Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
646 W 131st Street

There aren’t many restaurants worth traveling to that are north of 120th street. With so many restaurants in the city, many have trouble traveling very far in search of a great meal. But for those that are willing to brave the journey and suffer through wait times that often exceed two hours, there are wonderful food splendors that wait, and they are covered in barbecue sauce. It’s not that I am not willing to be convinced otherwise (trust me, I would love to be), but having tried Blue Smoke, Hill Country, and Virgil’s, Dinosaur is my overwhelming favorite spot for barbecue in NYC (*Disclaimer: I have yet to be to Fette Sau which I have been told could offer Dinosaur a run for its money).

Born from humble beginnings as a biker joint in Syracuse, Dinosaur quickly spread to Rochester and opened up its third location to wondrous praise in Manhattan. Since my first visit a few years ago, I have spread the gospel of Dinosaur to all that would listen in an attempt to find dining partners as often as possible, and after sampling its offerings on numerous occasions, have yet to leave with anyone disappointed.

Any trip to Dinosaur will undoubtedly be met with a substantial wait, as even during offpeak hours I have waited up to an hour (the most I’ve waited is almost two and a half hours). During the warmer months, the restaurant offers tables outside that are first come first served, and while the wait might be a bit shorter, there is no one managing the line so be prepared for some territory disputes. The best thing to do is grab a seat at the bar and order a flight. Beer flights ($6) contain four 4oz. servings of any of the 23 beers that they have on tap; a perfect choice for the first beer of the night to allow you to make a more informed choice for the next beer.

For something to snack on while waiting, order their chicken wings which made Yelp’s list of best eats in 2009 (don’t think I’ll make it to all of those spots this year). Served 6 or 13 to an order, they come tossed in a “spicy” barbecue sauce or in a garlic parmesan sauce. Don’t choose, just order some of both. They’ll get eaten. Incredibly plump with moist tender meat that falls off the bone, I have been tempted to just make an entire meal out of just the wings. While tabulating the total number of wings to order, a friend from Syracuse noted that he would be eating 13 himself. Champion.

Chicken Wings:

The restaurant offers a full menu at the bar, so if you can grab seats and avoid the wait, go for it. We did this the last time we were there and by the time we left, our table had still not yet been called. Entrée time, and there are so many choices to consider, but for first timers, there’s only one way to go, the Tres Hombre ($18.95). Served with ¼ rack of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, two sides and corn bread, it offers the best way to sample the best of Dinosaur, all on one plate. The pulled pork is tender and the brisket has beautiful pink smoke rings (though it can be a bit dry at times), but what separates Dinosaur is the ribs. With meat that falls off the bone and killer sauce that doesn’t overwhelm the dish, I make sure to get ribs every time I visit. Finish off the plate with some mac & cheese and baked beans and you’ll be stuffed. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Tres Hombre:


With plenty of platters under my belt, I’ve moved on to some of the other offerings. The Cuban sandwich ($10.95) adds pulled pork to the traditional sandwich mixing crunchy with tender and sour with savory. What I’ve been ordering most often, however, is the "Pork-Sket" ($13.95), a brisket sandwich topped with cole slaw, jalapeños, and yes, pulled pork. As my friend who eats 13 wings says, it’s a “man’s sandwich.” There’s nothing like a giant pile of barbecued meats on one roll with some spice and crunch from the jalapeños. Needing to have some ribs also, I make sure to split the sandwich and a ½ rack with a dining partner to create my own platter.


Next time you’re looking for some of the best barbecue that NYC has to offer, make the trek, it’s worth the wait.

Know of another barbecue place that you think challenges the throne? Interested in joining me next time I go? Post a comment!


  1. Its been awhile since I've eaten those wings. Your review and pictures are probably going to lead me to a visit in the near future.

  2. Epic review dude...just bookmarked this site! Keep them coming yo.