Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Heaven on 131st Street

Posted by evankessler on December 24, 2004


There is no reason to go back to Syracuse ever again. On December 1st the best thing about Syracuse officially came to New York City. I’m not talking about the Carousel Mall, Doc’s Little Gem, Diner, Faegan’s, or Cosmos. I’m talking about the one and only (actually there are 3) Dinosaur Bar-b-que. I have so many memorable rib eating experiences thanks to Dinosaur in Syracuse and ever since it opened in NYC I’ve been dying to go to see if the new branch lived up to the Central New York legend or if they just stuck their name on a building in Harlem. After yesterday, I’m glad to say the legend has been preserved in Dinosaur’s 131st St. incarnation.

Rich Burrier, Jeff Schneider, Sean Maddison, and myself left my apartment at around 7:40 last night and took the A-Train like a bullet up to 125th St. and St. Nicholas. We were supposed to be joined by Kristin Ertel but she overslept. Oh well, that’s her loss. We had to walk for a bit but when we finally came to 131st and 12th ave and open the doors to our BBQ Mecca, it was like greeting a long lost old friend. Right when we walked in we were hit with the scent of Ribs covered in sensuous slathering sauce, ready to fall off the bone for our enjoyment. The place was pretty crowded and much bigger than the one in Syracuse. The wait for our table for 4 was 45 minutes to an hour, which we didn’t mind because we had a couple of beers at the bar while we waited.

When we finally were seated around 9:15 I glanced over the menu. I didn’t really need to look since I’d seen it so many times but I had a hard time choosing between the half rack of ribs or the combo with a 1/4 rack of ribs and the Texas beef brisket. I chose the latter. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of mashed potatoes on the sides menu but my disappointment was quelled by thought of eating ribs. For my sides I picked the Syracuse Salt Potatoes and the Vegetable of the day which was peas and carrots.
A couple of minutes later the food came and I don’t really think any of us could contain our excitement. We were giddy like schoolgirls. Rich, Jeff, and I had all previously had the Dinosaur experience and I had done so much talking up of the experience to Sean that he was nearly as excited. I poured some of the wango tango dinosaur sauce on my ribs and took the first bite. I don’t know if words can express the sweet smoky spice rolling around my taste buds at the time. I guess I’ll just say that I think I may have heard a chorus of angels singing throughout the entire meal and they weren’t playing Christmas music in the background at Dinosaur.

After that first rib I had to eat the sides because I wanted to save the best for last. In fact the angels may have been singing the Vanessa Williams song of the same name to guide me in my rib eating journey. When I finally stopped to take a breath there was nothing left on my plate. No, I didn’t eat the bones. There was a bowl in the middle of the table to put them in. I think I still could’ve eaten a whole rack of ribs. They were too good to not want more. Sean, Jeff, and Rich almost ended up betting me to do it but my only reward would’ve been paying for the rack of ribs so I decided against it. The waitress then came by and offered up some dessert choices. I almost bit on the Oreo crusted chocolate pudding pie but I decided against it. Then in a rare event, and it was an event because I don’t think this has ever happened, we figured out the check and everyone had the exact amount of money that they owed. No one needed change. It was truly another sign of a mind- blowing evening. But the evening did not end just yet.

We had one more beer and a shot of chilled Patron (there’s an accent in there somewhere) Tequila, which went down surprisingly smooth. We also chatted up a waitress who didn’t seem to have many social skills. Nonetheless the night carried on and as we rode the 1 train back downtown we decided that the night must go on. Rich recommended that we extend the evening at Red Rocks West. I think we drank 2 beers there amidst a rowdy crowd and girls dancing on the bar. Not content to end things there, we moved on to Coyote Ugly which seemed dead so it was onward to Reservoir where we enjoyed one last pint.

This morning my body felt full of meat and beer. I think I may have gained 15 pounds last night. I’ll be back at Dinosaur on Monday or Tuesday. Who wants to join me?

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