Bold and original: Brazen BBQ fires up the local barbecue sceneRestaurant Review Friday, September 9th, 2011
When you think of American cuisine it is impossible not to think of barbecue. However barbecue is one of the most misunderstood cuisines we consume. Since I know what I like but do not know a lot about barbecue I asked Kathleen and Kelly Macintosh, certified master judges from Kansas City Barbecue Society, to join me for this review. We started the review by examining the meat served. The smoke rings and texture of the beef brisket were perfect – “it passed the pull test.” The chicken and spare ribs were also deemed perfect for taste and texture.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about the ambiance and food. This family style restaurant is beautiful with its wood beams and stone cement floor. You may choose from the long family style picnic tables, booths or the many four top tables in the middle of the dining room. One of the features I also enjoyed is the sink for hand washing in the middle of the restaurant. A large wood deck was recently added to the building that is great for people watching or soaking up a few rays.
I started with the meat platter for two with two sides. You may choose from several kinds of meat and I chose the brisket and chicken together with baked beans and coleslaw – a steal for $20.99. I was pleasantly surprised the meat was not swimming in the barbecue sauce. I personally detest food that is hidden under gallons of sauce; it makes me think the chef is trying to hide something.
The finely cut coleslaw was very enjoyable with a vinegar bite at the end. The baked beans had a faint hickory taste that is perfect for beer lovers.
The next item I was served was the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries. I hated it so much I left the plate clean and ordered it again the next day. The sandwich was served on a “soft bread” buttermilk brioche roll with perfectly prepared pulled pork. This is a true Southern style sandwich for under ten dollars, that once tasted will have you craving it for days and weeks after.
Brazen BBQ also features a full bar with flat screen monitors so you can enjoy your favorite sporting events. I will also add the bartenders are friendly and mix perfect drinks – I had several! If you are dining alone or with friends please feel free to sit in the bar area – you can bypass the front cashier. This is a great option if you are looking for great conversation with your neighbors.
I give high marks to John Bracamonte of Escondido and Brad Thomas of Philadelphia for creating delicious food in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Be sure to look at the hundreds of awards they have received for their barbecue including rookies of the year 2009 and grand champions.
Brazen BBQ, is serving a limited menu for the first month of operation. I am truly disappointed I was unable to sample the banana pudding and other culinary barbecue gems on the menu. However this only means I get to go back and put my pig snout on to enjoy the delicious food with family and friends.
Things to consider: The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and good barbecue takes time to prepare. If you arrive late in the day you may be disappointed they are out of ribs or brisket. In my opinion selling out of an item is a good thing; it assures you the food is scrumptious and fresh.
Brazen BBQ Hillcrest
441 Washington Street
San Diego, CA 92103
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