Blue Fire Grill, 5670 Schaefer Ave. (at Benson), Chino
A colleague had recommended Blue Fire Grill to me a few years ago, but I had never seen it and, my knowledge of Chino still tentative, couldn’t picture where it was. The fact that I hadn’t been there nagged at me, though.
Then one evening last month, I was downtown, and hungry, after the end of an early council meeting and thought, Where is Blue Fire Grill? I mapped it and realized it was only a few blocks away. So off I drove.
It’s in an unusual location, an office park, and my eyes weren’t looking high enough to see the sign, as I figured out the location by the address only. The blank exterior is enlivened by the potted landscaping. (On my way out, I asked the server why there wasn’t a sign, she said there is and finally I saw it.)
Inside, the main dining room wasn’t being used (it was early on a Wednesday). The half-dozen customers were all enjoying the wine bar. Yes, the wine bar. I sat at a table and requested a menu.
Blue Fire’s menu is mostly barbecue, with a couple of salads and seafood items, plus pizza. (Yes, pizza. And a wine bar.) They do catering, which might be a big part of their business and made me more confident about ordering. I got the Texas brisket ($18.50), which comes with a salad and two sides; my choices were cornbread and mac and cheese.
The salad was above average and had a flower as a garnish. It might have been edible but just as I was finishing, the entree arrived and I relinquished my plate.
As for the main event, this was a lot of food, and pretty good: tender brisket, tasty and piping hot mac, with blueberry cornbread in mini-muffin form and a container of apple butter. The barbecue sauce was sweeter than I’d prefer, though. I ate all the mac, half of everything else and took the rest home where I got a second meal out of it.
Blue Fire wasn’t my favorite barbecue, and being the only diner was disconcerting. But the experience was fair. Plus, maybe you’re interested in a wine bar…?