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Deep Fried Macaroni & Cheese at Boneyard Bistro

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When we read New York Times' vacation on Ventura Blvd. last fall, we were happy the Valley got noticed with better geography skills than our local news outlets. And ever since La Di Da in West Hollywood closed (probably 'cause someone [see previous link] said its neighborhood was Miracle Mile), nothing in LA has been able to impress like Misti Chamkunthod's Brie mac and cheese (you can find Misti at The Backstage in Culver City these days). Then, NYT found a good replacement for the loss:

For heartier fare, there’s the Boneyard Bistro (13539 Ventura Boulevard, 818-906-7427), a barbecue joint that doesn’t scrimp on big slabs of red meat, but also throws in a few curve balls, such as deep-fried macaroni and cheese ($6 for a large portion) and smoked-duck spring rolls ($11).

The mac and cheese (actually shells and cheese) is enclosed in a breaded deep fried pocket and is served with Crystal Hot Sauce to dip in. Extra points go to the Bistro since you eat the mac and cheese with your hands without after-stick (you know, cheesy fingers). "Now as much as I love the Mac and Cheese at Luna Park or Magnolia, this one ranks right up there," says a reviewer at Yelp.com.

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Other Yelpers noticed the celebrity factor: "The first thing I noticed was the amount of celebs there. As we were walking in Ricky Jay (boogie nights) was walking out. Sitting next to us was Leonard Maltin (film critic) and in the back of the restaurant was Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya from the princess bride)." Another noted seeing Ken Davitian (Azamat Bagatov from BORAT).

LA Times gave the restaurant two stars out of four, yet did not bad mouth the place much at all. They did a great job looking into the other part of the menu where things got less like a BBQ place and more like a frequent neighborhood visit:

And this part of the menu holds some nice surprises. Like the Thai-style crispy calamari salad, a heap of julienned Asian vegetables and roasted peanuts with crispy calamari rings and tentacles buried in there somewhere. It's kind of irresistible, gingery and hot at the same time. Pulled pork dumplings tantalize with a smoky pulled pork filling and a svelte beurre blanc flavored with a little barbecue sauce. Good, but the wrapper could be more supple... Over in the corner, two women tearing apart their absent boyfriends take desultory bites of spinach and arugula salad adorned with everything a girl could want — roasted beets, caramelized apples, sugary pecans, goat cheese and golden fried onion strings.

As evident from above, a vegetarian can survive at this BBQ place better than others -- even the Caesar Salad is anchovy-free (as it should be). It's just a matter if one can win the battle with the most common vice of a vegan -- cheese.