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Sep 17, 2010 12:04 PM

Full Bar BBQ?

A friend asked me where to go for this combo and I was stumped.

LA is a fairly lousy BBQ town -- and even lousier for BBQ with hard liqour.
I suggested they go for Korean BBQ -- soju is hard enough -- but that didn't fly.

So.... there's Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks and Baby Blue's in WeHo...anything else?

Boneyard Bistro
13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

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    1. I hope you're not saying Baby Blue's is good BBQ. Among the worst and most overrated BBQ restaurants in LA.

      Spring St. Smokehouse may have a full bar. Decent, if inconsistent BBQ.

      3 Replies
      1. re: reality check

        Craft beers on tap at Spring Street BBQ, no full bar.
        Full bar= Lucille's BBQ

        1. re: monku

          My BBQ taste buds must be on the fritz. I actually like many of the things I've had at Baby Blue's. Maybe not the brisket, but the long bone ribs were outstanding.

          1. re: Servorg

            I agree with reality check about BBBBQ - I don't like it at all. But it has a full bar.

      2. pretty sure kansas city bbq in NoHo has a full bar

        pretty good ribs, spicy bbq sauce is awesome (and has a good kick after a while)

        1. Wood Ranch. Can't vouch for either the food or drink, never been there.

          1. serving alcohol at a bbq joint is a dead giveaway that the bbq is not too good.

            korean bbq was a great suggestion!

            25 Replies
            1. re: raizans

              Or perhaps just an attempt to help their bottom line in one of the more challenging restaurant markets in the US (not too mention one of the worst restaurant business recessions within the larger recession in memory)

              1. re: raizans

                "serving alcohol at a bbq joint is a dead giveaway that the bbq is not too good."


                Can you explain why that is?

                I know that boos and BBQ go together like "chow" and "hound" at tailgates.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  i'm guessing it's part of the business model. a good barbecue restaurant needs at least two things: a smoker and a pitmaster.

                  a well appointed restaurant with a full bar is probably going to be in a more affluent area that makes using a smoker very difficult, if not impossible. they will also be catering to a different clientele with different tastes.

                  where is a restaurateur going to find a pitmaster? chances are they have their own thing going and don't want to be an employee.

                  i just read the new diner's review of the newly expanded boneyard bistro and it looks promising. their rather awful website is still under construction, but they do serve spirits and cocktails.

                  1. re: raizans

                    I don't really consider Boneyard to be real bbq.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      the spare ribs look respectable enough in the picture. the menu and prices put me off a bit, but it's still going down on my "to try" list.

                      1. re: raizans

                        Boneyard is putting a gourmet spin on BBQ. BBQ isn't gourmet, but he does a good job of smoking his ribs. But those prices are high. Is the food worth the price? Maybe.

                      2. re: ipsedixit

                        Interestingly enough, the Boneyard smokes all its meats on premises, then provides sauces on the side.
                        Not sure what your benchmark would be regarding what IS bbq. though.
                        Nicely smoked food, be it chicken, ribs (pork or beef), etc.
                        Their 47 full liquor license is awaiting ABC approval, which was supposed to be signed off by Sept 1, which of course did not occur.
                        The new website will be up and running with the new licensing, and of course a new bistro menu, give or take by the end of the month.

                        1. re: carter

                          Boneyard doesn't smoke all their meats. Their menu does say they grill some meats.

                          1. re: reality check

                            Been wanting to try this place for a while. But residing in the Westside would require some encouragement. Are you saying BYB does not smoke all of their meats - as in they don't smoke a grilled steak or chicken in a pasta dish; thus, not all meats are smoked. Or is it that they don't smoke all of their BBQ stuff where serious BBQ enthusiasts would consider it to be a sin?

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              Their BBQ menu (they also have a "bistro" menu) says that their meat and poultry have been given an in house rub seasoning blend they create, and all are smoked anywhere from 2 to 18 hours (depending on the item).

                              1. re: Servorg

                                You should quote the entire sentence.

                                that their meat and poultry have been given an in house rub seasoning blend they create, and all are smoked anywhere from 2 to 18 hours OR GRILLED over live red oak fire.



                                1. re: reality check

                                  It sounds like the smoking is done where the smoking is appropriate, while the grilling is done where grilling is appropriate. I think you're taking things too literally, but thanks.

                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                    No, I'm not. They do not smoke their "BBQ" chicken. It is grilled!! Chicken is a huge part of BBQ competitions.

                                    They do smoke their spare ribs. But those are only two meats that were ordered at our table.

                                    1. re: reality check

                                      I can live with unsmoked but grilled chicken. With that, would you consider the chicken to be prepared competently? Personally (and literally), I'd be putting a lot more weight on the ribs. :)

                                      1. re: reality check

                                        You are completely wrong. All their meats, save one (the organic beef ribs which are grilled over red oak as a "Santa Maria" style taste) are smoked INCLUDING the CHICKEN.

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          The chicken my friend had, had GRILL marks. It was grilled.

                                          1. re: reality check

                                            It may well be FINISHED on the grill, but it is SMOKED in their SMOKER, friend.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Servorg and reality check,

                                              Here's the word from the proverbial horse's mouth to help you guys settle this debate (hopefully).

                                              E-mail from owner and chef of Boneyard Bistro appended below.



                                              On Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 11:59 AM, Boneyard Bistro <> wrote:

                                              Our chicken is slow smoked over Hickory and then finished to order for 5 minutes over Red Oak Grill. For the debate I would say smoked is correct. Definetly not grilled only.

                                              Aaron Robins
                                              Boneyard Bistro
                                              13539 Ventura Blvd.
                                              Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
                                              818-906-9119 fax

                                        2. re: reality check

                                          Who cares, as long as the end-product is juicy and delicious? I've been eating barbeque all over the South and southern Midwest my entire life and have found that the best way to ruin most meats, especially chicken and pork, is to over-smoke (which makes for dry, unpalatable Q) and under-grill (careful grilling can produce a delicious carmelized crust without adding too much more smoke). I don't remember the first time I heard someone claim that real barbeque isn't grilled -- it sure wasn't at my favorite places in Alabama and Tennessee, for example -- but I dismissed that theology then as I do now. If necessary, call it something else -- "fire-disrupted meats" -- instead of BBQ, and let's move on. When it's appropriately smoked and lightly grilled AND deliciously juicy, I'll devour it without demanding to know which chapter and verse authorizes the style.


                                          P.S. Getting back to full-bar barbeque, I couldn't stand Boneyard Bistro -- the food, the atmosphere, the service, the lame-yuppie-ness of it all. Then, one day, I actually went to the place and ate both my words and surprisingly good Q. "What foods these morsels be." I plan to visit the remodeled version soon and maybe try the bistro menu, as well, although I'm sure it stinks. ;-)

                              2. re: carter

                                "Not sure what your benchmark would be regarding what IS bbq. though."


                                Perhaps, I should rephrase my original reply. I don't consider Boneyard to be serious or good BBQ.

                                Now, I'll be the first to admit that I am by no means a barbecue aficionado, but I am pretty confident in my own foodar in what tastes good and what does not, be it BBQ or anything else.

                                I've been to Boneyard twice, first when it recently opened back in 2005 (or thereabouts) and about a year ago. And both times I came to the same conclusion -- the non-BBQ dishes were far far better than the BBQ ones. The seafood dishes were definitely the highlights of the meal. One big difference, however, was our most recent excursion to the Valley and Boneyard, we found the BBQ to be notably worse in all respects.

                                While our initial visit nearly 5 years ago showed us that the ribs were decent, not great, and the non-BBQ dishes the star of the menu, our most recent meal confirmed that the non-BBQ dishes were indeed solid, but that the BBQ had gone downhill.

                                Yes, the babyback ribs were smoked. But this isn't always a good thing. There is smoke flavor and then there is too much smoke flavor. The baby back ribs tasted like they were marinaded in liquid smoke, and cooked to a bone dry consistency that made me think the kitchen interpreted BBQ to mean "jerky". Not a good experience.

                                And while I'm not usually one to complain about prices, esp. if the food is good, I thought that Boneyard was essentially committing highway robbery with some of its price points. Again, if the BBQ was good, I'd pony up for it, but after having tried Bludso's, BigMista's, Jaybees, Park's Finest, etc., I just cannot settle for the stuff at Boneyard when I can get much better fare at better prices.

                            2. re: raizans

                              Love's was good, real BBQ and each one had a bar. There are no absolutes.

                              1. re: reality check

                                When Love's first opened in Encino in the 50s it was pretty darn good BBQ. It went down hill when it was turned in to a chain restaurant.

                                1. re: ChinoWayne

                                  Love's was like the Sizzlers version of 'Q.

                                  I liked it as a kid, esp. their baked beans, but I certainly wouldn't consider them a serious BBQ restaurant. Just like I wouldn't consider Sizzlers a serious steak place.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Ipse, you must have been born wealthy. The Sizzler steak andwich in 1968 for the whopping sum of 99 cents was a law student's dream and even made it taste great. Serious back then? No. Good and filling? Yes. Would I make it a destination point today? No.

                            3. re: raizans

                              I personally find it extremely dangerous for a place to serve great bbq and alcohol. It's too easy to drink a lot when washing down bbq. :*)