Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lillie's Q - Chicago, IL

When I heard that a Southern BBQ restaurant was opening in our neighborhood, I was uber excited.  My roommate and I actually tried coming here once for dinner, but we were quoted a 45 minute wait, so we went elsewhere.  My friends and I came back on a weeknight and had no problems getting a table.  

We went when it was relatively nice out so their windows were wide open and a nice warm breeze circled around us all night.  It definitely had that southern bbq joint feel to it.  

On each table, you have your choice of five sauces.  And you know me I had to try them all.  You basically had, starting from left to right, Ivory, Carolina Gold, Carolina, Smoky and Hot Smoky.  I thought Ivory would taste like ranch, but it tasted more like runny mayo.  The Smoky and Hot Smoky had a bit too much of a smoky (surprise, surprise) taste to it.  The Carolina and Carolina Gold had more of that vinegary-mustard flavor, which were more up my alley than the others.

Their menu is broken down into appetizers (for the table), stews and salad, bbq, non-bbq, sides and desserts.  Coincidentally, we managed to try at least one thing in every category, except for the stew and salad.  Who comes to a bbq joint and orders a salad?  Definitely, not three hungry girls, one of whom was eating for two at that time.  :)  

For the table, we got an order of the fried pickles with some ranch sauce.  I'm a huge fan of pickles to begin with, so batter them up, fry them to a golden crisp and dunk them in some ranch sauce and I'm good to go.  I wasn't quite sure how I'd like fried pickles because one of the main reasons I like pickles is for their texture, but these were surprisingly crunchy

Btw, I love how their dishes come out in these metal trays, lined with paper.  It's perfect for pouring on five different sauces right on top and just getting your hands dirty.  

For the sides we got some mac & cheese and some green beans.  I dug the cast iron pans they came in.  I want them for my kitchen, but I digress.  :)  The green beans were a nice and crisp and were topped with pieces of fried bacon. The mac & cheese was really tasty too with the toasted breadcrumbs on top.  Yum!  

For the Urban Q part of our meal, we definitely wanted to try their southern-style bbq's  They offer four kinds of meat: pulled meat (pork and chicken), smoked tri-tip and baby back ribs by themselves or in sandwich form.   We ordered the "Taste of LQ" which is a choice of three meats.  We picked pulled pork, tri-tip and ribs.  I am usually a huge pulled pork fan but it wasn't that tender and the brisket was a  bit dry as well.  I felt like I had to dredge this in sauce to make it palpable.  I think we all liked the baby back ribs the best and ended up ordering four more bones.  The ribs come in three sizes: four, eight or twelve bones.  

Some of their non-Q items looked interesting as well so we tried their low country boil, which had shrimp, crabs, sauces, potatoes and onions in it.  This was way too salty and had too much of that smokey flavor to it.  Also the coloring wasn't all that appealing.  Even though I know it was the spices and seasoning and not dirt, it just didn't look all that appetizing.  The crabs were a bit too unwieldy to eat as well.  I have to say, I had a proper country boil at my friend's housewarming recently and it blew Lillie Q's boil out of the water.  Maybe I'm just not a fan of this smoky taste, but I feel like it unnecessarily masks the taste of all these great ingredients.  

For dessert, we ordered the apple cobbler, but it looked more like a German apple pancake.  Not quite what we had in mind.  I say skip it.  Skip the country boil and the cobbler and stick with the appetizers, sides and ribs and you'll have yourself a great meal. 

Lillie's Q
1856 North Ave
(between Honore St & Elk Grove Ave) 
Chicago, IL 60622

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