Few things are more genuine American cuisine the good ole BBQ! This writer has a serious crush for this style of cooking and when he found out that a place opened up offering it he made a visit… three times.. Yeah… we’re about to get seriously stuffed… bring your Jurassic sized wet naps… we’re getting messy!
On With The Review:
Very strong representation of various BBQ styles
Variety of items on menu
Straight up TASTY!
Great for groups and individuals
Located exactly one block from the Prudential Center next to the Jersey Devils square, you can’t miss it. I wish we had better parking choices in this town, but for locals and visitors coming in via train, this is an absolute no issue and safe to travel.
The decor is slightly rugged with a lot of wood as the main element. Makes you feel like you’re in a roadhouse on the expensive side of Texas. Huge bar, plenty of booths, plenty of tables and lots of odes to BBQ!
For some reason they really like old Posters from the 50’s that seem to be some sort of “adult” movie… but don’t take my word for it…
You can make that call on what these movie posters are all about.
FIRST, ABOUT BBQ:
Barbecue is not just sauce on smoked meat. Ok, well, maybe it sorta is but the cuisine is actually divided into various methods or styles! The US can be divided into four main regions of BBQ, each with its particular meat, sauce and wood used for smoking. The 4 main regions are Texas, Memphis, The Carolinas and Kansas City.
Texas: Everyone knows about Texas BBQ and there’s a reason. They take it very seriously in the Lone Star State. Matter of fact, due to it’s size, Texas BBQ can be divided into 4 smaller categories (Central, South, East and West) It’s a BIG Beef area where the Brisket is king and Beef Ribs are also royalty. Depending which part of Texas, the rub and wood will alter the flavor and tenderness of the meat.The sauces tend to be thick, smoky, spice-heavy (meaning lots of spices, not heat), varying in sweetness and varying tomato flavor.
The Carolinas: If Texas takes beef seriously, the Carolinas take Pork even more seriously as they use pretty much smoke every part of a hog. This area can also be divided into smaller areas (North or South then East or West) If you like baby back ribs or pulled pork… you’re gonna dig this type of BBQ. The most famous description of Carolina BBQ sauces is usually thin, with a vinegar base.
Memphis & Kentucky: Pork ribs, BBQ sandwiches and lamb shoulder are what these areas are known for. They can be served to you “wet” or “dry” (with sauce or without sauce).
Kansas City: The people of Kansas City are absolutely crazy for BBQ. They are so into it, they’ll smoke pretty much anything so not bias toward pork, beef or “other” meats. But what this area is truly known for is it’s sweet sauce, probably the most widespread version of BBQ sauce throughout the country. They love it and will lather it on to the point where sometimes, I feel like the meat is the topping for the sauce.
(Back to the)Menu:
Dino BBQ gives you a few options from all of the areas above along with all the right sides, all the right appetizers and a bunch of different choices that are not found anywhere nearby.
There is an ample selection of beers, with a lot of Jersey made choices such as Cricket Hill or gluten-free Redbridge. They also have a full bar and decent wine selection. Oh, and hats off for acknowledge that Budweiser has a brewery in town by placing Bud on the Jersey Brewed list.
Loving the apps: I had the Fried Green Tomatoes and they are very tasty, savory with a slight sweetness.
The buttermilk battered veggie is fried till golden then topped with Parmesan and dusted with a little cayenne and served alongside creamy ranch dressing.
It’s like a vegan’s mozzarella stick … of the gods.
All about the meat: You can choose from a variety of meats such as brisket, chicken, ribs, pork shoulder, skirt steak, a variety of housemade sausages and even uncustomary but great ideas such as lamb shoulder and Korean style bbq ribs.
It’s simply a sublime selection. If you want to taste a lot of different meats, just hit up their combo menu where you can mix-n-match and it comes with at least two sides .
Sides include items such as the jalapeno mac-n-cheese which is very creamy, has a well toasted top and is made with Velveeta. Yes, Velveeta – don’t judge, I use it in my recipe as well. They also have potato salad and chicken-n-sausage gumbo! I have to give props to them having one of the best tasting chicken and sausage gumbos I’ve eaten: thick, smokey, earthy and hearty (add some hot sauce, it’s a lil low heat) with a good amount of meat and okra.
The pork-n-beans are filled with smoky-sweet goodness! I didn’t know what to do with myself when I had the whipped sweet potatoes with nuts as it was so good, thoughts of slathering it on my face came to mind.
You can buy their sauces. I tried the Garlic-Chipotle Pepper sauce which is a smoky, flavorful hot sauce that has heat but is not overbearing. To quote the slogan of another famous sauce: “Put that **** on EVERYTHING!”
Wango Tango sauce is heat with habanero flavoring and no bitterness.
While the Sensuous Slathering Sauce has the right amount of sweet, tomato and tang with no kick back at all, finishing smooth – perfect for brisket.
Jerk BBQ sauce on the lamb… yes’m… if I were a lamb, this is the way I’d like to go.
Yes, there’s dessert too: How about a Black Jack Pecan Pie slice to burst your belly?? It’s a must!
This menu is, hands down, one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to order from in quite some time and for miles around. I seriously need to come here another three times to try everything at least once. Extremely well done!
The food tastes fresh. The meat is very tender and moist. The spices and sauces although strong don’t overpower the meat. This writer had a pretty impossible task of trying to find something he didn’t like… and to think, Dinosaur BBQ is from… NEW YORK! Whodathunkit!?
Outstanding. Always courteous at the door when you arrive and when you leave. Servers are friendly, fun and very casual. They keep on you but allow you to enjoy your meal without buzzing about. If the place is a mob scene, they do disappear into what I believe is a wormhole in the kitchen (extra credit for those of you that know what a wormhole is) but just when you think you are about to say “service is slow” – they show up with a smile. The manager even came up to us to check up. This writer got a choice of dessert or cocktail on the house for his birthday. This is what service is!!! (no bias… I swear)
The only weird note? When there’s a mob, they take your cell so they can text you when your table ready. Awesome right? Well – when you get the text, you go to the hostess and THEN they tell you they’ll page you when you can sit… Awkward huh?? Either someone fudged up the process or these people are masters at creating hope and anticipation…
Not cheap, but not wallet-killing. You’re going to spend about $16 per person before tips and taxes. Higher than normal for BBQ – but for this caliber – it is definitely worth it.
Fun, packed and well – all of the elements of busy restaurant with zero crowding effects. You get such a mix of suits, locals, Prudential visitors and what not that it all culminates into one idea: BBQ LOVERS. You can show up in a tie or in a jogging suit, you’ll be A-OK.
Amazing BBQ. Great Atmosphere. Awesome Staff. Well Managed. ‘Nuff Said.
Hurricane Rating: Category 5!
H-Cane’s Final Spin:
Stop kidding yourself: You love BBQ. You love BBQ so much that you’ll blow that diet you’ve been on for 12 years in an instant. If you never had BBQ (… please show me the rock you live under…), this is where you’ll get a college course on the subject. Dinosaur BBQ is that good. Be prepared to be full and sloppy… but very, very happy. Your date will call you a god. Your boss will bow down to you, for a change. This is my temple, the BBQ sauce is my holy water and the pit is my alter. GO NOW!