This brisket sandwich is too good for that extra sauce
4033 Avati Drive, San Diego
I had to drive up a Morena off-street in Bay Ho to find this newish restaurant that calls itself Spice & Soul. It’s a part of town I find myself visiting a lot more often these days. I only learned that this east-of-PB neighborhood is called Bay Ho a year ago.
You can tell that the owners put some time and thought into styling the place, but it still feels casual. A roll-up window counter and outdoor patio give it a “just a couple of miles from the beach” vibe. It doesn’t feel like the kind of place I could walk into and get lightning-fast delivery, but fast forward a short five minutes and I was eating brisket.
Spice & Soul
Call me agnostic, but I won’t speak to the level of soul that was present in this dish. I will however get behind the seasoning of this smoked in-house brisket. The warm and deep ancho/coffee rub was served on a brioche that crumbled into bites of tender, pulled beef flavorful and moist enough that it didn’t need sauce. A side of a tangy brown BBQ sauce was provided, but I quickly lost interest — it only masked that righteous hickory smoke.
There’s a long list of other sauce options I could have subbed in or ordered as an extra at 50 cents per — smoked harissa aioli, habanero, and something called Awesome Sauce stand out. Maybe they would work with the pulled pork, certainly with the salt-and-pepper wings. Or maybe with some of the vegetarian options. Lunch has a grilled hummus wrap with seasonal roasted vegetables served with almond basil pesto, and a diverse assortment of salads include a sturdy “power quinoa” mix of beans, grains, and more. All in the $7–$8 dollar range.
The brisket sandwich cost $9.50. Fries were $3 more, so I decided to settle for the modestly dressed complimentary coleslaw. I’d rather put the three bucks and belly space toward a beer, probably one of the small locals on the beer list.
This place isn’t trying to compete with the sort of high-gloss contemporary restaurants on hip blocks that Instagram their way into local foodie vernacular, but it does apply a few of their tropes in a more modest, neighborhood-friendly setting. Based on this lunch, I’d say Spice & Soul shows promise.