Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: The Famous Rib Shack

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you would have probably noticed the two, somewhat annoying things; the complete lack of enthusiasm by people serving you in the restaurant industry, and the poor state of barbecue in the entire bay area. Don’t get me wrong, there are those shining stars, the places you stumble across and thank your stars that something made you stop there on that particular day. The Famous Rib Shack is such a place.

Coming back from a regular trip to San Francisco we found ourselves hungry and looking for some quality eats. Having read a recent email from YELP on BBQ planted the seed in our heads, and when we saw the large Rib Shack sign on El Camino we knew that we had found lunch!

When we entered the Rib Shack, we were immediately greeted by Tes, who we later learned was the manager there. When she found out that we were new to the establishment she was very excited and wanted to make sure we tried everything on the menu. Her hospitality and passion for the wonderful BBQ that they put out will definitely have us coming back for more!

Instead of the two standard sides that came with the “Tailgater for Two” Tes gave us the option to have four smaller sides. I’m glad we did because the side dishes at the Rib Shack are homemade, fresh and delicious! Our platter consisted of pork ribs, rib tips, beef ribs, hot links, polish sausage, and brisket. We added a couple of those meats as we wanted to get a sample of everything we love about barbecue. The sides we chose to go with our giant platter ‘o meat was mac ‘n cheese, coleslaw, potato salad, and collard greens. She threw in some great chili beans that were loaded with brisket, and a couple of cornbread muffins that are baked with little chunks of pineapple hidden inside them. Needless to say the leftovers we brought back with us produced many smiles and a bunch of chomping sounds.

If I had to pick the highlight of this platter I would have to say brisket. This is no ordinary brisket; in fact I have only had brisket this moist and tender one other time in my barbecue eating life, and that was at Jack’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville, TN. The only thing missing was the pink smoke ring and dominant smoky flavor. The meat at The Rib Shack had only a very slight smokiness. The sauce, served on the side for dipping, does provide a little of that for you to add as you desire.

Now the ribs were delightful! The pork ribs were tender and juicy with a nice caramelized bark on the outside, as were the rib tips. I enjoyed pulling off pieces and dunking them in the spicy, sweet, and tangy sauce. There is nothing like the contrast of the soft tender meat and the crisp outer bark of those pork ribs. The beef ribs were also very good. I typically avoid beef ribs because they are mostly prepared quite poorly, these were not! The beef was trimmed of excess fat, and the meat was tender and came off the bone with just the right amount of pull. You won’t get that stringy, hairy teeth look from these beef ribs! The sausages were done nicely and sliced for us on the platter. The polish was garlicky with a natural casing and the hot link was spicy without blowing your taste buds out. They are a great add on to a meal!

The side dishes at The Famous Rib Shack deserve a whole review by themselves as every one of them was made from scratch, extra tasty, and as Tes told us; made with love! I especially loved the coleslaw. It’s not one of those shredded, soggy slaws you might be used to getting. This is big and chunky and crunchy with a sweet, smooth, and creamy poppy seed dressing. The collard greens were a real treat! You have to try them! Forget about everything you know about collard greens and try these! They are tangy and savory and have just the right amount of acidity to cut through the richness of the meat. The chili beans were fantastic and loaded with shredded brisket, and the potato salad was fluffy and creamy and melted away in your mouth. If you love mac ‘n cheese, dive into a big bowl of this stuff. It is loaded with sauce and was very creamy; a classic roux based mac ‘n cheese.

If you love great barbecue and find yourself in the San Bruno area, stop in at the Famous Rib Shack and tell Tes you were sent by Ron at “The Last Bite”.

The Famous Rib Shack
223 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066
PH: (650) 952 2809


bed frames said...

I got the chance to actually visit this place and experience the food. It was delicious and the people are so warm.

Karen said...

Two other great stops: Amato's in San Jose for Philly Cheesesteak and Los Gatos Meats for, arguably, the best tri-tip sandwich in the Bay Area. Idea for dessert: Sally's After Dark. They have a 5 course dessert and port and madeira pairing on July 13. Details: