Kaminski’s Bar BQ & Sports Lounge

We typically don’t like BBQs that are vinegar and/or ketchup based and haven’t found a place we like in SD. But on a recent evening when we needed a break from another evening of microwaved dinners, I chose to try the new Kaminski’s Bar BQ & Sports Lounge in Poway. The Kaminski family has a long history in Poway and with KGB DSC’s Dave enjoying a recent meal at Kaminski’s, I thought we’d try it. The Mister was gamed since we’ve never been to Kaminski’s, the old and the newly built place. I also wanted to check out what kind of TV set-ups they had just in case we needed to find a sports bar that carries NHL playoff games (long and annoying story between DirecTV and Versus).

The place was busy and lots of buzz (Monday Night Football playing on most screens). There weren’t any open booths so we settled for a table in the midst of the packed dining room. A nice waitress stopped by to take our drink order. We pondered over the menu and it finally dawned on me that we’d be experiencing North Carolina BBQ. Whether it will be East or West, I didn’t know but NC BBQ nonetheless. I know it’s on their website but I think I missed that connection when I was reading their history. Don’t think I’ve ever had NC BBQ so it’ll be a first for me. After taking a few minute to peruse, we placed our order.

As starters, I ordered the Garlic Fries ($3.49) and the Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings ($7.99). I love chicken wings of all sorts and I’m not alone in this love affair! The Garlic Fries came out first.

Garlic Fries

I could smell these before they even hit the table so I was really excited. These were thinner than the standard 1/4 cut fries, piping hot and good crunch. If these were “regular” fries, they would have been a winner. But these were suppose to be garlic fries and there wasn’t much of garlic taste to them. We did enjoy the fries even with the disappointment that it wasn’t more garlicky. Next up were the Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings.

Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings

Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings

The first thing that came to my mind was “holy crap, how am I going to eat this without getting sauce all over my face?” With dainty pinkies up and delicate touch, obviously. Thank goodness there’s a large sink, soap and paper towels nearby for customers to wash up (nifty idea). I’m not sure how the wings were cooked except that it wasn’t fried. The sauce had a vinegar-hot sauce flavor to it with just a tinge of sweetness. There was definitely a strong smoky flavor to it. No bottled smoke here (thank goodness). The Ranch dressing, carrots and celery were standard issue. I liked the wings more than the Mister but don’t think I’d order the wings again.

We both chose to get ribs, although the Mister surprised me by ordering the beef ribs. Beef ribs just has a tendency to be drier and less meaty than pork ribs but hey, he wanted to try it. 

 The Mister chose the 1/2 order of Cowboy Sized Beef Ribs with a side of Ranch Beans and Potato Salad ($9.99).

1/2 Order Cowboy Sized Beef Ribs

With the name “Cowboy Sized” I had expected larger beef ribs but these were pretty standard sized. You can definitely smell the smokiness from these ribs. The sauce was similar to that on the chicken wings without the hot and spicy. The Mister really didn’t care for the taste of the BBQ sauce. The beans were meh and the potato salad lacked any kind of flavor (needed a whole lot of salt and something). It also came with Texas Toast but I don’t think he ate those.

I ordered a 1/4 order of the Iowa Baby Back Pork Ribs ($10.99) with a salad with blue cheese dressing and potato salad as my sides.

1/4 Order of Iowa Baby Back Port Ribs

The baby backs also came with the same Kaminski BBQ sauce. I thought the sauce was tangy from the vinegar with a slight sweetness (molasses, ketchup, brown sugar maybe?). The salad was standard greens with lots of chunks of blue cheese. The same Texas Toast as the beef ribs. Potato salad was the same bland meh as with the Mister’s meal. We swapped some of our ribs so we can try both. The baby back, as expected, had a lot more meat, tender although not fall off the bone (not sure if they are suppose to be that way). I didn’t really care for the beef ribs although most of the meat was tender. There were bottles of Carolina Sauce on the tables so I tried a little bit of it with one of my ribs. It was vinegar based and added a distinctive flavor to the already tangy BBQ sauce.

Overall a so-so meal for us but we knew going in since we’ve never been big fans of that type of BBQ sauce. I enjoyed the meal more so than the Mister. As far as service, efficient and friendly but the waitress only came by once to ask how the food was and never asked me if I wanted a refill on my soda (free refills). If you’re into long smoked meat, you’ll probably enjoy some of the options offered by Kaminski. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that there were plenty of TV screens with one large wall of multiple screens. Definitely a good option to watch sports. I think I will probably stick with Chicken Fingers or a Louisiana Hot Link next time. Or maybe even the slow smoked prime rib (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only).

Kaminski’s Bar BQ  & Sport Lounge
12735 Poway Rd
Poway, CA 92064

Hours of Operation:
Sunday – Thursday
11:00AM – Midnight
Closed Tuesdays (usually for private parties)
Friday & Saturday
11:00AM – 1:00AM
*additional hour during football season Saturday & Sunday open 9:00AM for limited breakfast

4 Comments

  1. It sounds a lot like our visit, except we were expecting to like it just a little. When I got the beef rib (from the appetizer menu, I think), it was huge. I liked it, but didn’t love it. And I was completely baffled by the garlic fries. They smelled so good! But there was no garlic flavor!

    I thought the beans were bland, too. We tried the macaroni salad – bad! Like eating cardboard that needed more help than salt could provide.

    • Hey Sawyer! BBQ is a funny thing. Everytime I see a BBQ place or someone says a place is good, I always want to try it (Texax, NC, SC, LA, Asian, etc.). But I always seem to be disappointed with most of the Southern style BBQ places I’ve been to.

      I certainly am not one who can educate anyone on Southern BBQ styles although I do like the less vinegary style ones better.

      I’ll look for your review on that bbq joint near you!

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