Many say that Dinosaur is the best bbq in town- nestled deep into the northwest corner of Manhattan, borderline Harlem/Morningside Heights, under the rumblings of the West Side Highway. It's quite a trek, which made for the perfect Umamiventure.

I made a reservation for 10 people on a Sunday night. THANK GOD. When we got there, the place was overflowing with people, there was barely any room to stand around the bar. First Dinosaur tip- make a reservation.

This place is perfect for big groups- it's really bustling and chaotic, to a point that it could actually give you a panic attack. But it's fun if you're in that sort of mood- they have live music even on the weekends. The decor is motorcycle garage kitch with a lot of random antiquey tchotchke on the walls. A self-proclaimed "honky tonk rib joint". That it is.

Equally heart attack inducing of course is the food. The appetizer platter of wings, fried green tomatoes, beer-boiled shrimp and deviled eggs (at which point I was still too shy to use flash- why do I even pretend?):

How was the bbq? Here's what everyone thought.

On the appetizer platter, I though the wings were excellent. Meaty, tender, yummy sauce. The deviled eggs were also quite good (even though I'm not typically a deviled egg person.)
I ordered a half-rack of pork ribs with mac & cheese and greens. Everything was really good. The ribs, like the wings, were juicy and tender. The mac & cheese was yummy and gooey. Everything was really filling too - I could only eat half of my plate!
Overall it was a good experience. I think the only reason I would hesitate to come back is that I'd be worried about having to wait a long time to be seated. It was a madhouse! I guess that's what happens when you serve good food and word spreads.


Dinosaur BBQ is a great bbq experience, for the theater of it. If I want a good 'ol bbq meal, i would still go to RUB, but for a big group of friends getting in and grinding away for a meat-fest, Dinosaur is a lot of fun


I had the Two-Meats Combo with the pulled pork and ribs, with mac & cheese and mini iceberg wedge as sides.

The ribs were definitely the best part of the meal. Oh, and the deviled eggs! So creamy! The mac and cheese wasn't the crispy-top kind, so I was a bit disappointed, but it's all good cus I had just had some mac and cheese for lunch the day before and was cheesed out anyway. The iceberg wedge was good for offsetting all the lard, but it wasn't as good as at Smokejoint cus it was a mini and not an actual huge wedge. Not sure I'd go back there unless I already happened to be uptown cus it's a long way to go...even for ribs!


- strange/bad cornbread
- dry brisket
- great ribs
- good collard greens
- excellent vodka selection (The first time I have found Tito's Vodka outside of Texas!!!)


I had the Traditional Sampler, a tasting of beef brisket, ribs, and 1/4 roasted chicken. The chicken was definitely the highlight, as I thought the brisket was rather dry. The ribs were good, but I didn't think they were exceptional. I found the baked beans to be very peppery, and the St. Louis salt potatoes were okay. I would say chicken is the way to go there b/c I also liked the chicken wings on our appetizer plate. Overall, I must say, I wasn't very impressed with Dinosaur BBQ. I agree with Connor, I prefer RUB BBQ to Dinosaur. The atmosphere was good, but so very busy! I had a great time as an experience, but I wouldn't go back...personally.


6:45 PM DCT: went through a bucket of napkins

6:46 PM me: ha


DCT: my plate looked like a cave floor

bones, gristle and whatnot

make that a cave bear floor

6:49 PM there should be a restaurant called Cave Bear Barbecue no?

Cave Bearbecue?

me: haha

DCT: it phonetically makes sense in some regions

6:50 PM (my grandad pronounced bear as "bar" , there "thar" etc)

6:51 PM me: love it

6:52 PM DCT: that's that i suppose

me: great report

anything else?

DCT: glad to be of correspondence

6:53 PM only that it's difficult to separate barbecue from the backyard

so in a restaurant one just focuses on the food

6:54 PM me: oh you mean like being in the backyard is a part of the entire experience?

DCT: so the accessories don't bribe one's judgment

6:55 PM when people say they're having a barbecue they usually aren't eating barbecue

though my friend did the hot dogs and whiskey thing last year

6:56 PM me: oh nice

actually thats really true

when i told my friend who was visiting from Japan that we were going to go eat barbeque

she totally thought that we were gonna "have" a bbq

meaning backyard, all that

6:57 PM there's a huge distinction between "eating bbq" and "having a bbq"

6:58 PM DCT: things tend to taste better when you're outside


i had the 1/2 rack of ribs, mac and cheese and bbq beans sides. the mac and cheese was my least favorite--it had a little bit of the taste and texture of the velveeta version and the noodles were not at all fat and roly-poly but skinny and meek. the ribs were delicious though--juicy and tender and generous amounts of meat. bbq beans also a winner--smoky and sweet.

compared to hill country i'd say the meat was just as good and the service/ambience a little more manageable b/c you dont' have to stand in line like you're in a cafeteria in texas. the mac and cheese at hill country was far superior and you can get these huge portions of them. dino bbq was way better than the place (mama's?) way on eleventh ave. in hells kitchen though.


Misc. pics (yes, that is fried rice there- not great, but awesome that it's on the menu):

The champion dish of the night- the wings:

The place is really huge- they have a take-out counter in the back. The line for that was pretty long too.

A short westward walk from the 1 train on Broadway and 125th Street.

My friend who was visiting from Japan thought that the experience was very "American"- loud, fun, huge portions, bustling service (she liked that they just throw down your food at the table. Ha!). If nothing else, I suppose that Dinosaur is truly an American experience.

Dinosaur BBQ
646 W. 131st Street
at Twelfth Ave.
T: 212.694.1777

Please join us for our next Umamiventure! Join the Umami Mart FACEBOOK group to stay updated on these monthly trips, where we burrow deep into the crevices of NYC for good, cheap eats.

Past Umamiventures include:
Puerto Alegre - 3/08
Pacificana - 02/08
Jackson Diner - 01/08
Sripraphai Restaurant - 11/07
Taste of Jackson Heights - 10/07
Red Hook Ball Fields - 06/07
Ocean Jewel Restaurant - 06/07