Lured by Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
It’s easy to be enticed into the newly opened Dinosaur in Brooklyn’s Park Slope-Gowanus area. Park Slope is one of the greatest neighborhoods in the country and Dinosaur has already established itself in this microcosmic and well-rounded area as a gem.
Conveniently located off the R train, I arrived early in the evening and the place was already hopping with long waiting lines. The cheerful host assured us our wait would be short-lived and we welcomed the opportunity to discover the rustic interior, which was originally a tool factory.
Almost everything is made from reclaimed elements. The bar, decorated with at least 20 different domestic and local beers on tap, was once part of the “Cinderella Man” film, with tin from an old barn roof accenting the back. The banquettes and tables are made from pushcarts from the 1920s and the walls are of wood from the historic Coney Island boardwalk.
All of it is fascinating, but the one that caught my attention most was the 14-by-8-foot rotating installation in the ceiling with 116 antique whiskey bottles from the Prohibition era. Each bottle, found beneath Brooklyn underpasses, had been individually sandblasted for a rustic appearance.
There is no compromise here and the focus is on absolute quality. It is true blue Southern-style barbeque. And that means it takes time to cook the meat. Some take 4 to 6 hours while the smoked ribs and briskets 12 to 14 hours in the pit over hickory. All sauces and dressings are made in-house.
The menu has “Small and hared Plates,” “Bar-B-Que Pit Plates,” and “Custom ’Que Plates.”
The Sausage Cheese and Crackers ($7.95) and the A.K. Chili on the half Shell ($8.95) are spicy hot, the waitress warned. These smoked links take three days to make. They were accompanied with pickled onions and jalapeno relish. I loved the chili—it rocked! They were not too hot for us.
The dry rubbed barbecue ribs (1/4 rack $11.95) were perfectly done and came off the bone very tenderly. The secret to this delicious meat is the dry rub mix prepared by none other than the nationally acclaimed, owner and pit master, John Stage.
The slow smoked and hand sliced Brisket Plate ($17.95) was a combination of perfect slices of tender and marbled brisket. While my friends enjoyed the tender part, I raced for the juicy and fatty part—the most addicting to me. Crispy Coleslaw and the Harlem Potato Salad (named after the chain’s Harlem location) arrived at the table as side dishes. Loved the coleslaw—crispy and somewhat sweet with an unusual dressing.
Unique to Brooklyn is the Breakfast All Day ($14.95). Made with smoked brisket, poblano hash, and a sunny side egg all pressed into a Portuguese roll. Guaranteed to fill you up and to keep you awake all day. For me, it presented too many ingredients and flavors, and I passed, but it seemed to hit the spot with my friends.
For dessert, the lemon Ice Box Pie ($5) is a rave.
Dinosaur has seven locations throughout New York and neighboring states. It all began in 1983 as a mobile concession stand using a 55-gallon drum cut in half, according to the website. John Stage and his two partners decided to create Dinosaur while at a massive motorcycle gathering near Albany.
“The three partners believed that bikers deserve a good plate of food and that the Dinosaur could provide it. For five years, the Dinosaur’s home was the road, where they served good bar-b-que at motorcycle shows, fairs, and festivals throughout the Northeast,” the website states.
The place is convivial and happy and I am sure my Brooklynite friends have become fans.
604 Union Street, (between Third and Fourth avenues)
Monday to Thursday: 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.
Friday to Saturday: 11 a.m.–midnight
Sunday 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Reservations are suggested.