Review: Lafayette’s new grill mark needs to adult the game

January 12, 2016 - bbq set

When Lafayette’s dear Bo’s Barbecue sealed in 2014, after some-more than 15 years perched on Mt. Diablo Boulevard nearby Brown Avenue, Lamorindans were disconsolate. Bo McSwine’s grill corner was an institution. And we’ve never accepted landlords who foot good tenants, presumably in a hopes of bringing in some-more income from someone else. We’re still sour over a detriment of Freddie’s Pizza, and that was some-more than a decade ago.

So huzzahs greeted grillmaster Dave Roberson’s proclamation that he was branch his Bonehead’s Texas BBQ catering business into a bricks-and-mortar place in a aged Bo’s quarters.

The Texas grill symbol non-stop final summer, and a renovations have brought a acquire animation to a space. The grill is extremely airier. Three flat-screen TVs hang along a wall for a sports-loving crowd, and we can indeed see a hulk smokers in behind (although we can’t unequivocally smell them). Bright orange chairs and square tables line a front deck, creation it a good symbol to hang out in comfortable weather. There are occasional live bands now, and skeleton for singer/songwriter open mic nights in a months to come. And there’s no doubt that Roberson is used to feeding a crowd.

We’ll get to a specifics of Bonehead’s food in a moment, though first, we’ve been introspective a immeasurable differences between catering a grill gig and using a sit-down grill restaurant, and a expectations diners move to those dual really opposite experiences.

Think about those barbecues in corporate parking lots and festival grounds, as happy diners reserve adult during prolonged smorgasboard tables. Ribs, duck and hazed brisket are dispensed from hulk disposable aluminum trays, and sides are scooped and unceremoniously plopped on straining paper plates by a catering organisation that is paid to be quick and unobtrusive, not charming.

Unless you’re a grill host, chances are good that we have no thought how most your dish costs. You’re too bustling chatting with friends to even notice oversalted food. And who cares about paper plates, groundless cosmetic forks and tiny servings, when we can go behind for seconds?

It takes a crafty and gifted restaurateur to interpret a infrequent delights of a park grill to a sit-down environment, where diners are profitable tighten courtesy to flavor, ambience, use and value, generally when a cooking add-on for dual crests a $50 symbol as simply as it does here.

A combo image featuring baby behind pig ribs, brisket and several sides is seen during Boneheads Texas BBQ grill on Mt. Diablo Boulevard in

At Livermore’s renouned Sauced, for example, impeccable, towering grill transport is served on grocer paper-lined steel trays, an irreverent, infrequent and stout display totally in gripping with a culinary genre, and one that ensures that your food won’t finish adult in your lap. The baked beans are served in ceramic bowls, a flatware is metal, and a drink is, frankly, great.

By contrast, Bonehead’s is an indoor catering gig — nonetheless a drink is Racer IPA ($6) and a sauv blanc hails from Dry Creek ($6). You sequence during a counter, selecting your beef — Harris Ranch brisket, pulled pork, sausage, a duck thigh or ribs, that lift a $3 surcharge — and sides. A one-meat, two-side multiple will run we $11.50, dual and dual is $13.75, and 3 and 3 will set we behind $19.50.

You’ll collect adult your cosmetic utensils and installed paper image during a counter, too, and delicately lift them to your table, acutely unwavering that a paper image courtesy does not spend adequate courtesy on issues of constructional integrity, and that a luck of your mac ‘n’ cheese branch into shirt ‘n’ cheese is high. It’s a parking lot grill knowledge indoors.

The night we were there, a duck thigh valid tiny and unremarkable, and a pulled pig was really salty, though vastly softened by lashings of honeyed grill sauce, that we siphon from a vat, ketchup-style. The brisket was a star of a night: smoky, dainty and proposal meat, nonetheless a cosmetic knives were unsymmetrical to a task. And we can’t assistance though consider that if a grill transport had been knock-your-socks-off overwhelming or even regularly adult to a brisket level, we wouldn’t be fussy about chintzy paper plates — a exercise of which, we realize, contingency be removing vapid by now.

Bonehead’s offers half a dozen sides, and nonetheless a baked beans were underdone and a potato salad was pointy and sharp — that might be a Texas thing — a cornbread and sugar butter were really tasty, and a sharp mac ‘n’ cheese comforting on a cold winter’s night. Other sides embody immature salad and coleslaw.

Those with a honeyed tooth can peruse Bonehead’s dessert offerings — on this evening, vanilla pudding in Styrofoam play and brownies — during a money register.

In a end, we have churned feelings about Bonehead’s. We wish so badly for Roberson to succeed, though while Bonehead’s might surpass during corporate parking lot catering gigs, here, it’s competing with a other dining options on Lafayette’s increasingly sparkling grill row.

Still, those orange square chairs demeanour like a excellent place to gulp a qualification decoction on a comfortable summer night. We’ll try again.

Bonehead’s Texas BBQ

* *

WHERE: 3422 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
HOURS: Lunch and cooking Tuesday-Sunday
CUISINE: Barbecue
PRICES: Entrees
VEGETARIAN: A side or dual of mac ‘n’ cheese ($3) and a salad are about a usually options.
BEVERAGES: Wine and qualification drink on tap
RESERVATIONS: Not accepted
PARKING: Free parking lot
PLUSES: Airy interior, desirable outside dining area, good wines and drink on tap, and juicy brisket
MINUSES: This is paper-plate cruise fare, some-more suitable to a catered grill in a corporate parking lot than a grill on Lafayette’s colourful grill row.

We don’t let restaurants know that we are entrance in to do a review, and we essay to sojourn anonymous. We compensate for a meal, only as we would.


Restaurants are rated on a scale of one to four, with 4 representing complete soundness in food, ambience and service. A 3 is a good grill and a dual is satisfactory to good. Ones are best avoided.

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