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May 21, 2008 01:14 PM


Carter's frequent recs for Boneyard Bistro finally got me to try it recently. I went for an early birthday dinner. At the top of my 'beers to try' list was Temptation (a blonde ale aged in used French oak chardonnay barrels) from Russian River Brewing. I asked the waiter if they had it and Chef/Owner Aaron came over and asked me how I knew that they had it as it was not yet on the menu and that it had just been delivered. A 375 ml (small bottle) was priced at current retail x 2 at $22. Most expensive beer that I've ever had but it was also one of the very best that I have experienced! I had a 1/2 order special salad as an appetizer, don't remember the name but it had grilled shrimp and was pretty darned good. For my entree I ordered the Oak Grilled Chef’s Cut “Tomahawk” Bone In Rib Eye Chop * Beer Battered Onion Rings * Balsamic Glazed Shallots * Housemade Worcestershire Sauce (ordered a smaller cut cooked rare for one person). Arrived perfectly cooked. This was $56 and while very, very good - wonderful flavors, I felt that it was a bit overpriced.

Went back again for a beer and a burger. Ordered a 375 ml bottle of Supplication (a brown ale aged in used oak pinot noir barrels with sour cherries added) again from Russian River Brewing. Again a great ale but priced at $22, wish it were a little more reasonable! Regarding the burger, don't recall the name, (it is not listed on the website menu). It had a strong smelling/mild flavor cheese with which I was not familliar and I substituted a mild Chimay. Ordered it extra rare, arrived at the table cooked between medium and well done. Talked to Aaron who explained to me (in a slightly condescending manner) that they continue to cook after they are removed from the grill. I just nodded but almost said that they should be removed from the heat source sooner so that they arrive as ordered by the customer! It was replaced by a medium rare version (he talked me into the stronger fromage) that was again very tasty, but as it was a bit more expensive than the ones listed on his menu at $22 I believe, to me a steep price for this burger! I would make the burgers at Boneyard a little smaller but just as creative with ingredients and a bit lower in price.

Now I don't usually focus on price so much when dining out but $88 plus tip for two burgers and two great beers makes this a great but very expensive restaurant! Special occasions, maybe. Weekly rotation, no way!

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  1. Overcooked meat is unacceptable at a chef/owned restaurant at those prices. Food shortage or not, that is completely unacceptable. Aaron should be ashamed of himself for making the dumbest excuse ever.

    Boneyard Bistro prices are the same prices I see at Jar, STK, Campanile, Cut, and even top restaurants in Manhattan. they really need to deliver!

    PS: I would have demanded that the burger be sent back. I would not have taken no for an asnwer.

    1. Interesting post, sel. My family and I went to Boneyard a few months ago and had a similar experience, only I wanted my burger well done because of my pregnancy. When my "well done" burger came out very pink, Aaron came out with a similar "what do you know?" attitude that totally turned me off. He begrudgingly cooked my burger further with no apology for messing up the order. And for what I consider mediocre, at best, BBQ and food it is really overpriced. Really, $22 for an ok burger that they can't prepare the way it's ordered? Never again.

      Oh and by the way, I think it was Super Bowl Sunday the night we were there and during this whole exchange he seemed additionally annoyed at having to deal with me instead of being able to stand in the dining room to watch the game (which he was doing throughout our whole meal).


      2 Replies
      1. re: Suebee

        I have found Aaron also (surprisingly) very condescending and full of himself at times. But the venison medallions topped with foie gras and a great rich gravy sauce with mashed potatoes was a dynamite dish when I had it a few years back. The hot fudge sundae is pretty darn good too as far as those are concerned. The Santa Maria-style trip tip was appropriately smokey although the other cue was way too heavy and the bbq sauces on the side did nothing for us. Anyhow, when it first opened, Boneyard was considerably easier on the pocketbook, maybe the bistro entrees topped out at about 27 bucks for so for the steak. Later, he added the venison special and lamb, which both hit up close to 40 bucks per. The burger was also later added. I think they are having higher prices to compensate for not having a lunch cover, which in my opinion is still unfair to the customer. The above mentioned beers sound swell and I have not heard of cherry beer from Russian River brewing Co. offered anywhere, so that sounds pretty darn good, but 22 bucks per 12 oz bottle does sound egregrious considering that a great 750 mL bottle of champagne bubbly cask conditioned bottle fermented Deus Brute de Flanders will run you a little over 20 bucks too.

        1. re: Suebee

          Another vote for being overpriced for the food. Great beer selection though.

        2. While not a beer drinker virtually at all, I will mention that the burgers are Wagyu beef, which is always more expensive than any other version. And at least one of the cheese toppings is also quite expensive, even though I order it without cheese, yet seldom order the burger in the first place.
          I agree that his food is expensive, yet with the way costs have risen in the past 60 days, I am surprised they have not risen even further. But these price increases are also the reason I have not returned as frequently as I used to.
          Two pieces of fried chicken on Monday nights only, $11 or $14 (dark or white option) is not inexpensive, yet is probably as good a fried chicken as you will eat in quite a while.
          Right now he has kangaroo on the menu, and cannot keep it in stock as customers order it beyond his supply, and for over $30 per entree.
          People know he cooks very good food, and many are willing to pay the price. obviously, ymmv!

          1 Reply
          1. re: carter

            I will return because I would like to try some of the Starters, Salads, Fried Chicken, maybe some Specials and more from his great beer list! I'll pass on the roo. I'm trying to eat a bit more sensibly, as in healthy and lighter and the burger and steak were tasty but real gut busters!

          2. sel, the Russian River belgian-style ales are among my favorites, and up here in n.calif they go for about $9/btl (at least 17 oz., maybe bigger) at many whole foods markets--maybe the ones near you have 'em. They're bottle conditioned and can be cellared.

            1 Reply
            1. re: moto

              Russian River brews are not available at Whole Foods in the greater L.A. area, at least not yet. Although I do shop at WF, they sometimes don't handle the beer and other items with the best of care. Cases left on the loading dock in the sun etc. I prefer to buy craft brews at an independent shop that cares about the product and how it is handled. My suggestion, if it doesn't taste right be sure to return it!

            2. I love Boneyard Bistro. I have always found Aaron and his fabulous crew to be warm and friendly, and willing to meet my often odd whims. When I first asked if they could do the burrito in an off menu way, no one had a problem with it. In fact, now, I imagine they assume that's what I want. The beer list is amazing in a town with not as many beer options as it should have. and Aaron and staff often will give tastes of what's on Draught.

              now, it isn't the cheapest place in town, but the portions are monsterous and the dishes often innovative. They'll give me yummy corn muffins till I holler!

              Compare this to my experience at Father's Office. Good beer list, yes. Special non-menu orders or changes or substitutions? No way. Warm chef/owner chatting and joking with me? oh no. Cheerful and happy staff? Not on the times I go. Good sized protions? Not really.

              YEs, FO is supposedly a bar and Boneyard Bistro is not. I can get reservations at Boneyard. I can get a table! I can get food more to my liking. I have a choice of burgers and the option of Ketchup, should I want it.

              Now again, this is just me, but I find I have a far better time, a better meal, and more fun at Boneyard Bistro. More bang for my buck!

              4 Replies
              1. re: Diana

                Diana - did you do a full review of FO? If so I couldn't find it.

                1. re: Josh90004

                  nope, couldn't be bothered. Wasn't good enough or bad eouh for me to do more than express my opinion in responses. The times I went, the food I could eat was great, the wait annoying, the table hokey a pain, and the menu policy silly

                  Haven't been to the Culver City one, though. Will go, and see if I like it better, one day.

                  1. re: Diana

                    Oh ok, my mistake. I thought you were a FO virgin and were going to try the CC location as your first time. I am still dreaming about the beet salad, darn those nuts.