ADDRESS: 246 W. Willow Street, Syracuse, NY 13202
During the planning phases of my roadtrip up to the Buffalo area, I had asked my friends Bryan and Katie if they’d be okay with switching up the route on the way back down to NJ instead of doubling back on how we drove up. This new route would take us through Syracuse, so I threw out the suggestion to stop at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for lunch, since it was both highly rated from reviews and we hadn’t planned to eat at any barbecue restaurants during the entire trip. Fast forward now to the day we were driving back down to NJ, and barbecue sounded real good right as we were pulling into the parking lot for lunch.
The moment you step into the place, it’s almost like you’re transported out of the industrial downtown Syracuse and into a retro western ranch (sounds like a strange blend, I know), with plenty of wooden furniture and old-school memorabilia hanging on the walls. The dining area itself was a pretty good size, with a long bar that you could sit at or a number of tables and booths. Our waitress came over not long after we were seated to grab our drink orders, and we continued to look over the menu to see what kind of barbecue we were in the mood for.
There’s a bunch of different barbecue options to choose from, including ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and sausage. I wanted to get a good sampling of the restaurant’s options, so I went for a two-meat combo plate with the ribs and brisket, with mac & cheese and fries for sides. Despite the fact that we had grabbed some Dunkin Donuts for breakfast no more than two hours before, my stomach was already growling for more food, and the smells wafting around from the kitchen and tables around us didn’t help that fact.
Our food arrived after a little while and I knew my stomach was happy to see the heaping plate of barbecue sitting on the table in front of me. I got started with the lean-cut brisket, with a nice crust on the outside edges and still moist enough on the inside. Some slices had the in-house barbecue sauce lathered on top, which added a nice savory and smoky flavor to the meat. I took a sample of the sides next, and I found them both to be quite tasty as well. The mac & cheese had a little cajun zing to the sauce, the fries were crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, and the cornbread had a slight honey flavor to it. The ribs, however, were the real stars of that plate.
Cooked so tender that you could pull the bones right out, the ribs were probably some of the best that I’d had in quite some time. There was a cajun flavor that was cooked into the meat, followed by a sweet, savory, and smoky flavor on the outside that came from the barbecue sauce brushed on top while being cooked. Man, I’m getting hungry again just writing about it! The next time I get the chance to stop in, I am definitely ordering just a rack of ribs; I know for sure that would keep me satisfied.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que certainly dishes up some great tasting food in a rather interesting restaurant atmosphere. I think the key to a lot of it is the barbecue sauce they use to cook and how it really seems to tie everything together really nicely. It’s a plate of food like what I had there that makes me wish there was a closer location to southern Maryland. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and I’ll be waiting a little longer to get my next fix.
Let’s now take a look at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Dinosaur Bar-B-Que:
Food: 4.75 / 5
Great tasting barbecue coupled with excellent sides as well. With such a variety of different meats to choose from, the restaurant caters to what you might be craving for that particular day.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
I think the decor really provides an interesting feel to the restaurant, seeming like you’re eating at western ranch. I also saw a few signs that they do live music on certain nights, which would be pretty cool as well.
Service: 4.75 / 5
Our waitress was very affable, stopping by multiple times during our meal to check and see how the food was and if we needed more drinks. Our food also came out of the kitchen in relatively good time.
Price: 3.75 / 5
At first, I was surprised to find how expensive the pricing was on the menu. I would expect that level of pricing if we were inside a more major city like Chicago or Washington, D.C., but not in downtown Syracuse. The portion size, however, for the meat sampler plate was pretty decent, so I would say that kind of offsets a little.