****UPADTE--SADLY THIS PLACE IS CLOSING BUT THEIR FOOD TRUCK LIVES ON AS DOES THEIR BUTTERMILK PIE****
As a displaced Southerner it is my duty to try every new barbecue joint that opens in the city, especially when they claim to offer all styles from Carolina to Texas. Such as it was for my recent stop at Cedar Hill Kitchen and Smokehouse in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco.
Here's a shot of the bar, the dining room and a mason jar light fixture attached to an old pulley--see cause it's country-ish and old timey and nothing says barbecue like mason jar lights! OK I kid just a bit as I did actually like the light but ambiance has always been secondary to the food for me. If the foods good who cares what's hung from the ceiling, probably why I like some food trucks. Like Southpaw BBQ that I reviewed a few weeks ago, Cedar Hill also puts out sauces to flavor the meat.
A spicy Texas red, a tangy sweet Kansas City, a spicy mustard South Carolina and a North Carolina vinegar which was a little too spicy for NC, probably too much pepper and it shouldn't be that orange, it should be clearer since the base is white vinegar. Eventually someone in this town will get the NC sauce right---I hope.
It was noon on a Saturday and they had their lunch-brunch menu going on so I decided to go with the Lexington--a pulled pork sandwich with red slaw and a side of my choice and I picked creole green beans with crispy smoked garlic and then threw in another side of pit beans with burnt tips. Starting with the sides, the green beans were cooked well and still had just a little crunch I liked, they were nicely salted and I do enjoy garlic but didn't really get the creole seasoning, my taste buds must have missed it but as smoky garlic green beans I enjoyed them and could have eaten more. The pinto beans were hearty with a nice kick in the sauce and big chunks of meat with again a smooth smoky flavor--think of it as a chunky pork and beans. Really tasty. I got the small size and it does come in a large--either size is well worth it.
Now we come to the sandwich which sadly I found parts to be hit and miss. The bun, while soft was a miss for me. It was barely heated and came across as a bit dry since there was no sauce on the sandwich. On this day my menu said it came with the SC mustard one but for whatever reason it wasn't there, which was fine as I could choose my own, but they could have easily overcome this by simply adding a little butter and toasting the bun on the grill---it really would have helped add some flavor to it. Another miss was the red slaw, though more of a half miss. By itself I liked it for is crispy spiciness--kind of like an Asian cole slaw--red and green peppers, carrots, cabbage, vinegar and spicy red peppers--but here it was too spicy and overwhelmed both the meat and any of the sauces I tried with the it. The meat was tender and again had a nice smoke to it and was well just okay. It wasn't quite as juicy as I would have liked and when you add that to the dry-ish bun I was adding a lot of the different sauces which normally I don't like to do since I really want the meat to be the star. All in all it's a decent sandwich that for me could use some tweaks to make it really stand out.
Having the rest of my day to work off some calories I also tried out Ruth's buttermilk pie for dessert. This was the real star of the meal for me, but I say upfront this is not for everyone. I am a total sweets-aholic living under the motto the more icing the better and while there is no icing on this it did hit all the spots I crave. There is a graham cracker crust full of butter, sugar and a hint of salt for the salty sweet flavor. There is a thinnish layer of buttermilk custard (though more would have been spectacular) and a generous layer of freshly made whipped cream. The layers were thick, creamy, velvety, smooth and whatever kind of adjective you can think of with a great texture from the graham cracker crust. And best of all it's a nice sized slice of pie and not just a sliver like some places serve. This is sugar coma heaven and something I would trek back over to the Marina just to try--a slice of pie and an iced tea--Southern heaven--at least dessert wise. The rest, well......