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WhiteTrashBBQ

WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Restaurant Reviews

Many, many years ago, a chef friend of mine told me that he would never want me to eat in his restaurant as I'm very picky about food. When I told another friend that I was going to become a Certified Barbeque Judge, he asked me why and I said that I would judge the food anyway, so I might as well be official. He agreed with that logic.

When I cook, I am very critical of my work. Dishes that I thought tasted like shit, people rave about. It takes a lot to impress me in a food dish. When I eat out, I am very analytical about the food. If a restaurant, bakery, deli, etc. is said to have the "best" or "great" food, it better live up to it. If you're charging a lot of money, the food and the service better be incredible. The restaurant workers - they're professionals. They should deliver on the promise. If you're a home cook and feed me, your food is the best I've ever tasted. I will never criticize an amateur chef.

A while back, I did a review of Dinosaur BBQ up in Harlem. If you remember, I wasn't too thrilled with it. Of all the real BBQ restaurants in NYC, which there aren't many, it's my least favorite. I got a lot of shit about my review from Dinosaur's fans. But, now I am vindicated. Some NY newspapers have reviewed Dinosaur and they agree with me. Dinosaur needs a lot of work.

Here's the links....
THE NY POST - Barbecue not quite DINO-MIGHT
and
THE VILLAGE VOICE - Hatchet Job
Searching in vain for signs of hardwood in Manhattanville

and
THE NEW YORK PRESS - Ribs So Good You'll Slap Yo' Pappy? -
The mixed blessing of authentic BBQ

and
THE NY TIMES - Syracuse Barbecue Rides Into Harlem

The Times article requires a subscription, so here's an excerpt... "But there will be no pappy slapping in Harlem, at least when it comes to the food at Dinosaur. Rather than a heady combination of smoke, fat and spice, the defining flavor profile is sweet. The cornbread, so dry it crumbles if you look at it wrong, is topped with a honey glaze. The baked beans ooze sugar. Even a bowl of chili ($6.95), topped with bland Cheddar cheese and onions and served with tortilla chips as a dip, is more sweet than spicy.

And then there's the sauce, which wets all the meat and is available in a bottle on the table. It tastes sweeter than Heinz ketchup. We know because we did a side-by-side comparison. A zippier version, Wango Tango habanero sauce, is certainly hot, but heat is its only characteristic.

The meat comes from big, black computerized smoking pits in a back room, vented to high heaven and fueled with a mix of apple and hickory woods. But the mix of technology and wood isn't working. The Texas brisket ($13.50) tasted so much like deli-sliced roast beef that the Texan in our group almost wept. On two visits, the pork ribs ($13.95, $17.95 or $20.95) were nearly void of pork flavor and so overcooked that the meat came clean off the bone in one chunk. A third visit last week brought a better version, greatly cheering two Syracuse University alums who lived on them in college."

Why am I spending so much time on Dinosaur BBQ? To date, I have received over 357 emails about my review of Dinosaur. Normally, that would be great; I love arguing over food and politics. I didn't know that this blog had that type of reach. But the vast majority of this email crap has been filled with personal attacks and threats. C'mon folks, it's only a shitty little restaurant and it seems, I'm not the only one with that opinion. Move on.

7 Comments:

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Maybe a critic killed the dinosaurs? Hey, people get over it-- either you like it or you don't...Either they will get their act together, or not....even the reviewers can't decide on what's good one day to the next...It's new, and consistency (some say quality) aint there. It ain't this guy's fault....yeesh.

Uh-oh, am I gonna get flamed....?

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dinosaur BBQ Just SUCKS! It Sucks in Syracuse,It SUCKS in Rochester.I'm Sure it BLOWS the same in NYC. Bottom line is, They over charge for shitty BBQ. Why? Because they can. The public (most of the time) can't tell what is good or bad. Has any one orderded Baby back (loin back) ribs and got spare rib's? Can you tell the diffrence? I sure as hell can! See it all the time in the super market.Only good thing to come from uneducated people out there is finding bone in rib marked as chuck roast! Benn there, Baught all they had!

 
At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love a reviewer from a boro who goes out of his way to pat himself on the back, and conviently leaves out any dissenting opinions from the opposite positive articles. Btw, anyone want to do a price comparison to other Manhattan bbq spots? Kudos!

 
At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and how would you explain the people consistently filling the place every night? They must all be wrong, right? I mean, who's better than you?

 
At 6:30 PM, Blogger WhiteTrashBBQ said...

My friends, I think I gave Dinosaur a fair review. Have you eaten there? What did you think? Let's hear your opinions on the food and service.

To the anonymous poster who accused me of "conveniently leaves out any dissenting opinions from the opposite positive articles", please let me know about these articles and I'll post a link to them too. When I searched for reviews, I linked EVERY one that I found.

I'd like to point out that I had praises for the service at Dinosaur, while some of the media critics said it sucked. I stand by my review.

I'd like to point out that I had praises for the service at Dinosaur, while some of the media critics said it sucked. I wasn't happy with the food. I stand by my review.

 
At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm that anonymous poster. Anyway, you missed the point:

If having your own blog where you dispense your gift of review to the world isn't self serving enough, you go out of your way to post links to others of your similar opinion, pat yourself on the back, and say "see, look at me, they agree, allow me to pat myself on my back for having published reviewers agree with me."

The high road is to put up your opinion and leave it at that.

What's more self-serving than having a blog like this? I dunno, maybe something having to do with acting.

 
At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Adam G said...

I had been given a Dinosaur BBQ shirt by someone within the last year so when I started dating someone in the neighborhood I was looking forward to finally trying it out. Boy was I disappointed!! Kudos to the staff for they are very sweet and gracious in the face of the very hungry masses that continue to generate 1-2 hour waits, from the front door to the bartender to our waitress, the service was very friendly and patient.
To food and beverages:
1. While the beer selection is a positive, the quality was not. From the bland house ale to other choices, I'm not sure if the taps need to be cleaned or what, but the beer just tasted flat and off to me.
2. We ordered the chicken wings, and for me these were the highlight of our experience. Huge, plump, juicy, moist, and flavorful.
3. I ordered the full rack of ribs and man were these a disappointment, where's the flavor?!?! The reviewer here was spot on, they were terrible. Since this is the main dish I was looking for, it colored the whole experience with an overall negative. Add to it, the uninspired side dishes and there you have it.
Dinosaur BBQ:
BBQ for the undiscriminating masses.
Cheers and good eats, Adam
PS
Stop picking on the interviewer here, no one deserves to get bashed just for there opinion. If you don't like it, seek life elsewhere!!!

 

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