Last Friday we received an email from a reader asking why we didn't have an official review of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que up on Serious Eats: New York. It's no secret we love the place, but I get it. You want some official food porn.
Well, coincidentally enough, a few days before receiving that email I had made the trek to the west end of Manhattan with mountains of ribs and pulled pork on my mind. And we could have eaten mountains of meat after enduring an unexpectedly long wait. Don't go to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night—you'll be greeted by a madhouse of hungry people and wait for at least 45 minutes despite what the hostess tells you. During the wait, we mulled over the menu, soaked in the Frontierland-esque environment, and glared at the people who wouldn't leave their tables. When we were finally seated around 9 p.m., we already had our order ready, and we wanted it ASAP.
And we got it ASAP. Our friendly waiter was atypically efficient and unobtrusive while still giving us enough attention. Dishes came, were eaten, and taken away at a brisk, but comfortable pace. After bemoaning the wait, the service and food more than made up for it.
Knowing that it could be brought out right away, the first thing we asked for was cornbread. With its grainy, tender texture and corny, not too sweet flavor, it was devoured right away. The cornbread that came with our barbecue sampler platter tasted even better since it was warm.
We exercised portion control by only ordering three pieces of each of our appetizers. Jumbo bar-b-que chicken wings were fat, juicy, and flavorful. Perhaps worth getting at least two per person, but we wanted to play it safe.
Having never eaten fried green tomatoes before, I have nothing to compare Dinosaur BBQ's version to. I wasn't into the shaved Pecorino Romano cheese topping, but besides that, fried green tomatoes were as delicious as any other thickly battered foodstuff, deep-fried to a golden crisp, and burning hot. They benefited from a dip in the cayenne buttermilk ranch dressing
You can't go wrong with Deviled eggs filled with creamy, tangy egg yolk mash. Unless you don't like hard-boiled eggs, which would be sad.
We shared the Tres Hombre combination platter consisting of a quarter rack of ribs, barbecue pork, Texas beef brisket, and two sides (we went with cole slaw and Creole potato salad). The beef brisket could've been more tender and the barbecue pork was perfectly fine without being special, but the clear winner was the pork ribs, which melted with fall-off-the-bone awesomeness. I'd just stick with the ribs on subsequent visits. Perhaps half a rack. For myself.
The coconut banana pudding was satisfyingly sweet and creamy without making any breakthroughs in pudding deliciousness. As much as I love ending my meals with desserts, I think I'd rather eat more ribs.
I'd recommend Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for delicious ribs and appetizers in a fun atmosphere. Need further confirmation? Here's Serious Eats grand poobah Ed Levine's thoughts:
People forget that Dinosaur BBQ opened years before Blue Smoke. Dinosaur's owner John Stage in many ways paved the way for all the credible, honest barbecue joints that have opened up in New York in the last few years. Stage knows barbecue and reveres its traditions. I am a huge fan of his ribs, wings, side dishes like the fried green tomatoes, and even the iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing and bacon. I'm not crazy about his pork shoulder, but that's besides the point; namely that Dinosaur BBQ is the real deal.
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