So finally gained admittance to Boneyard Bistro. My friend and I made a reservation the other night, and only could get a quarter to nine timeslot. We acquiesced.
We got there a little before the reservation time, and the place was slammed, on a weeknight. There was a group of woman who had been waiting outside since close to eight pm. Along with another couple parties. Too bad there is no area to weight in, except the fenced off area right outside the tiny restaurant where two rackety benches reside. And it's darn cold outside to boot. This is especially problematic since if you make a reservation you expect to be seated at roughtly that time, not wait for another half hour or more in the cold outside. Espcecially since there's also no bar to pony up to for a drink or two.
Finally got inside, and were seated. Now for people this is a tiny place where seats are packed cheek-to-jowl expect for maybe the two or three boothers. Noisy as hell to boot. And you feel like you're packed like sardines in the proverbial tin can. Though I must agree with others the tiny bistro sure felt just a little bit like a tiny manhattan restaurant storefront.
But I can deal with all this as long as the food is good and according to the hounds the food here is not just good but close to very good and even bordering on exceptional. Already heard about the menu from previous posts, but took a look at the menu anyway. The blackened catfish sounded tasty with a spicey sauce and all but it came with jambalaya risotto but I don't eat pork. So asked the waitress if I could get a substitution or even just leave out the jamabalay risotto. She said the chef was not open to that. No substitutions and no dropping off the risotto from the order. (This guy might just give nozawa a run for his money). So instead ordered the two-way meat combo with the tri-tip, santa maria style and the smoked brisket plate along with slaw and the aforementioned in many posts before of the fried mac n' cheese triangle. My friend got the beef ribs along with fries and the mac n' cheese.
Oh, we also ordered the duck spring rolls as an appetizer to get the feast started. First of some corn muffins and bread arrived, and it was quite good. Not too shabby. Then the spring rolls arrived and they were all right but nothing at all special. The duck did taste like duck but not good duck. And the a little dab of the cherry compote was good, but if you had more than a tiny spoonful it waw exoribitantly cloying in its sweetness almost saccharine in it's supreme sweetness. Maybe if they put a dab of that with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert it might work, but not here. The sweetness should have been toned down and the dish as a whole was missing some layers. So much for the spring rolls.
Then the entrees arrived. My friend proclaimed his beef ribs pretty good though not in any way very good (he got a half order). I tried one of the ribs and it was all right though nothing remotely special, where was the tenderness of the meat? I quite enjoyed the tri-trip, these were flavorful pieces of meat that don't need any bbq sauce at all. In fact, the bbq sauce came as a sidecar in a little tiny sauceboat. Sauce was not bad though not in the vein of my favorites at Phillip's BBQ in Leimert Park or Woody's on Slauson. More like a sweet and spicey sauce without the layer's of Phillip's. (side note: Phillip's sauce reminds me, in it's layering of flavors, as a great sauce reminscent of the mexican mole sauce).
The brisket was good not great and the coleslaw was supermarket quality (can anyone say Costco?). On to the much heralded mac n' cheese, the mac n cheese was lumps of elbow macoroni w/ a bland cheese bound together and then deep-fried with a super-thick coating. The waitress had warned us that it had a spicey kick to it, but unfortunatley it was missing flavor. It was a deep fried mess, reminded me of those deep-fried twinkies or oreos unique to fish-and-chip joints in England. Not good. And besides the barest hint of spice, there was no discrernment of salt or any flavor from the cheese to bring the side together. oh, I snagged a couple of my friends fries and they were pedestrian at best.
We both didn't finish are plates, though I did eat the majority of my tri-tip, which as I've said before was quite good. At this point, we were pretty full but not in a sastified way. (As a note, satisfied full was 1.5 pound rib eye chop on the bone at the hitching post a few weeks back cooked on the grill with the oaks known to sant maria bbq style along with their tremendous french fries cooked in beef suet). The meal was heavy though not good heavy, not in the way that you have a butter laden stew at a Creole restaurant or have a nice traditional fried oyster po'boy or a heavy French meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant in France. Mind you a little heavyness can be good if done right.
Though I could round out the meal with the toffee pudding dessert. But that too was a letdown. It seemed like a not very interesting combo of a bread pudding mixed the warm flourless chocolate cake that have been on restuarnat menus around town for the past few years. The only redeeming quality of this dessert was the sour creamish-creme fraiche. And I could discern none of the promised dates in the dessert.
I truly wanted to look this joint. Believe me. If bbq is done right, it can be very good. In fact if any cuisine is done right it could be very good if not mind-blowing.
And to make matters worse the head chef/proprietor made the rounds of the restaurant, and said hi to everyone seated in the restaurant at the time except for us. i don't know why. Some discrimination at a place. I really don't need to exhange pleasantries with the chef if he's busy in the kitchen but if he comes out onto the dining room floor and acknowledges everyone's presence but us. I feel that is a bad business move.
So after all the build up, I was definitely letdown. Once again, I really want to enjoy this place. Too bad I had to dissent but that was my experience food-wise and service-wise. Now for the people that love the place don't worry there will still be seats for you.