they don't serve that. ellie's ribs and yumi's chicken weren't bad though but i didn't eat enough to judge. the baked mac and cheese was average since i like the gooey soul food version. the peppery potato salad was well done. the corn beard muffin could have used a bit more corn meal for that crunchy texture. i avoided ellie's cole slaw since cole slaw scares me. and yumi's french fries were sweet and crispy.
boy, was i stuffed. i haven't eaten so much meat in a long time. my diet is heavily seafood-based since returning to san francisco. so, should you go? well, i recommend checking the place out and sticking with the pulled pork. if you're not familiar with real southern bbq, then you'll enjoy it. however i'm still fixin' for damn good brisket in san francisco.