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Best BBQ

looking for rec's for my birthday lunch - need to impress my girlfriend. She loves bbq and want to take her to the best place??? anywhere in the city.

Thanks in advance

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    1. re: G3B

      Second third and fourth dinosaur...been to Rub and Blue Smoke as well..and I just love Dinosaur

      1. re: G3B

        Fifth Dinosaur. Was just there last week and hands down the best in the city!

      2. Hill Country or Wildwood,

          1. re: erinalacarte

            I Think Hill Country has the best BBQ in the city. Especially their brisket and sausage, I find RUB to be way to smokey and can be dry. As someone who is married to a Syracuse alumni I also have to say Dinosaur is #2

          2. Dinosaur and Hill Country are both excellent. I can't coment on RUB because I was only there once when it first opened. But if you are trying to impress a girlfriend, I suggest Blue Smoke. It is the nicest restaurant of the group. Try the Texas Salt & Pepper ribs. Dinosaur is a madhouse and Hill Country has you go to different counters to order different items, so it can be difficult to navigate.

            1. I recently went to Blue Smoke after hearing and seeing many great reviews. I was really disappointed. The ribs were decent but the brisket were okay at best. Nothing wowed me. The side of mac'n cheese tasted like it was made with Kraft pre sliced American Cheese in the plastic wrap. I really excpected more and would say for such high priced BBQ don't bother with it. It was family oriented though. Lots of people with strollers and kids if that applies.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MsAlyp

                You can knock Blue Smoke's BBQ around all you want (it's not the best) but I demand that you take back what you said about the mac and cheese. You take that back!

                Seriously, though, it does not taste at all like Kraft. When was the last time you had Kraft?

                1. re: jakew8

                  I agree with jakew8. I'm not a big Blue Smoke fan but I would definitely go back for the mac n cheese ANYTIME

                  1. re: jakew8

                    Okay maybe I went a little to far by comparing it to Kraft, Velvetta perhpas? I just wasn't impressed really by much there but it could have been an off night considering others many good experiences.

                2. I've only been to Blue Smoke, Hill Country and Wildwood, and of the three, my pick is Wildwood.

                  1. Since I'm staying so close to Dinosaur, I'm going to try it before I leave the city -- and I'm wondering what I should order. On a trip to Texas about two years ago, I ate BBQ at one famous place after another until it flew out my ears -- and I disliked most of it (especially the ones that really tasted like creosote).

                    My favorite BBQ is sausage (hey, it's a German-American cuisine to begin with, right?) and I was a bit disappointed when I checked out Dinosaur's menu that sausage got short shrift.

                    So what do you think Dinosaur does best? Beef ribs? Baby backs? I'd rather not eat chicken or sandwiches (I think.) And what sides do you recommend other than mac'n'cheese?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: summerUWS2008

                      Well, if you can get past your chicken thing, they do great wings - big, smoked, and juicy. I also like their pork ribs, but I order the sauce (the "wango-tango" medium hot and tasty) on the side, so the ribs don't get overgloppy.

                      Aside from the mac&cheese, the salt potatoes are good, and my wife is partial to their slaw.

                      1. re: summerUWS2008

                        the tres hombres platter

                        the syracuse potatoes

                        the fried green tomatoes

                        1. re: summerUWS2008

                          I wasn't overly impressed by the Fried Green Tomatoes or the Syracuse Potatoes. However, I found the Collard Greens to be really delicious. As for mains, may I suggest an entree that includes multiple meats. Their ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken are all done so well that it would be a shame to limit yourself to one.

                          1. re: carijo3

                            funny. i liked the collard green, but thought they were slightly flat due to being made w/out pork. (why do they need a veggie item in this place anyway? i don't think they are going to pull too many non-meat eaters, nor kosher or halal diners, for that matter ;) )

                            1. re: thew

                              Its all about the balanced meal...

                        2. Doesn't anyone recommend the sausage at Dinosaur? Do they have good beans?

                          I like collards.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: summerUWS2008

                            PS: I think they deliver to my neighborhood. How do you think a delivery order would hold up? I just read some reviews, and even midweek, it sounds like it's a zoo and loud music.

                            If you were ordering as take out or delivery, which direction would you go?

                            1. re: summerUWS2008

                              dont get me wrong the collards were tasty. just missing, what to me, is the smoky porky undertone i find essential to traditional greens.

                              the elgin sausage is very good. the beans are also very tasty , albeit a bit watery, but still worth it. i didn't have anything bad there, though i was underwhelmed by the shrimp boil. everything else is top notch.

                              1. re: thew

                                Any thoughts on whether the food survives delivery or a six-block walk home as take-out?

                                1. re: summerUWS2008

                                  i assume it would survive either. as a native NYer i pretty much never do take out, if delivery is an option ;)

                                  1. re: thew

                                    Turns out to be a moot point. Delivery is only at lunchtime, and it would take an order of $50 or more for it to be free to my location south of 125th.

                            2. Dinosaur is very good, but is very far uptown. That is the only downside. It is definitely worth the trip if you have the time. Wildwood, which is newer is on Park and around 18th and is very good as well. Fun atmosphere and I was there recently and saw they have wii boxing tournaments, which could be fun. Hill Country is also very good, but I always feel rushed there for some reason. Forget Blue Smoke there are so many better BBQ places to try.

                              1. Dinosaur is hands down the best. I've been to them all and overall it has the
                                whole package. Good beer, awesome ribs, cornbread and sides. Fun festive atmosphere.


                                Wildwood has the best short rib, but everything else is subpar. RUB is the best in the city I think behind Dinosaur. They have some really awesome ribs. Blue Smoke is kind of hit or miss. Hill Country is best for awesome beef ribs and sausages but the pork ribs are too tough and salty.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: roze

                                  Does "fun, festive atmosphere" mean loud conversation and loud music, even during the week at night?

                                  1. re: summerUWS2008

                                    Hmm...I was there on a Thursday night last time from about 7:00-9:00 and I had no trouble hearing anyone in my party of 5 people at our table.

                                    However, when we were leaving there were about 20 people waitng at the door for a table so it was really crowded.

                                    1. re: roze

                                      thanks, I'll keep it in mind. I'd probably go on a monday or tues nite

                                2. It's not in the city, but my recommendation for good BBQ is to get her in the car, make your way to I-95 South, and in about 7-9 hours, depending on how you drive, you'll hit the NC border... there you can find the best bbq... IMHO of course. ;)

                                  I have to say I was not impressed by Dinosaur, maybe because I grew up on eastern NC bbq... so far, I have yet to find a place in any of the boroughs that comes close to being a good substitute for home.

                                  I haven't been to Hill Country or Wildwood yet though, haven't gotten into the city in months, but they're on our list when the weather cools down a little.

                                  Hope you find a place that yields good 'que for you though, and happy birthday to your girlfriend :)

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: TarheelYankee

                                    Maybe I'm just an ignorant guy from NY/VT, but the food at Dinosaur is great. Maybe it isn't "authentic" (whatever that means) but it tastes great and beats sending $400 on gas to drive 9 hours to NC ! However, to our fine Southern friends in search of a decent pizza, the the expenditure on gas and time would be well worth it in taking the trip on I-95 North !

                                    1. re: TonyO

                                      Maybe you can hitch a ride with Bernke and his girlfriend, split the gas, and taste for yourself! :P

                                      The closest I've come to NC BBQ in the NY/NJ area is at the Big Apple BBQ, at Ed Mitchell's booth. (although I think my sauce is better) :)

                                      I never said the food at Dinosaur was bad, I just said I wasn't impressed based on how I know BBQ to be from Eastern NC.

                                      and I'm not saying I'd never go back to Dinosaur (we really enjoyed their grilled chicken wings for an appetizer) I'm just on the hunt for something I'm more used to. When I see "real NC bbq" on a menu, I'm anxious to go, but have been disappointed every time.

                                      but in my defense of my "not impressed" opinion, both our ribs were charred, dried out and borderline inedible, the pork was heavily seasoned and the flavor of the pork was lost, the brisket on my husband's plate was like a piece of shoe leather, he complained and they offered to bring him something else, but we'd waited so long to get service first of all, then our order, that we were both ready to go by the time the waitress made it over to us, which she obviously hadn't intended on doing, but we flagged her down.

                                      Everyone has their off days, including restaurants, I'm not off writing scathing reviews on this place, I don't think I've ever publicly badmouthed a place to discourage others from going. (and I don't consider this one of those times, but your reply forced me to defend my opinion)

                                      So no, our food wasn't "great".


                                      ps. I just came back from NC on Sunday, It only cost me around $200 on gas round trip, for a little over a week's vacation. :P

                                      1. re: TarheelYankee

                                        eastern NC barbque is a very specific style... and maybe not what dinosaur does.

                                        1. re: thew

                                          I never said they did and no they don't, and my explanation on why our meal wasn't "great" mentions nothing about a style...unless "overcooked" is a style.

                                          I visit BBQ restaurants to try to find a place that satisfies my craving for BBQ in general, if it's close to what I grew up on, all the better.


                                          ps. I see why you replied like you did, but I didn't mean to imply that I went to Dinosaur expecting NC style BBQ, that's not what I meant.

                                          1. re: TarheelYankee

                                            fair enough

                                            i'll just add that i liked their ribs, but liked the texas brisket and the pulled pork even more

                                  2. Tonight was the night I did take out from Dinosaur BBQ.

                                    I'm sorry I'm returning to Europe and will no longer be posting because I think I could serve as a kind of reverse barometer for many recommended restaurants in NYC.

                                    I thought the pulled pork was vile. Actually vile. So were the baked beans. Both got one bite and tossed in the trash.

                                    Brisket dry and tasteless. Ribs okay.

                                    It didn't help that Dinosaur managed to screw up my order, and fail to give me the Elgin sausage I ordered. But I could have looked past that if the food hadn't been so unappetizing.

                                    However: Cole slaw? Tasty. "Chopped" salad? Make that bagged salad with candied pecans thrown at it.

                                    Potato salad? How about mashed potato spackle? A texture-free glob. There were collard greens. I've had far, far better. Canned would have been as good. Corn bread? Hard, dry. Left on the plate by both parties eating.

                                    I can imagine someone who developed a taste for truckstop diner food somewhere in their lifetime having a nostalgia for this. I can imagine people who can't afford to eat above diner-grade food preferring this. I really find it hard to believe New Yorkers eat this food and call it good -- but apparently they do. I have no idea why.

                                      1. re: racer x

                                        I'm still suffering the indigestion from the last round of Chowhound recommended ribs. Won't risk it again.