Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was started by three bikers, bound together by the love of good food, a 55 gallon drum cut in half, and a serious case of wanderlust. The Harlem location, nestled under the grandiose Riverside Drive bridge, this place possess the same charisma, style, and flavor of its upstate counterparts. Harlem Dinosaur has become a favorite destination for Manhattanites, locals, and everyone in the tri-state area.
I saw this place featured on the Food Network (I wish I could remember the show); they gave it a good review as a non-touristy place in New York, though they do have multiple locations around the state, so it can't be that unique. The atmosphere is a little contrived, with street signs and other knick knacks on the walls, but the crowd is quite diverse including the original bikers but also bicyclers, tourists and plenty of Harlem natives.
The restaurant is not too easy to find, or to get too, really, up at 131st Street in Harlem. V and I walked over from her office, which I thought would be a quick walk, but we ended up a little lost trying to find the place. Once we arrived, we were quickly seated, though there seemed to be a good crowd even for a Saturday afternoon. The menu is pretty simple, a lot of BBQ: pork ribs, and pulled, sliced and chopped meats. Pick one and a side or two and you're good to go.
I ordered the ribs and V opted for the "Big Ass Pork Plate, pork shoulder smoked low and slow the ‘ol timey way. Hand pulled & piled high." Both were very tender and had great flavor — not too strong or burned and not tough on the outside. Plus the portions were quite sizable and satisfying on a hot day, along with a pitcher of beer.
We picked some sides as well, including Bar-B-Que Beans, Syracuse Style Salt Potatoes, Mac & Cheese, and fries. These were good, but not amazing. The salt potatoes were the most interesting; whole little potatoes boiled and then pretty much drenched in salt and garlic butter. The butter and garlic was a little overwhelming and didn't make for the most appetizing side. I'm sure if the same ingredients were combined in mashed potatoes (and you couldn't see the grease) they'd have been much more satisfying.
Overall Dinosaur Bar-B-Que certainly filled my summertime craving for BBQ. The meats were great, the sides okay — I guess the way it should be. Plus the prices were reasonable — now if only it were a little more conveniently located.