We tried Dinosaur Bar-B-Que years ago at a Bourbon & BBQ event in Chelsea. We loved it and have wanted to go ever since. But we just never motivated up to Harlem, although it is a quick 1 Train ride away. Our bad! We recently rented a ZipCar and spent a few hours at The Cloisters, which motivated us to make a reservation to have lunch on the way home.
We went at 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon and believe it or not the crowd was light. By the time we left at 1:30 it was a full house. Leave it to New Yorkers never to get started too early. That is our brunch secret. Early.
Dinosaur is located under the Riverside Drive Viaduct at 125th Street. It isn’t a beautiful area, for sure. Parking is challenging to say the least. But we were able to get a spot right outside under the viaduct on this ugly grey day.
The location advantage is SPACE. This place is absolutely cavernous inside. Decor is decidedly down home rustic. The hostess stand is a barrel. There are some huge booths as well as tables set up in a patio-like area. We sat near a window.
The menu is as robust as the space. It can be hard to decide. It opens with small and shared plates. Unlike most places in New York, the plates are in no way small. We decided it was critical to try the wings and the deviled eggs. That meant passing up shrimp boil, fried green tomatoes, sliders, fritters and a few other delights that all seemed tempting. The list of BBQ is just as daunting. Again, we decided a combo platter was critical to taste as much as possible. We decided chicken and fish weren’t on the must-have list here. We also passed on a helluva sandwich and burger menu. Next time.
That left us with pork, beef and a giant list of sides from which to choose. And beer is important here. They’ve got another huge list of those and quite a few local varieties.
While the plates are not delicately arranged, it’s all about the smoke. So excuse the plastic plates, beds of shredded lettuce and ice cream scoops of potato salad and macaroni & cheese. Its all good!
We love deviled eggs and they are often a must-have small bite for us. We’ve had them with caviar and truffle oil as well as just simple ole deviled eggs. These were on the simple side with a nice sprinkle of Creole spice. Great.
Creole spiced deviled eggs
Three 3.95 Six 6.95 Twelve 12.95
The wings might have been the best we’ve ever had. Beautifully smoked with the meat falling off the bone. We chose the sauce called ‘Hotter’. Extra Dinosaur Bar-B-Que sauce in a variety of flavors is available at the table. And of course completely unnecessary. These wings just melted in your mouth. And we were not just conservative on the eggs. We shared just 6 wings. Good thing.
Jumbo BBQ Chicken Wings
Spice-rubbed, pit-smoked, then finished on the grill.
Served with Maytag bleu cheese dressing, celery sticks and your choice of sauce
Mild Honey BBQ or Sesame Hoisin
HHot Wango Tango or Jerk Glaze
HHHotter Garlic Chipotle
HHHHottest Devil’s Duel
3 wings 3.95 6 wings 7.95 13 wings 14.95
Now for the combo platter to push us over the edge. We chose BBQ pork, brisket and ribs with sides of potato salad and macaroni and cheese. Platters are served with a cornbread muffin. And do not order one for yourself!
Spirited servings of Bar-B-Que pork, sliced
Texas beef brisket & 1/4 rack of ribs. 20.95
The pulled pork melted in your mouth it was so tender. Topped with a generous dollop of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sauce, we would have enjoyed this more as a sandwich.
The brisket may have been the favorite here. Again, topped with Bar-B-Que sauce and several slices of jalepeno peppers. So tender. Without a doubt this is some of the best BBQ around. Although these days there are way too many options throughout Manhattan and the boroughs. It requires a smackdown. And the caloric intake on a smackdown of these proportions is not in the cards for us at this moment!
The meat simply fell off of the ribs. This was one item we could have eaten more of…perhaps a full rib meal is in order next time.
The sides were OK, but made en mass, scooped out with an ice cream scooper and not so refined. But no matter, it is about the pork, beef and chicken here. Save room for it and go minimal on the sides. In retrospect, I’d have chosen lower calorie, less filling options like greens!
Overall, loved Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Key here is getting there early before the crowds. Recommended dishes are the wings and the ribs. Go easy on the sides. And they have a robust assortment of beers. Go and spend the afternoon grazing and go for a long walk along the river to burn off those calories!
With all the talk of hot BBQ spots in NYC, this may motivate us to try some of the competition!
700 West 125th Street – Harlem