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Dinosaur or Blue Smoke this Sunday?

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Planning on having BBQ this Sunday... just wanted to near the latest dish on both restaurants!

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  1. I've eaten at Blue Smoke several times and Dinosaur once.

    If your primary focus is on the quality of food, I would recommend Blue Smoke, hands down. I found the 'cue at Dinosaur to be unremarkable and the sides (cornbread, fried rice, mac and cheese) were extraordinarily disappointing. The NYT review (http://events.nytimes.com/2005/01/12/...) is still fairly accurate, except the point below.

    The final nail in the coffin, for me, was the service. I wasn't expecting special treatment and we didn't put a lot of demands on our server, our table was blatantly ignored. So-so food and good service I can take. So-so food and bad service is unacceptable. The food was nowhere good enough to make me consider going back.

    Blue Smoke has large selection of bourbons and whiskeys available. I didn't check the bar at Dinosaur closely.

    1. Has anyone been to Daisy Mae's lately?
      Haven't tried it yet.

      2 Replies
      1. re: johnk

        We did the Big Pig Gig a few weeks ago. It was pretty crazy. I'd definitely do it again.

        We had the whole pig and it served 17-18 of us. Plus we had sides left over.

        1. re: CornflakeGirl

          we went a few weeks ago to the big Pig Gig as well. There were 9 of us eating a whole pig and we did fairly well, but there was still a lot left to eat...and the sides, though relatively unremarkable, was just too much food.

          That being said, it was fun. And re: Blue Smoke, it really is hit or miss depending on the night.

      2. I just read the Time's review on Dinosaur so scratch that idea. Anybody been to RUB lately? RUB vs. Blue Smoke?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Alexx

          unfortunately I can't do a head to head, but I will say that I've had some pretty good meals at RUB before (good brisket, good dry rubs, good pulled pork, decent onion strings and baked beans) and also pretty cheap. and I found daisy mae's food to not be that good, although the big pig gig sounds pretty amazing.

        2. Hi Alex,

          If you've spent any time in the South, you'll soon discover that neither RUB nor Blue Smoke come anywhere close to tasting like real barbecue.

          Dinosaur isn't the best barbecue in the world, it doesn't hold a candle to the real stuff, but it's the best NY has to offer. The wings are incredible. The ribs adn pulled pork are also delicious. I don't love the mac n'cheese, but the cornbread is good.

          1. Dino is awesome. That old NYTimes review is just that...old. That came out right after the place opened...not enough time for the pit to become properly seasoned. Here is a good NYC BBQ breakdown...


            1. if its just bbq that you want, rub is the place to go. the pork ribs are excellent, the burnt ends are great and the pulled pork is the best in the city in my opinion. the baked beans and onion rings are the only sides to get in my opinion.

              blue smoke is very good and the service is great but pretty far from authentic. if i was having dinner with family, id probably go to blue smoke.

              as for dinosaur, its right up there...their tres hombres sampler is great and their sides are excellent. i dont get how anyone could have substantial issues there. i just cant go that far uptown these days.

              1. I'll just second the complaint about dinosaur's having miserable service: slow, sometimes surly, always unprofessional. I think they must feel like it's part of their aesthetic; it shouldn't be. Their service used to be better. The food remains the same--not bad, but don't travel for it. Why do I still go? They've got a decent selection of beer on tap, great root beer, and I pass by on my way to Fairway.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jasmurph

                  We ended up going to Dinosaur BBQ and to sum it up the food was great and the service was better than can be expected from that kinda joint.

                  We started with the swag sampler plate with Spicy Shrimp Boil, Chicken Wings, Fried Green Tomatoes and Deviled Eggs. The hounds were right, the wings were amazing. I could happily eat half a dozen of them. Love the Shrimp as well, not a huge fan of the tomato and deviled eggs, everything started feeling heavy after a while.

                  On to the ribs! We ordered the sweetheart deal with a full rack, 4 sides and 2 big hunks of cornbread. The sides were Syracuse Style Salt Potatoes, BBQ Fried Rice, Mac & Cheese and the Mini Iceberg Wedge with Bar-B-Blues Dressing. All great but the Mac and Cheese was the clear winner. I am not a bbq expert like some the hounds here, I have only had real southern bbq 4-5 times but I thought the ribs were delicious, meaty and real smokey.

                  In terms of service, maybe we lucked out but the woman serving us was great, she made sure our sweet tea was always filled.

                  All in all, a great meal that we will be experiencing again... soon.

                  1. re: Alexx

                    Glad you enjoyed it - I'm also a Dinosaur fan (yes, the wings are incredible), and would note that I've never had any issues with the service. It's a little amateurish at times, but the servers have always been friendly and accomodating in my experience.

                2. We ate at Dinosaur last night and i don't agreee with the complaints. Best wings ever, great ribs and pulled pork and brisket. The only disappointment was the beef ribs which were cut across the bone like flanken and was dry. The service was attentive and the draught beer excellent. A swell place to take the kids.

                  1. I agree with March33 and Stiver, the Wings at Dinosaur are really, really amazing. Very moist and smokey. I always felt Blue Smoke was too expensive for the portions you get.

                    1. Another vote for Dinosaur here. Blue Smoke is good, but you're also paying a lot more than Dinosaur. I love the fact that you can eat well and drink beer for about $20.

                      It is a bit far, but it is right next to a subway stop (W 125th).

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JoLi

                        What line is it that you take to get to the 125th stop?


                        1. re: rpppr

                          Take the #1 train to 125th, head a block or two west and then turn north. Dinosaur is on W131st which, for some reason, is 1 block north of 125th.

                          1. re: amyleechen

                            Yep. I didn't realize how close it was until I actually did it. It's literally 2 blocks from the station.

                      2. The wings at Dinosaur. Ohhhh the wings!!!! Very moist, very juicy. My husband and I have been up to Dinosaur THREE times in the past TWO weeks. The wings are so scrumptious. And I just discovered their chopped salad. Right now it is my favorite salad on the planet! There's something about the combination of the diced vegetables playing off of the spiced pecans -- great synergy in a bowl. I didn't expect to find a great fresh salad at a bbq place, but it's my first chow-surprise of 2007. Mind you, I really did NOT like the beef brisket at Dinosaur, but give me that chopped salad and a plate of hot wings and I'm in heaven.

                        If I want brisket and am intent on staying in Manhattan -- Blue Smoke it is.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: amyleechen

                          Thanks for the recommendation of the chopped salad. I'll try it next time.

                          I agree that the brisket isn't the best at Dinosaur. But the wings, deviled eggs, beer, and most of the pork products are terrific. I've always loved the service at Dinosaur, too -- in my experience, the servers are invariably friendly and enthusiastic, if occasionally slapdash.

                          1. re: Dave Feldman

                            Definitely -- chopped salad! I like the ranch dressing -- nice play with the spicy pecans. I've been eyeing those deviled eggs and will give them a try. Thanks, Dave!

                        2. Also recently attended a big pig gig at Daisy Mae's. Thought the pork butt was better than the whole pig, which seemed a bit anorexic.

                          1. Well, the choice is easier as Blue Smoke is under construction until the 10th or 15th.

                            I can't speak about Dinosaur but RUB is definitely going downhill, especially the baby back ribs. It used to be a reasonable facsimile of the good restaurants in Memphis but no more. However, the pulled pork is consistent. Blue Smoke is solid barbeque not great but at least they are consistent.

                            And yes I've driven four hours (Mobile to Tuscaloosa, Alabama) to get pretty good barbeque.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: food

                              At Dinosaur you can simply order the sauce on the side, as I and many others do. The wings, pulled pork, and ribs are just fine; I'd pass on their brisket.

                            2. I've had a few outstanding meals at Dinasaur but a couple of dogs as well. When it's on it's really on. But it doesn't seem that it's always on.

                              1. Yeah I went to Dinosaur once so I can't talk to consistency. The meat fell right off the bone and was perfect, but the barbecue sauce was downright mediocre... I could've bought a bottle of sauce at the supermarket that would've been better. The sides were wonderful as was the tenderness of the meat, but the sauce is what makes the flavor! I found it disappointing.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: hamstrman

                                  Don't ever tell a Texan that the sauce makes the flavor! To them (and to me to a lesser extent), it's all about the meat. As it is, Dinosaur has several sauces. Their basic is sweet and mild and eh - I'd pass on it for the hotter sauces. The Wango-Tango is a nice balance of sweetness, sharpness, and heat - and I always get the sauce on the side so it doesn't overwhelm the meat.

                                2. Does anyone have an opinion on Virgil's?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: tsiblis

                                    I like the lamb, the onion rings (very thin and crisp), and the Anchor Steam on tap. The ribs are OK, but no better than that.

                                    1. re: tsiblis

                                      I can't give an opinion on the meat, but the hush puppies are so good. It's worth it to stop in and just have those and a beer.

                                    2. Of the BBQ joints in the city I have been to, I rate these in order from best to worst

                                      Blue Smoke
                                      Heartland Brewery - Empire State Bldg.

                                      1. The thing to get at Virgils is the bbq shrimp special and the pecan rice side.