Down at the tip of 125th street in Harlem, about a block away from the water’s edge is one of New York’s bar-b-que gems, Dinosaur BarBQue. I discovered this place a few years ago when it first opened in the area, at a different smaller location nearby, and though it’s one of my favorite bar-b-que places in the city I hardly ever go, mainly because of the wait.
If you don’t make reservations here the wait is impossible, and though I am too impatient (plus don’t believe that one should ever wait more than 15 minutes for a seat in a restaurant in New york City), the lines to wait never falter. Dinosaur, which started by establishing its cred among bikers in Upstate New York, now caters to all types of bar-b-que lovers from bikers to post-church Sunday crowds and it’s all been through word of mouth.
So good is their food that people who would never consider venturing into Harlem for some tasty bar-b-que suddenly find their way and are willing to wait, hours if needed, for it. And it’s no wonder. Just imagine it: their bar-b-que pork ribs are marinated for 24 hours with their special in house rub, then slow pit smoked and lightly glazed with their very own bar-b-que sauce – that’s just one of the many dishes that make your mouth water.
When I eat there I never leave without trying their corn bread, and if the mission is to attack a rack or two of ribs, than you must not leave without an order of the spicy garlic buffalo wings to go.
You can order based on your level of hunger from Tease to Monster, but beware, small dishes is not really what you go here for. Go hungry or go home rings true here, as even the normal serving is big enough to bring my calorie monitor to its knees.
Though you can easily spend a good penny here, the kids menu is an excelent value with great options that cater to both the picky and adventurous eater.
The scene is always festive and happy, the service is great. Once you get a table you are guarantee to enjoy one of the best meals you will have of its kind here in the city. Their sweet tea took me back to Memphis in one sip and their collard greens are done to perfection.
So though I can’t recommend that you wait hours for a seat, because it goes against everything I believe in as a New Yorker, I do highly recommend you make a reservation, or take advantage of their take out and catering services. Dinosaur could very well be the best of the Northeast. Go with the kids, go with the family, or just go with friends. No matter who you go with, make sure you go hungry and leave the calorie counter at home.