I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Lillie’s Q in Brea and want to try it for myself. After gathering a bunch of friends together for lunch, the six of us meet and settle in for a belly-busting meal. There is ample parking in the back — Lillie’s Q not only shares the parking lot with TAPS, but also, the same owners — and if you aren’t able to find a spot, opt to valet.
The restaurant is casual, but comfortable, with booths as well as banquette seating. If you’re dining alone, there is always the bar.
House-made barbecue sauces are displayed in a line on the table; and they encourage you to try them all out. Your server will come by and explain them to you just before your food arrives. They range in flavor, as well as heat level, but my favorite is “Hot Mess,” not displayed, but comes with certain dishes when you order them, such as the wings.
There are many things I want to try, so I start firing off almost everything on the “For The Table” section for our server to write down. Deviled Eggs ($5) are always a must and these are good. At first, I am not sure why these taste different, that is, until someone mention on Instagram of a photo I post. These are cut around the mid-section instead of lengthwise like they usually are. It creates a different mouth-feel and that is what I am not able to put my finger on when I first eat them. The pickled serranos and hot mess sauce add a great kick to it.
I’m a big fan of pickles and we try two types. Fried Pickles ($6) are definitely my choice. Slices of pickles are covered in a beer batter and fried. Crispy on the outside and salty sour on the inside. The accompanying ranch dressing evens out the tartness, and is also, a great pairing with fried foods.
The other offering of Kool-Aid Pickles ($3) is definitely not for everyone. Some at the table love these Kosher Dill pickles marinated in cherry Kool-Aid. Me? Not so much! I don’t like the cherry Kool-Aid, not one bit! It reminds me of cough syrup. The others chuckle at my reaction.
Pork Rinds ($5) sprinkled with pimiento cheese powder arrive next. What’s not to like about crispy, fried chicharrones? Even the toddler we are eating with love these and gives us a sad face when they’re all gone.
I am the one who orders Hush Puppies ($6), but the corn meal balls dotted with corn and scallions are dry.
However, all is well when we bite into the magnificent Smoked Chicken Wings ($11) with Lillie’s buffalo sauce and a Maytag blue cheese dressing. I am reluctant to share, but there are so many things to eat. I want to return again and eat a whole order of these wings on my own.
Shrimp & Grits ($18) is an excellent dish if you are not a fan of barbecue. Plump shrimp sit atop creamy grits and is a hefty portion for one person. The shrimp possess a robust flavor which is infused with Lillie’s sauce, and I want more of that all over the grits. Absolutely delicious.
Of course, we can’t leave here without eating something barbecue. Taste of LQ ($20) is the way to go if you’re in a group as it allows you a pick of three meats — we choose brisket, hot link, and baby back ribs (+$2). My favorites are the latter two. I’m not a barbecue fan by any means and will pick at what others have ordered. Here, I taste everything, all, fork-tender and flavorful.
If you’re looking for Mac & Cheese ($6), the one here is decent. We order topped with pulled pork (+$1).
Collard Greens ($5), on the other hand, is one of my favorite southern sides. The greens are well seasoned and cooked to perfection with great smokiness and umami from the ham hock. Make sure you drizzle some of the hot pepper vinegar which comes with the order. It is so good I order another.
This is definitely a restaurant to come with many people, so you can try as many things as possible. Bring the kids, bring the family!
240 S Brea Blvd
Brea, CA 92821