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New Barbecue: Sometimes Flavorful, Sometimes Dry

Find out how EJ's House of Chicken and Ribs fares with our resident food fanatic.

Last year the Starbucks on Marguerite and Crown Valley disappeared and made way for a new food joint: EJ’s House of Chicken and Ribs. Owner Erwin Jesse Wusstig has settled in and is serving up some Guamanian BBQ and rotisserie chicken. 

It is certainly a welcome change from your standard pizza, burger and tacos that sometimes seems to be the only thing you can find for lunch around here. My husband, Drew, and I were anxious to sample a cuisine that we are not familiar with. And how can you go wrong with chicken and ribs? I hoped we weren’t too late because the hours are posted as 11 a.m. until the food is gone.

First and foremost I noticed that the restaurant was very clean, albeit a bit too loud. The sound from the televisions bouncing off the slate tile floors. But both TVs were on sports stations so it was win-win for Drew. 

Rotisserie chicken or BBQ ribs: how can you choose one? Luckily, the lunch special provided an opportunity to try both. Two ribs, one piece of chicken and a side of brown rice for about seven bucks. It also came with corn or flour tortillas and I wasn’t sure how that fit in with the cuisine, but sure, I’m game. Flour it was.

Drew chose the pulled pork sandwich which came with french fries. The sandwich was served on a sweet roll and topped with barbecue sauce and cole slaw. The sweetness from the roll, the kick from the sauce and the crunch from the slaw was a great combination. Some decent fries on the side and this sandwich had everything going for it, except the price. Ten bucks is a little steep for a sandwich.

We added a side of macaroni salad because I am always in search of a macaroni salad that is not sweet and watery like the ones you find in the grocery store. Thankfully this salad was of the creamier variety and there was enough left over to bring home.

The rotisserie chicken had great flavor throughout but the meat was a bit on the dry side. The two ribs had a very thick layer of sauce added on top. It was too much so it had to be scraped off so the flavor of the marinated meat could come through. It had a nice spicy sweetness that I really enjoyed.

My plate of chicken and ribs came with two scoops on brown rice. It would have been better to offer the meal with one scoop of rice and one scoop of cole slaw. Something cold and crisp to balance the spicy meat and the bland rice. Still unsure of what to do with the tortillas that came with this meal, they went untouched.

Kids meals are $3.50 and they come with one side and a drink. You have your choice of chicken tenders, two ribs or a chicken leg. An even better option is go on a Sunday when the kids can eat for free.

Without the option of the lunch specials, this place is a little pricey for takeout. $13.99 for a 1/2 roasted chicken with a few sides when most grocery stores offer a decent whole chicken with sides for under 10 bucks?

For the price I am not sure I would revisit this place but it will be hard to keep Drew away from that pulled pork sandwich.

Here are some restaurant details:

EJ's House of Chicken and Ribs
27680 Marguerite Parkway, Suite C
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
949-388-4800

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