New York is known for many delicious things. The bagel. The pizza. But barbecue? That, we really aren’t so well-renowned for with one glaring exception.
Any foodie worth her salt has heard of Dinosaur BBQ. The restaurant, based in Syracuse, is known for its home-brewed root beer, Syracuse-style salt potatoes, and long-smoked ribs, chicken, and brisket. The Harlem branch of the eatery is so famous that reservations are required even on a weekday’s lunch.
Chicken wings are a surprising standout on the menu. Plump chicken wings coated in a slightly sticky, hot, garlicky sauce are smoked until juicy and succulent. Then, they are grilled until the skin is crisp and charred next to the moist meat. The spiciest version of these is more zesty than truly lip-searing hot.
The brisket is not to be missed. It’s moist, tender, and juicy with a very judicious layer of melting fat. It cuts with a fork but retains its integrity, undeniably beefy and smoky. The house-pickled jalapeños are crisp and tangy, cutting through the richness of the meat. For side dishes, go for the decadent whipped sweet potatoes or Syracuse salt potatoes, which are boiled and served in a salty, buttery sauce.
Peanut butter pie is a great ending. It has a crunchy, chocolaty cookie crust and a layer of sweet, nutty peanut butter mousse topped with dense fudge and a cloud of whipped cream. It’s truly a peanut butter cup on steroids.
The service is adequate, prices are fair, and portions are huge. However, it just doesn’t live up to the hype. The food is good, but in no way is it life-changing or sensational. The ribs are bland, macaroni and cheese dry, and pulled pork uninspired. This restaurant would fare better if it weren’t hyped so much, but sadly the hype overextends the restaurant’s capabilities. Come here for some juicy brisket and a glass of creamy Saranac root beer on tap, but don’t wait for hours to eat here.
700 W 125th St
New York, NY 10027