Food: () Unique in Central Oregon, the pub menu is heavily Asian-influenced.
Service: () Outstanding for counter-order dining, with table delivery and follow-up
Atmosphere: () Decor is minimalist in this pub, which can seat nearly 400 guests
Location: 1955 NE Division St., Bend
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day
Cuisine: Pub food with Asian influences
Price range: Starters $5 to $9, salads and sandwiches $12 to $15, main dishes $13 to $17
Credit cards: American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
Kids’ menu: Chicken, beef and veggie choices, $5 and $6
Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Several choices including a jackfruit bowl and beet Napoleon.
Alcoholic beverages: Fully licensed.
Outdoor seating: Yes.
Reservations: Large parties only
Contact: boneyardbeer.com, 541-241-7184
What’s this? A brewpub that doesn’t serve burgers and fries? One that, instead of pizza, offers pulled jackfruit and nori (seaweed) crisps?
Chris “Tap” Mitchell, executive chef at Bend’s new Boneyard Beer Pub, explained: “Boneyard has always been a little different,” he said. “Why should the menu be anything other than that?”
There’s no doubt that Boneyard’s meal selection is unique in Central Oregon. Mitchell has drawn upon his heritage in shaping a menu that incorporates a variety of Asian flavors, including Filipino, Japanese and Vietnamese. His mother, a native of the Philippines, cooked many of these dishes as he was growing up on a Marine Corps base in Southern California.
“The response has been mixed,” he acknowledged.
Personally, I can recommend at least a dozen places in Bend to get a craft beer and a burger. I don’t know of another serving chicken in adobo sauce or a banh mi dog with kimchi. I’m a fan.
Worth the wait
Tony Lawrence, who co-founded Boneyard Beer in 2010, didn’t rush into building his first pub. For years, Boneyard sold beer only on draft from a tiny residential tasting room. Even after purchasing a 5,000-square-foot, former Chinese and Mexican restaurant north of downtown Bend in January 2017, the company was painstakingly slow in developing the site, which finally opened in July.
It was worth the wait. Nearly 400 patrons can pack into the spacious pub on NE Division Street — many of them on partially covered (and heated) patios. Inside are several seating and bar areas with a variety of high-top tables, booths and sofas. Decor is minimalist, but there are sufficient televisions to satisfy sports fans.
The larger of two bars has a hanging 13-tap tower with a selection of beers, Avid ciders and kombucha. A smaller, old-style bar offers cocktails as well as beer. Between the two is a souvenir merchandise counter that stands beside the discreet main entrance.
Under General Manager Jon Avella, Boneyard has pub service down to a science. Customers place an initial order at any counter, keep their account open with a credit card and reorder with different servers. Food and drinks are delivered to tables, and anyone less than satisfied is encouraged to share their thoughts with managers who do their best to make things right.
On two visits, my dining companion and I weren’t enamored with every plate we ordered. But we were impressed by the creative energy inspired by Mitchell, who formerly cooked at Bistro 28, Brother Jon’s and the Primal Cuts meat market.
Our favorite was his Filipino Chicken ($13), a “homestyle” recipe whose popularity, Mitchell said, continues to surprise him. A pair of chicken thighs were marinated for 24 hours in adobo, a slightly sweet sauce traditionally made with soy, vinegar and garlic. The chef said he substitutes tamari for soy, adding peppercorns and a splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream before roasting.
The chicken was served with sticky rice and green beans, seasoned and chargrilled on cast iron, that were among the best I’ve ever had.
Also outstanding was a spicy Steak Verde sandwich ($14) on a soft hoagie roll from the Sparrow Bakery. Slices of tender, marinated skirt steak spread with tangy, green salsa verde were the main ingredients of this midday meal, along with pickled peppers, red onion, avocado, arugula and soft queso fresco cheese from Mexico.
As a fan of hearty soups, I enjoyed a bowl of posole ($8), Mitchell’s take on the traditional Mexican stew of white hominy grits and tender pork shoulder. The chef derived the broth from pork marrow, added a little chicken stock in final cooking and threw in minced onion, cilantro and pickled ginger. The only thing that didn’t work for me was a garnish of chicharrons, fried pork rinds that failed to complement the flavor.
Sesame pork-belly salad ($12) was a daily special at one of our visits. It’s a dish we wish was available every day. Crispy-fried pork belly was tossed with Mandarin orange segments and togarashi-spiced wonton strips in a salad of mixed greens, cilantro, cucumber and pear tomatoes with a toasted sesame dressing.
A poke bowl ($14) highlighted sushi-grade sockeye salmon, marinated to a deep red in citrus and tamari. It was served with excellent Korean kimchi, a pickled cucumber salad, rice and a smear of avocado. Personally, I would have preferred wasabi to the avocado.
Boneyard offers five styles of marinated and roasted chicken wings priced at $14 a dozen (or $8 per half-dozen). The Honey Beer Mustard variety, sauced with house beer and stone-ground mustard, was more flavorful than spicy, even if the wings were small. On another visit, I might ask for carrot-habanero-flavored Red Dragon.
A beet hummus starter ($6), presented as a daily special, was distinguished by a drizzle of chili oil that rendered it hotter than the wings. Beets were blended with chickpeas in this dip, which was sprinkled with green onions and served with pretzel chips.
Among other vegetarian selections, we did not love the ponzu mushrooms ($8), Mitchell’s adaptation of a French recipe. Button mushrooms were roasted in a sauce of mirin (rice wine), ponzu (tamari and citrus), lemongrass, ginger, garlic and shallots. We would have been happier with less broth, a different toast than Sparrow Bakery pretzel chips and perhaps another choice of mushroom: Shiitake came to my mind.
I believe no one else in Central Oregon serves jackfruit, a large tropical fruit native to South Asia. At Boneyard, it’s pulled into fibrous strips and served with cheese and slaw on bread (Sweet Chili Jackfruit, $12) or offered in a bowl with quinoa, arugula, avocado and salsa verde (Jackfruit Bowl, $13).
“I kind of stumbled upon it, looking for a meat substitute that’s not soy-based,” Mitchell said. “It has a light protein content and takes flavors very well.”
— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at email@example.com .
NEXT WEEK: PLANTD