The SLO Life
The very first place I ate at when I visited SLO while I was deciding on colleges way back when. I went there frequently throughout my college career, and I look back on it still missing and craving the Tri-Tip Sandwich and the beef ribs. This is the most if not one of the most well known restaurants in SLO. Anytime you visit SLO, the locals will undoubtedly take you to visit this place.
The menu is made up of barbeque items, burgers, hearty salads, and even tacos. The most well-known item on its menu is the Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich. Tender slices of smokey barbeque tri-tip topped with their signature barbeque sauce placed on a grill toasted french roll that has been drenched in garlic butter. Sounds like heaven doesn't it? Well it'll send you there after you get that heart attack from eating it. Don't get me wrong, it's well worth the artery clogging. Another star is the Steak Cobb Salad that will fill a guy's appetite. If you're looking for sides, try the basket of rings or fries. My absolute favorite is the Beef Rib Meal. It comes with 3-4 meaty, smokey beef ribs, garlic bread, and a side or pasta salad. These ribs are so good that some of us alums find contacts back in SLO to deliver up some ribs on their way back to the bay area.
There's not much to complain about this place. Of course there's always big lines and long waits, but it's worth it. The one big gripe everyone has is the increasing prices. Granted $7.99 is worth it for the meaty tri-tip sandwich, but back when I started college in 1998 it was $4.25. I just totally made myself sound and feel so old. Anyhow that's why I say you should pay the extra buck and get a beef rib meal.
MUST HAVE: The Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich and the Beef Rib Meal. Not together. Well, actually...
EXTRA TIP: The secret hidden menu coutesy of a fellow Yelper: yelp.com/biz/firestone-g…
Aw hell, I just realized I wrote a review for the wrong Splash. Granted I wrote it for its second location, but nothing beats the original. I must repent and write more about the creamy, luscious chowder that beats everything out there. Yes folks, it'll beat anything you've had on the West Coast. Don't even come at me with Boudin's, they ship their chowder in frozen blocks.
So what is it with this chowder? Freshly made on location with succulent clams, fresh cream, and loads of BUTTER! For a buck you can top your bowl with the "Seafood Topping" which consists of shrimp and crab (check the pictures). Your best bet is to order the PINT with the Seafood Topping, and put a hold on the bread bowl. Sure it's a novel idea, but it's better to get a sliced loaf that is buttered and grilled. I also recommend an order of the Steamers. Steamed clams in a sun-dried tomato and basil broth. Yeah folks, order a bucket, don't bother with a side. A bucket is only the size of a styrofoam meal take-out box. For dessert you better go for the Homemade Bread Pudding. The hot, gooey, cinnamon-ny goodness with plump raisins topped with a dab of cool whip cream. Need I say more?
So what I described just now is my suggestion to you because this was my typical meal at every visit. Trust me, it's a lot of food. But I remember stuffing in a fish taco on the side (of my stomach) when I was especially hungry. Be sure to have a pillow handy after going to Splash, the chowder is coma-licious! *snort* *snort* I just made a funny...
MUST HAVES: Chowda with Seafood Topping, the Steamers, and the Homemade Bread Pudding.
You don't get pork ribs like this just anywhere. The ribs are succulent, smokey, and falls right off the bone. Year in year out Mo's wins for the best pork ribs in the area. You also get a choice of three sauces: Mo's Memphis, Philthy Phil's, and Sweet Carolina. How good does that sound. The sides complement the meal well, especially the steamy fresh cornbread with honey butter. It might be a bit pricey, but you gotta pay for the good stuff. Mo's definitely has the good stuff.
One of the best seafood places on the central coast in my opinion. Not too fancy, but it's place nice enough to take a date. Just hope that you're date is down and dirty enough to get into a bucket for two. I guess that last sentence could've been taken in many ways, but let me tell you more about the food and you'll get what I meant. The dishes are great there, the fish is fresh and the crab cakes have meaty chunks. But what this place is known for is the bucket for two and yes it can get dirty. This bucket that claims serves two people is loaded with three types of shellfish, potatoes, sausage, and corn on the cob. You can choose three items from several types of crab (snow, dungenss, jonah), lobster tail, shrimp, or clams. They bring out that bucket and toss it straight onto the table for you to eat Louisiana style. It's freakin' fantastic. My only complaint is that it's more of a bucket for one than two. Make sure you're date is really skinny and doesn't eat much.
MUST HAVE: The Bucket for Two
Five stars purely on it's Meatloaf Sandwich. This sandwich used to be served only on Mondays, but I hear it's around more frequently now. The meatloaf would come out fresh and steaming. A hearty slice (and sometimes two) would be placed on your choice of bread, topped with a bit of tomato sauce, and dressed with your choice of fixings. No doubt that this sandwich would sell out fast. This sandwich was so good my college roommates would cut class to get a few. And if they didn't come back with enough to share, they'd get hell for it. I haven't had this sandwich for a few years, but to this day everytime I see meatloaf sandwich or just plain meatloaf on a menu I think of the Meatloaf Sandwich at Padre Deli in SLO. Maybe I'll take a road trip down there to get me one.
The other of my favorite steakhouses on the central coast. It's all you want in a cowboy steakhouse. The meal starts with a hearty vegetable soup that you can add fresh salsa and black beans to. Then you get a mini cast iron pan filled with pan roasted potatoes and onions. Not too long after that your steak comes out with a choice of a potato. Everytime I went, no matter what cut it was, it was very juicy, perfectly cooked, and fulfilling with every bite. Charcoal grilling adds so much to the flavor of a quality piece of meat and that's evident here at AJs. To top off that meal they give you a simple root beer float. Nothing fancy, but it just hits the spot and tops off the meal in so many ways. A.J. Spurs is the quintessential old west dining for the cowboy we all wanted to be when we were young.
A college friend once convinced a bunch of us that Jacko's was the best steak ever so we took the drive over to Nipomo from SLO. Not a bad drive, but long enough where expectations started to climb. When we arrived the placed looked like a dumpy run down restaurant that need some cleaning and pest control. There was a crowd, a big crowd that equaled to a big wait. The expectations continued to climbed up along with my hunger. We eventually got seated at tables covered with those 80's style red and white checkerboard plastic tablecloths. It was slightly sticky which added to the ambiance. As a starter we were given salsa and crackers. Yes, you heard me right. What a combo eh? The steaks better be damned good. As I strolled to the restroom I walked by a huge outdoor roundabout grill where they cook your steaks. Yes, there was a crowd watching and wafting in the delicious fumes. Wow, the steak looks like it might be good. When our steaks came I had to admit it was a beautiful sight, probably the only beautiful thing you can find at Jocko's. The meat tasted spectacular. The fatty, juicy goodness was all that I was waiting for and more. All you want in a great, grilled ribeye. It was worth the drive, the wait, and all the questioning. It was the best steak I had on the central coast. The steak gets five stars, everything else about Jacko's gets zero. Yes, the steak stands tall on its own.
This Japanese place is known for an extensive list of inventive rolls. Sometimes you want traditional, sometimes you want fun and flare, but sometimes you want some cool inventive twists on sushi. Some rolls that come to mind are the Yellowtail Roll, the Hawaiian Roll, and the Super Dynamite Roll. The yellowtail roll is actually quite simple, but if you're a fan of yellow tail you'll like this roll that has yellowtail inside the sushi roll which is then wrapped in yellowtail. The Hawaiian Roll if my favorite. A bed of california rolls are laid sliced side up and topped with cubed salmon sahimi and tomatoes that have been toosed in a light coconut curry sauce. It's a party in your mouth that roll. The Super Dynamite roll again is a bed of california rolls topped with several types of seafood in a creamy sauce and then baked until a thin crust is formed on top. It's like a sushi casserole. Just makes you want to say yummmm.
MUST HAVE: The Hawaiian Roll
What? Five stars for bubblegum on walls? I can admit to have been there once, but once you go back would you ever go again? True, you might take visitors there but then what? I can see it now. "I came all the way down to SLO to visit you take me to an alley covered with bubblegum?" So I can't hate too much, it is a unique oddity that is part of SLO so here's two stars for that.