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Review: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Posted by gambit50 on June 9, 2008

Dinosaur BBQ, Harlem, New York, New York

Ah, the quest for decent or even good barbeque in NYC. Tough task. Yes, the masses love this place and that. Well, sugary crap is a lure for many. Look at typical diets and what is contained within. Dinosaur gets some pretty good comments but fewer due to its location, far uptown.

I made the trek up there, by foot from where I was and back. Not so far but certainly further than most people would walk. I know, exercise, it’s crazy. As anyone who knows the geography of Manhattan knows, this is really nowhere. All the way west, no subway station right by it. A spot much more conducive to cars than foot traffic. These are not positives in my view but at the time I went I did not mind.

A very large, red brick building houses Dinosaur BBQ. Real estate is much cheaper here than in civilization elsewhere in the city, especially when this was opened a few years back. It looks rustic but not old and rundown nor made to look rustic for its own sake. A good job if one was done or perhaps it basically came like that. Though, I doubt it.

Inside, it was dark and there are lots of tables and space. Quite a few people were eating lunch on location. Basically, it looks like what you might picture a large joint serving ‘cue would look like. Wood all around (not polished mahogany), not too high class but not dirty and a complete hole. I could definitely dig it as appropriate for the food. It was really dark, though. I don’t like over lighted places but this was almost to the point of feeling your way around the part of the place not near the windows.

I sampled the pulled pork, pork ribs and beef brisket in one platter. The pulled pork was the weakest of the 3 by far. I thought it was only OK. I needed much more sauce added to it than what was on it to make it better. A bit cold and perhaps not fresh enough, it also seemed a bit gloppy, as if the pork were not pulled and shredded enough. Taste was decent with the sauce, texture, well, not so much.

The ribs were much better. Sauce quantity on the ribs as served was much more appropriate than the pulled pork. The meat was the moistest of the 3 I tried. Overall, very good.

The beef brisket had a good flavor but was seemingly a bit dry and overdone. I really did like it regardless. Added some more sauce to it but what really made it snap was the addition of some pickled jalapenos. Finally, someone had a good idea in a barbeque joint.

This was my favorite by a bit over the ribs, even though the execution of the cooking time was definitely not as proper.

Now, about the sauce since this is so important. I like it. Not really sweet but perhaps a touch too much for myself. I am not addicted to sugar, thank you. A very nice consistency that added some moistness to most of the meat which was needed. The overall flavor of the sauce was very good. If some brown sugar were taken out, it would be great.

As is all too common, Dinosaur suffered from a bit of the dry meat syndrome. If this were remedied, I would call it borderline great for the meats. Note, it was more properly cooked, overall, than most other places in town.

I also had a couple sides. Mac’n’cheese and green bean salad. Both surprisingly very, very good. The green bean salad was the veggie of the day and that was a blessing. I was extremely surprised on the upside. The mac was actually cooked AL DENTE! No mushy, crap noodles. I could not believe it. The overall taste of it was very good, too, but the fact it was not some overcooked glop was just a huge boost. One huge complaint, the serving size of the sides was the exact opposite of huge. Not sure if the portion is larger if you order them separately since mine came with my platter. Still, they were really outstanding, especially when comparing them to the competitors in NYC.

The staff at Dinosaur was very friendly and pretty efficient. Not perfect but I just cannot get into very much about it. If you are not unreasonable, the service fits the bill much like the other features of the restaurant.

It was worth the walk, in short. I believe they have some delivery but I cannot imagine that is very limited in range or there must be a fee or very high minimum. If you drive, definitely go by and I would say if you are not a completely lazy POS, you can walk from the 1 subway stop at 125th St. Well worth it for the food and a nice place if you have a large group.


646 W. 131st St., New York, NY 10027

Summary: Probably the best BBQ, overall, I have had in NYC. Very inconvenient location but if you are willing to put in some time for a food trip, I recommend it. Portions are pretty good for the meat but the sides are small. Cool enough place for a large group to get a bit boisterous while not eating crap. Last visited, 6/4/08. Cost $25/pp








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