Phil’s BBQ is the place to go in San Diego, or so I’ve been told (along with Extraordinary Desserts). My friends and I took a road trip down to SD on a President’s Day weekend, giving me the opportunity to finally try this place.
Being the foodies we are, we braved the ~40 degree weather and waited patiently for 2 and a half hours, instead of chickening out and finding refuge at an AYCE Chinese buffet place in the same plaza. It was tempting though. The line wrapped around the building and only grew longer as the night went on. We ended up playing a dozen or so rounds of Connections while waiting.
Even for people dining in, orders are taken up at the front counter. Everyone’s given a remote control-looking pager to let them know when their order’s ready. Pretty neat contraption, imo.
People who buy drinks are given different colored cups, but we shamelessly just used our water cups to pour ourselves beverages from the fountain tap. I think the wait staff is pretty lax about it too.
I ordered the Baby Back Ribs & Chicken ($11.95), with sides of potato salad and cole slaw. I was a tad disappointed by the portions (4 baby back ribs and quarter breast of chicken) because my plate looked sort of empty. The pork ribs totally owned the chicken though, but there was way too much bbq sauce slathered onto the meat. All that smokiness and tang overwhelmed the flavors and juices of the barbequed meat. Potato salad was alright, but I thought the cole slaw was a bit soggy.
Everyone else ordered variations of chicken, pork and beef ribs. I can’t comment on how the beef tasted haha.
My friend and I split colossal onion rings ($5.95), which came with ranch dressing dipping sauce. I don’t particularly like ranch or milk-based dressings, so I just drenched these perfectly-fried onion rings in ketchup. Perfect amount of batter on these large onion rings. They made my day.
BBQ chicken is one of the world’s most perfect food combinations. But given all the hype, I expected something so flavorful that it would induce a food orgasm, for the 2.5 hour wait. It’s a good experience, all in all. That’s all I can say about it.
Address: 3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110 | Yelp