The very last thing my family could expect to find out in the shores of Northern California was the best barbecue we have ever eaten. Even when we have learned that Bones Roadhouse's barbecue pit was a J&R imported from Mesquite, Texas we were still more inclined to order some seafood. What a heck, we were at Highway One, by the sea!
We were fortunate enough to watch that big tray with barbecue delicacies making its way to another table before we had a chance to order. The smell of smoked meat went straight to our brains and before we had time to think we ordered three each, 3-way combo plates, in a healthy combination of ribs, brisket, links (sausage) and chicken.
We live in Texas and our benchmark for barbecue had always been a small place in Rosenberg, a town of 24,000 people, 30 miles southwest of downtown Houston. Well, that WAS the benchmark...
Bones Roadhouse prepares the best barbecue we have ever eaten. Ribs fall from the bone with no effort, brisket is moist, tender, has the perfect "red ring" and can easily be cut with a fork. Sausage is spicy without burning you mouth. Chicken is also very moist and flavorful.
I saved the best for last... The barbecue sauce is so good that I have almost ordered a straw to drink it.
Our waiter thought that three combos would be too much for a family of four including an 11-years old girl but she was just plain wrong.
We were coming back from vacation at the Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and I see no chances of us coming back to Bones anytime soon. But if by any chance we have the opportunity to pass in a 100 miles radius of Gualala, California, we will certainly come back and enjoy that wonderful dining experience again.
Bones has a nice ocean view, good beers, good music and friendly people. All of that are just accessories to the best barbecue you can taste anywhere.
I am leaving this tip here for the moment because I am not sure what the future holds but am adding a proviso. The place a little while ago moved down the road and, unfrotunately, I just read in the newspaper, in September 2009, that it recently burnt to the ground. It is not clear if it will be rebuilt. Therefore, as of September 2009 it is not clear if this place will reopen. Anyway, in the event that it does, I am leaving my info here for the time being.
This is a very good Texas-style barbecue place with great food and local beers.
Favorite Dish: The brisket sandwich and the chopped meat sandwich (I forget the name) are both incredible. The brisket is slow-cooked, tendy and juicy and we have not had any problems with gristle. The barbecue sauce is very tasty, especially the hot one, and the brisket is not smothered in it when you get it, so you can add as much as you like. The "Retro" salad is great with a wonderful home-made dressing. It also serves home-made potato chips (i.e., crisps in the U.K., not "fries") which are crunchy and very tasty. It also has a good selection of beers on tap, including some more-or-less local beers from Lagunitas down in Petaluma and North Coast Brewing Company up in Fort Bragg.
Our kids love the barbecue, too, with our 5-year-old devouring the chopped barbecue sandwich.