99 Court Street, Downtown Rochester
Visited several times
Written by Drew
When visitors come to Rochester, they need to shop at Wegmans and eat a garbage plate. Barbecue most likely isn’t the next thing that comes to mind for those visitors, but it probably should be.
New York – and any state north of the Mason-Dixon Line, for that matter – isn’t known for its barbecue. But there is one exception: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which originated in Syracuse, has had a second location right here in Rochester since 1998, and has since expanded to New York City (Harlem) and Troy (just north of Albany).
First off, I would like to apologize for our absence on RWG the last month or two. I have been working 40+ hour weeks, in numerous jobs. With that said, I have attended a several Red Wings’ games on my spare time, a few of which with my friends. On three separate occasions, my friends and I traveled into the city to eat at one of the state’s most know barbecue pits, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
Located literally right on the border of the gray area and fair territory, the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que overlooks the mighty Genesee River. This barbecue pit resides within an abandoned 1905 Lehigh Valley train station. When walking into the establishment, your eyes are drawn to every nook and cranny in the restaurant. Tons of memorabilia ringing of Americana hangs on the walls. Enough with setting the stage, let’s get to the food already.
Voted America’s best BBQ in 2009 by Good Morning America, Dinosaur sets the bar high when it comes to barbecue in the Northeast. Over the past few months, I have been craving barbecue, and after having the Dinosaur, nothing else even comes close.
Josh and I went to the Dinosaur prior to a high-school baseball game back in the spring, and little did I know I would be returning two more times in the following weeks. All three of my visits I ordered the same thing, the Original Pulled Pork Platter (pardon the alliteration). For $9.50, the platter includes a hefty pulled pork sandwich with two sides. I chose their macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes for my sides all three times.
The pulled pork sandwich came piled high on one of their signature sesame seeded buns. One of the biggest things that puts Dinosaur’s pulled pork sandwich above the rest is the meat doesn’t come too saucy. The structure of the sandwich is well put together, seeing how the bottom half of the bun wasn’t saturated. Now don’t worry all of you “I like my BBQ saucy” fans, on the tables inside of the Dinosaur you’ll find many different BBQ and hot sauces to utilize.
As for my sides, the macaroni and cheese has to be some of the best I have ever had. It had a very cheesy consistency to it, and a bit of a bite. To the best of my knowledge, the macaroni and cheese is topped with Dinosaur’s rub seasoning, which includes some sort of hot seasoning.
Their mashed potatoes were more so the smashed variety, but still very good. The first two times I went there I ate all of my sides first because they were irresistible, on my third I ate them last, because I wanted to finish my sandwich in its entirety. After I finished these meals I was definitely full, and very content with my investment.
Josh ordered something that I would never have guessed he would have ordered, Jumbo Chicken Wings. Thirteen large chicken wings filled his basket with the steam and aroma of their barbecue sauce filling the air. Josh described the chicken wings as different than the normal chicken wing, but in a good way. The wings had a charcoal taste to them, since they are not deep-fried like almost every other chicken wing in the area. He went on and described their sauce as spicy. Josh finished all 13 wings, with much help of several beverages.
On my first return visit, Chad and I stopped at Dinosaur prior to a Red Wings game. We overestimated how much time we would need. We literally walked in, sat down, ordered and had our food in front of within five minutes; some of the best food service I have ever been a part of.
On our most recent visit, Chad, Joe, Kameron, and myself had quite a time eating there. As always, I ordered the exact same thing and Chad did the same. Joe and Kameron got involved with some appetizers. Both Joe and Kameron ordered three Jumbo Wings. Joe’s wings came ‘Wango-Tango’ style. When asked about the wings, he responded simply, “Delicious.”
For his entree, Joe ordered a half rack of ribs with corn bread, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. Joe exclaimed that the ribs he ordered came to him perfectly. The meat fell right off the bone, and there was no need for him to put extra sauce on them because they already had the perfect amount on them. He went on to agree with my feeling on the macaroni and cheese. Joe would like to add that all-in-all he spent $22 on his meal, and didn’t have any qualms with that price.
After visiting the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que several times in the past few months, as well as other barbecue place in the area, I could say hands down the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is the best barbecue in this state, if not the entire North.
It rates No. 1 overall in the Rochester area on UrbanSpoon’s restaurant rankings. It also takes the top spot in Syracuse, home of its original location, and No. 16 in New York City.
After feasting at Dinosaur several times over the years ourselves, it’s not difficult to see why.
Service/Atmosphere: It doesn’t get much better than this. Americana at its finest. I’ve rarely had to wait an extended amount of time here. If going during weekend dinner times, expect a little bit of a wait.
Food: Simply, some of the best barbecue and sides I’ve ever had.
Value: Priced a little high, but as Joe put it, he doesn’t have a problem paying for better quality food.
Overall: There is a reason why GMA voted the Dinosaur the best barbecue in America.