Dinosaur BBQ Review

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There are few things in this world that I like more than barbeque. Tangy, savory, vinegary, spicy, dry, wet, pork, beef, whatever. It is so goddamned tasty that it would make me never want to eat vegetables again were it not for collared greens, sweet potatoes, and the various other greens that make up the plate. So, when you read this review, know that I am a little biased towards meat. Particularly when it is served with a choice of 23 draft brews and an equal number of bottled beers.

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Behold. Paradise.

I can’t speak highly enough of Dinosaur BBQ. It’s a little out of the way, it’s always crowded (one hour wait for dinner at 5 P.M., and twice that by 7), and the prices, while not expensive, are a teeny bit higher than what I would pay for normal comfort food. Still, you can’t go wrong when you have a hankering for suds and meat. You won’t be disappointed. I promise that.

Tucked under the Henry Hudson Parkway on 131st on Harlem/Morningside Heights border of Sugar Hill, the smell of the place hits all passers biers three blocks away. It smells good, like the kind of BBQ your father used to make in the backyard, and as you approach it, you’ll be struck by the down-home nature of the place. Those waiting for meals will probably be milling about in the dozens outside, while others will have snagged a seat at the first-come-first-served outdoor picnic tables, bar, and raised seating inside. Don’t be off-put; it’s worth it. Put your name down, and then wait to see if anybody clears out of the way.

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The first thing that struck me when I got my menu was the shear breadth of choices. This is mostly boiled down to pork, beef, chicken, catfish, and shrimp, but done in a multitude of ways and dressed up with a number of sides. This doesn’t even mention the combos: ribs and anything, chicken and anything, pulled pork and anything, shrimp boil ($5.95 add-on with any meal) and anything… you get the idea. If you’re torn, ask the wait staff and they’ll figure something out.

I could go on about the semi-schmaltz of the place (a little hokey, but not awful), and how this is a semi-sorta chain (with locations in Rochester and Syracuse, as well). But you’re interested in the heart and soul of the place: food and drink.

BEER

As for the beer, they have a wide and varied selection. Typical American Lagers and like-Imports are available in bottles, but local and near-local craft brews (along with a few distinguished cameos) are available on draft. I took Ithaca Flower Power IPA (solid and nicely complimentary to the BBQ that was to come), but there were also beers from Troegs, Ithaca, Magic Hat, Blue Point, Smutty Nose, Ommegang, and a half-dozen other breweries. There is a type of almost every kind of mainstream beer, so there should always be something for whatever kind of mood you’re in (though their dark beers are limited). $6 Full Pints are the norm ($20 for a 60 ounce pitcher), though their homebrewed beer (Dinosaur Apehanger) is available for $5 and $18. Not bad prices, particularly for a restaurant, although not something to write home about.

FOOD

Food wise, I can’t compliment it enough. The full rack of ribs that I had ($24.95 with two small sides and cornbread) was nearly too much for me (I should have gone in hungrier), but I couldn’t stop eating. The BBQ-style is a weird North Carolina-Tennessee hybrid – not completely dry, but just a little damp – that might upset some purists but is a good compromise for those who won’t eat it one way or the other.

Other meals looked quite tasty, but I didn’t get a chance to partake. The Pulled Pork looked astonishingly good, while the shrimp smelled fantastic. Bring a group of friends, order different things, and go to town, then post here with your thoughts.

ESSENTIAL FACTS

Monday – Thursday 11:30 am to 11:00 pm

Friday & Saturday – 11:30 am to Midnight

Sunday – Noon to 10:00 pm

Meal Price: $18-45 per person, including tip but not including drinks

Delivery Available Mon-Fri, To Go Menu Available Mon-Thur, Catering Available

Reservations Not Accepted, though they do have an account with Open Table.

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CLOSING THOUGHTS AND GRADES

I can’t recommend this place highly enough. I plan on bringing friends, relatives, and strangers to this place. Just make sure to go to Open Table… or prepare to wait for a long, long time. Even on off-days (the place is now open on Mondays), it still tends to get very crowded. But that’s just a sign of what this place does right: everything.

FOOD QUALITY: A+

FOOD PRICE: B+

BEER QUALITY: A

BEER PRICE: B

DÉCOR: B-

SERVICE: B+

All photos taken from dinosaurbarbeque.com and used under Fair Use.

– Steele

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One Response to “Dinosaur BBQ Review”

  1. oh dinosaur bbq, i would move in if i could. the long wait isn’t so bad when you have pints of delicious beer flowing freely. afterwards, walk up to riverbank state park (the largest japanese-style park of its kind in the US) and check out the soccer games going on or the kids rollerskating in the awesome rink.

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