I went to Dinosaur BBQ
for lunch today. Dinosaur is a chain restaurant with places in Rochester and Syracuse New York. As luck would have it the New York City shop just started serving lunch yesterday. It's a nice looking place. I like the decor and the setup. I like the smell of smoke when you walk through the doors. The pile of fire wood by the door is a nice touch, but Virgil's
did it first in NY. Dinosaur is located on West 131st Street and 12th Avenue, right across from the famed Cotton Club
. The wait staff is friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.
The dinner menu is much larger and more expensive then the lunch menu I saw. The restaurant has a big bar area and a smaller dining room. It was pretty crowded for a Wednesday lunch, and I was surprised the most of the customers were white men in their 30s and 40s. All the staff that I saw were also White or Hispanic.
Frankly, the food was a big disappointment. I don't know if it was a lunch menu or not, but the servings were tiny. I ordered the rib and pork combo. The 3 small ribs tasted like they were cooked with burning plastic. They still had on the membrane (a big no-no in the BBQ competition circuit) and were fairly tender, but very salty. The small amount of sauce on them didn't enhance or detract from their flavor. I hate to say this, but Chili's
ribs are better.
The pulled pork was tender, but tasteless. It was completely over powered a very sweet thick sauce poured over the top. This sauce wasn't one of the sauces available on the table. The corn bread was good and covered in honey, but the piece I got was smaller than my cell phone.
I asked the waiter to recommend the side dishes. He choose, the Syracuse Salted Potatoes - two small potatoes with a tasty brown gravy but no particular salt flavor and the Baked Beans - which were primarily flavored with salt and pepper, but not much else. I also ordered the drunken spicy shrimp - which were good, but cold and of the peel and eat variety. Not what I expected at all. (This is explained on the dinner menu, but not on the lunch menu)
My lunch including soda, tax and tip was $25.
I tried all of the table sauces - the sweet BBQ sauce
, the habanero BBQ sauce
and the hot sauce
. They all tasted like an "OK" supermarket brand. I wasn't impressed by any of them.
I was really offended by the men's room. The graffiti was offensive. Every wall was covered with it, and people are encouraged to add to it. However, I don't need to be surrounded by cartoon penises, vagina's and anti-gay remarks. It reminded me of the old CBGB's
bathroom except it was clean. I wouldn't want to bring my kids there.
Overall, I think I'll stay away from Dinosaur.