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Cooking inspiration can come from many different places including the internet, cookbooks and magazines. I also find restaurants to be a great source of inspiration. These San Diego restaurant reviews will recount my experiences at some of my local favorites and new hotspots. At the end of each review I’ll also provide you with some takeaways that can be put to use in the kitchen.
Signature Pulled Pork Sandwich $8.49
441 Washington at 5th Avenue
While waiting for my order to arrive at Brazen BBQ, I considered the two sauces sitting in front of me. The first, a bottle of B.R.A.G. BBQ sauce. Bold and spicy, B.R.A.G. is a savory blend of secret ingredients that packs some serious flavor. Option two under consideration was a bottle labeled Smokey Lace. Mild yet complex, Smokey Lace is a sweet, fruit-based sauce spiced with house-smoked paprika. Before I could decide which of the two I liked better, my lunch arrived.
Nestled in a paper-lined basket, my Signature Pulled Pork Sandwich beamed back at me, bun ajar, looking mighty fine. Piled up between a tender brioche bun were layers of smoky pulled pork, creamy coleslaw and crispy tobacco onions. Accompanying my sandwich was a sizeable mound of seasoned French fries. Also pictured below is a pork spare rib platter ordered by my friend. Even though I’ll only be talking about my sammich, I couldn’t resist sharing some pictures of his mouthwatering meal.
Before slathering the sandwich with BBQ sauce, I tasted each component. Separately, each layer was well-seasoned and enjoyable. Together, the pork, slaw and onions formed a complete, well-rounded bite full of flavor and texture. Known for switching up traditional southern cuisine, the Brazen BBQ team accents the classic combination of pulled pork and coleslaw with unconventional pops of crunchy fried onions. In the mood for some heat, I zigzagged several healthy squirts of B.R.A.G. BBQ sauce across the sandwich, kicking up the yum factor even more. So, so delicious.
In between sandwich bites, I plunged several French fries into a cup filled with Smokey Lace BBQ Sauce, consuming them almost immediately. The light, sweet-salty combination was a nice counter to the rich heft of the sandwich. Stuffed and satisfied, I looked at the empty, paper-lined basket pleased with my meal. And my final thoughts on the sauces? I enjoyed both of Brazen’s award-winning options; however, the B.R.A.G. sauce was number one for me!
For $8.49 you get a massive pulled pork sandwich and one regular side. Options include Peas & Carrots, Tangy Coleslaw, Smoked Corn Medley, Ancho Spiced Baked Beans, Brazen Fries and Cornbread. For an additional $1.25 you can upgrade to one of the premium sides: Crusty Macaroni & Cheese (pictured above), Grilled Vegetable Orzo Salad, Herbed Polenta Cake and Sweet Potato Fries. Have you tried Brazen BBQ in San Diego yet? If so, please share your thoughts below!
So what takeaways did I get from my Brazen BBQ experience? BBQ is a comfort food that many of us are familiar with. With the addition of crispy fried onions, Brazen was able to pleasantly disrupt that familiarity providing a new and enjoyable BBQ experience. Try switching up one of your comfort food classics at home by introducing a new texture. This could be in the form of crunchy bread crumbs, crispy greens, nuts, fibrous vegetables or something fried! Do you like to switch up the classics? Or do you take more of a “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach?
Brazen BBQ has since closed.0
Gerry @Foodness Gracious says
Oh Man, this fires me up to get my smoker out from winter hibernation, I love brisket, pulled pork and ribs, could eat them all day long…
Ann P says
oh my goodness, this post is uh-may-zing! where do i even start?! I mean, how does one even accomplish house-smoked paprika? i must try those tobacco fries (never even heard of tobacco fries before)! and the ancho spiced baked beans sound like heaven! And the price is fantastic! I’ve got to make my way to this place soon… I love this restaurant review– are they becoming regular on your blog? 😀
Brandon Matzek says
Thanks Ann! I’m not sure how they smoke the paprika, but I found it really intriguing! Restaurant reviews will be a regular occurrence on Kitchen Konfidence. Any suggestions on where I should dine next?
This heartens me. I always get stuck at a bad restaurant when I visit your beautiful city. I gotta start a notebook, thanks. GREG
Brandon Matzek says
Oh NO! Sorry to hear that. Where have you had bad experiences so far?
Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga says
Ok being that I live so close to this place, but b/c it serves meat, I just dismissed it. My husband would go ga-ga for it…mainly for that mac n cheese. This is so his food. I need to make sure doesn’t see this post or a kale salad at home may be a hard selling act.
Brandon Matzek says
HA!!! I do love a good kale salad, but I’m not sure I’d pick it over a pulled pork sammich. Definitely keep your husband away 😉
Lance Pelky says
Eileen has been asking about you!
That macaroni and cheese looks amazing. I know where I will be eating after my next beer tasting adventure. What’s better after a day of drinking than BBQ? Nothing.
Great review! I love visiting new places and getting new inspirations.
yum! need to find somewhere here that does this!
What a fantastic site. Are you on plantoeat.com ? (I’d love to access your cookbook!).
I do want to recommend the most amazing San Diego restaurant: Adams Avenue Grille.
Everything is wonderful there but don’t miss the lilac infused creme brulee…. (Rumor has it the owner/chef Tim has morphed an amazing french toast from the recipe….)
I just tried this place yesterday. I wasn’t too impressed with the food particularly the sides. Have you tried Phil’s?
Brandon Matzek says
I have tried Phil’s. It’s actually my favorite. I did enjoy my meal at Brazen though. Perhaps quality has gone down since I visited?