Friday, May 27, 2011

Dinosaur BBQ: Cornbread & Ribs

When I sought some restaurant recommendations for Syracuse, New York, the vast majority of people told me to dine at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. With all that positive support, and after a review of their website, I figured I would stop there for dinner. Founded by some motorcyle enthusiasts, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, with outside tables, plenty of interior dining space, and a lengthy bar.  The walls are adorned with an eclectic mix of old signs, posters, music pictures, and other quirky items. It has a fun ambiance, a casual place to have a good time.

They have a full bar, with a long list of beers, including numerous local brews. The wine list is less compelling, with the usual major commercial wines on the list. The food menu is fairly extensive, with primarily BBQ and southern dishes, including appetizers, sandwiches, entrees and over fifteen sides. You'll find items including Drunken Spicy Shrimp Boil, BBQ Salmon Fritters, Bronzed Catfish, Mojito Chicken Steak and much more.  Entrees generally cost under $15, though some of the larger entree plates are more expensive. There are plenty of combination plates, allowing you to sample several different dishes.

As I am not a fan of beer, I decided to partake of a pint glass of Woodchuck Cider, a nice accompaniement to BBQ.

The meal began with some Fried Green Tomatoes (3 for $5.95), which are topped by Pecorino cheese and served with a cayenne buttermilk ranch dressing. The thick sliced tomatoes were tasty, surrounded by a nice, crunchy coating, though I would have preferred the cheese to be melted. They actually do have a version with melted cheddar cheese, ham and shrimp.

We also had some Catfish Strips ($5.95), cornmeal dusted, with spicy tartar sauce and BBQ dipping sauce. These were quite delicious, with plenty of flaky, sweet catfish and a light fried coating with a subtle corn flavor. You could easily make a diverse and enjoyable meal of just appetizers here, and if so, you should try the catfish.

The Pork & Brisket Plate ($13.50) comes with pulled pork and sliced brisket, your choice of two sides, and a piece of honey hush cornbread. The above platter has the Mac-n-Cheese and Mashed Potato sides. The pulled pork was ok, though a bit dry, and really needed the sauce. The brisket was also ok, though neither of the two really impressed me. You could find the same at any average BBQ place. The potatoes and mac-n-cheese were good, and sides I would recommend.

The cornbread was top notch, moist and with a slight sweetness to it. I even ordered some cornbread to-go as I enjoyed it so much. That cornbread must have been just out of the oven and was still hot, so I had to eat another piece before leaving. I would come here just for the cornbread!

Above is a 1/4 rack of BBQ Pork Ribs ($9.50) with French Fries and a Salad. After the ok pulled pork and brisket, the ribs were a pleasant surprise, tender and flavorful meat that nearly fell off the bone. The spicy BBQ sauce atop the ribs impressed and these ribs are probably some of the best I have had at a BBQ restaurant. Next time, I would select a larger order of these lips smacking ribs.

Service was very good, and overall I enjoyed the experience, though was a little disappointed with the pulled pork and brisket. But, there is plenty of other impressive and delicious food to be had here so it is a worthy dining destination.

Dinosaur BBQ on Urbanspoon

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