Our first meal at the Troy Dinosaur

dinosaur tres hombres platter

The "Tres Hombres" combo platter.

After much hype, the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que opened in Troy on Wednesday.

We've been looking forward to eating there for a while -- and based on the reaction to our peek inside last week, you're curious, too.

So we got together a few friends and headed over for dinner.

A quick note: This isn't really a review. It's more of "this is what we got, and here are a few thoughts" kind of thing. The place literally just opened, so there are bound to be a few rough spots.

This was our second stop at the Dinosaur this week. We had dropped by the preview party on Monday -- it was completely mobbed. We were able to get a few bites to eat, but it was nothing like a full meal. So it didn't really leave much of an impression.

The group for our visit late Wednesday afternoon: the Editors, Daniel B and his two adorable kids, Joe (of Tournament of Pizza judge fame) and his lovely wife Nora, and Mrs. Greg. Everyone ordered some sort of combo platter (of which there are many).

The setting

dinosaur interior bar

The Dino has scored itself a great location. The spot on the Hudson by the Green Island Bridge is picturesque (love the view of the bridge). And the building itself -- decorated in a roadhouse style -- looks great. There's a bar and stage at one end, with seating stretching along the other two thirds (we hear the place can seat about 300). The lighting is warm and a little dim. The air outside smells pleasantly of barbecue.

Wednesday night, the place was jammed. And it was loud.

The food

Fried green tomatoes

dinosaur fried green tomatoes

The tomatoes were sweeter than we figured they might be. The breading was crispy and a little salty -- but they weren't greasy or heavy. The tomatoes came with a cayenne ranch dressing that was more ranch-y than cayenne-y. But it was good.

The sausage
dinosaur sausage appetizer

The Dinosaur developed a new sausage for this location. We got it on a combo platter and the appetizer above. The sausage has a good, strong smokiness. The casing has a bit of snap. The texture of the interior is like chorizo. And the overall flavor reminds us a bit of kielbasa. Daniel thought it was one of the highlights of the meal. It was good.

The beef came sliced in strips, with a dollop of barbecue sauce and a few thinly sliced jalapenos. The "bark" was fantastic -- a hit of salty, meaty deliciousness. You could see the pink smoke ring. The meat itself was tender, with some nice fattiness. Joe thought his brisket was a touch on the chewy side. Daniel added that he thought it was a bit underdone. Joe wondered if all the meat was a bit rushed, because of the crush. All that said, it was very tasty.

Pulled pork
Pretty straightforward as pulled pork goes. The meat was in lightly pulled hunks. There was a mellow smokiness. It wasn't dry. Our portion had very few bark pieces. The Dino's slightly tangy sauce worked well on it. Thumbs up.

dinosaur nuevo combo

The pork ribs were solid. Like the brisket, they had a delicious crust. And they weren't over-slathered with sauce. There was an evident pink smoke ring. The meat was firm, but not hard to pull off the bone. Daniel thought they were a touch overdone -- but still said the ribs were the best of the meat. Joe said he liked them "quite a bit" (and emailed this morning to say they make great leftovers). On the whole, the ribs were very good.

dinosaur chicken

We're always surprised by how juicy the Dino's chicken is, and Wednesday was no exception. The meat carries the smoke well. The skin had some crispness, but was also a little soggy in places. Overall, thumbs up.

The baked beans came in a lot of sauce. Their flavor starts with sweetness and smokiness, and then finishes with some heat. The macaroni and cheese was creamy, but not over sauced -- it had a subtle jalapeno flavor. The handcut fries were fine. The greens were vinegar-y and not bitter. The cornbread was just OK -- a touch sweet, with a grainy texture.


It was very good, with one hiccup. Joe had ordered a sausage platter, but ended up with a platter that included sausage (and other stuff) -- it wasn't a big deal and after a quick discussion with the server, he decided to keep it.

The staff was very friendly and helpful. New drinks arrived just as old ones were being finished. And when one of us dropped a knife, a server from another table appeared a moment later with a new silverware set.


We've eaten at the Syracuse Dinosaur many times. This new Troy location compares very well -- and in some ways is even better. The food was just as good. The space is much nicer (though it lacks the well-worn, gritty charm of the original). The staff is super friendly -- something the Syracuse location can't always claim (though sometimes that adds to the charm). And the apparent ability to turn out good food, with grace, at such high volume is impressive.

Everyone in our group Wednesday seemed very happy with their meals. The food is good -- not amazing -- but very solid. We'll be quite happy to eat there again.

The total bill for our table before tax was $175.95. That was for six adults all with their own meals, two kids who both got sides, two appetizers for the table, along with beers and a few sodas. There were plenty of leftovers.

Is it worth a long wait for a table? That might depend on how much you like barbecue. But even if you're not a big BBQ fan, it's worth stopping by at least once to try it. You'll probably have a good time.

Be sure to catch Daniel's thoughts on the Dino over at the Fussy Little Blog.

Update: Here's a photoset from opening day by id29 -- it includes a shot of the menu.


So how long did you wait?

@C: We were lucky. Daniel, Joe and Nora were able to get there shortly before 4 and from what I understand, waited about 15 minutes for a table. Mary got there shortly after that, and Mrs. Greg and I arrived a little bit after her.

That looks so good! I can't wait to try it out.

In your review, you state that you've been to the Syracuse location many times, and that the food was just as good in Troy. But you then go on to say that the food was "good, not amazing". So do you not think that highly of the Syracuse food?

I was just out there this past weekend and the food would fall squarely into the 'amazing' category for me, my expectations were (probably unreasonably) high and they were met.

I've already committed that I will not even bother trying to get a table there until 2011. I really dislike waiting for tables.

So no derryX dines at Dinosaur BBQ until then...

derryX just go to the Pig Pit until the novelty wears off the Dinosaur!

The mac and cheese had a subtle jalapeno flavor? Komrade
Bob will not be pleased. I'm looking forward to trying it all, though. Thanks for the details!

I've eaten at the Syracuse location (and had their catering) many times. Good food. I'm looking forward to trying the new one in Troy (now even more, thanks to you!) but will probably wait until the hype dies down, just a bit.

Dinosaur is a step above smokey bones. That's not saying much. I weep for Albany locals. I grew up in Oneonta and had access to Brooks BBQ daily.

Mmm, looks like a heart attack on a platter.

I Love barbecue. Have tried them all. Capital Q in Albany is the best!
Better than brooks, dinosaur, smokey bones, whatever. smalbany is darn lucky to have 'em..IMHO

Rebecca - pig pit is def my favorite in the area!

@Alex: I think the food at the Syracuse location is good. I'm always happy to eat there. I'm just not sure it inspires me with awe. I mean, in the end, it's pulled pork (and it's delicious).

I think some of it is a matter of personal preferences. If you're a huge barbecue fan, you're probably going to get more out of it than if you just enjoy it as another cuisine (I'm probably more toward that end than huge barbecue fan).

So if the Syracuse Dino was amazing for you -- that's great. Now you can get something very close to it -- if not just as good -- much closer to home.

And we'll both push back from the table happy.

@Greg: I hope you didn't think I was trying to criticize your tastes or anything like that; I was just a little unclear about the outcome of the review. Thanks for the information, and the clarification.

@Alex: Not at all. Just expanding a bit. Mrs. Greg and I were having a similar conversation while walking back to our car after the Dino on Wednesday -- about expectations and comparisons to the 'Cuse location.

I went to college in Rochester and visited the dinosaur there as well as the one in Syracuse. The food is consistant at both locations. The service (once you get seated) is fast and the food is cheap (as a college student that was very important.)

For anyone that hasn't been to dinosaur before, don't expect the wait time to go down even in the coming years. If you go anytime from 5pm-7pm on the weekend expect to wait no matter what location you are at.

I can't wait to try it...I loved the Syracuse location but this one is so much closer to me. I'm from the Boston area but spend a lot of time in the Albany/LG area w/my BF, who's local.

@Patty piggy...I agree! Capital Q has great BBQ! :))

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