Dinosaur BBQ – Troy, NY

Never again!

I actually tried to ride the buzz of Dinosaur BBQ in 2010, but I turned myself away when the wait was 1 hour and 45 minutes at 4pm on Black Friday. My vow was that I was not going to try Dinosaur until 2011, and I didn’t wait long into the year to see what the buzz was about.

Cassie and I decided to go for it on Wednesday January 5 right after work. We arrived at the restaurant, which resides at 377 River Street in Troy, shortly after 5pm. Upon arrival, I sent Cassie in to probe the wait time while I tried finding parking. As I circled the lot, looking for a park to no avail, Cassie sent me a text that a table was available. I stopped the car and texted her back to tell her to take the table and that I’d be a few minutes looking for a park.

The parking situation is atrocious. I circled their limited lot for five minutes until I gave up and drove under the Green Island Bridge to the area where parking for Ryan’s Wake and other office buildings are. Just my two cents: if there is issues finding parking for customers when there are tables available, it doesn’t bode well for people who are told there will be a wait. Unless they are thrown by reputation or need to eat BBQ, they are going to drive away. And it’s not like there is a whole lot of street parking available within walkable distance. OK. There is an Uncle Sam parking garage which is free on weekends, but what about Monday through Friday?

While we waited to order, I was compelled to sample the sauces at the table.

Dinosaur BBQ sauce selection

Of the three sauces, the mango tango was my favorite. Their signature sauce has a hint of sweetness, but basically tastes like a tomato puree. Wango tango builds on this sauce by adding some heat from habanero peppers. The third sauce is just hot sauce and tasted no better than Frank’s Hot Sauce.

Onto the food…

I am currently on a ketogenic diet, meaning I am keeping my carbohydrates low. I’m currently in a phase where I can basically (within reason) eat as much meat as I want as long as my carbs are low. I figured BBQ would be the perfect style of dining for this diet.

With my diet in mind, I order an appetizer of six wings with their signature Devil’s Duel, the hottest, sauce. Instead of frying their wings, they smoke and grill them, and then toss them in the sauce. The wings arrived approximately 2 minutes after ordering.

Devil's Duel Wings

The wings were good. They skin on the wings was thick, and they were fairly fatty, but, this aside, they carried good smoke flavor and held up against the sauce nicely. The sauce was an intense sweet heat. After four wings, I was definitely at the point of giving up on the rest, but I pushed along and finished all of the wings. In my opinion, if a higher quality of wings were used, these would have been great.

For a meal, I ordered the Pork and Brisket plate, which came with two sides. I chose coleslaw and chopped salad, intending to just pick at both for the sake of the review and focus on just eating the meat. Here is what arrived:

Pork and Brisket Plate from Dinosaur BBQ

I did not order baked beans, but the kitchen messed up and gave me that. How do I know it was the kitchen? Two adjacent tables had problems with their sides over the course of my visit there, and there’s no way the same server would key in three different orders incorrectly. I could be wrong though, but I didn’t take it out on the server. Luckily, the food was served on plates with divisions, so the sauce from the baked beans, which are not my favorite food, never touched any of my other food. I nicely indicated that I was supposed to get chopped salad to the runner, and she immediately brought me this:

Chopped Salad from Dinosaur BBQ

There is no scale reference in the picture, but the amount of salad in the paper boat could easily fit into my closed fist. I didn’t even bother with it.

The pulled pork, which I admit comes from a cut of pork which is known to be relatively dense in fat, seemed overly greasy and didn’t have the type of smoky flavor I’d attribute to good pulled pork. I sauced the hell out of it with Mango Tango sauce to choke it down.

The brisket was another flop. It was tougher than overcooked London broil, lacked any decent flavor, and, absent from the above picture due to the positioning of the meat, the fat layer on each piece of brisket easily accounted for 1/3 of the total volume. In my experience, good brisket is cooked with the fat layer (on top) and, prior to slicing, the majority of the fat is removed. This could have stood to lose 3-5 extra millimeters of fat.

The coleslaw was grainy, and I don’t know how else to really describe that. I don’t know if it was dry seasonings or what, but each bite of coleslaw felt like there was sand mixed in. I had to taste the beans since they were there. They were surprisingly good. It was almost like they mix pulled pork and extra BBQ sauce with a can of baked beans. The corn bread was a sad excuse. It was a small disc of unleavened, dense, dry cornmeal with absolutely no flavor.

I will list what Cassie ordered and add images in hopes that she will comment on her portion; I have nothing to say.

Dino Slider
Bronzed Catfish from Dinosaur BBQ

When we were finished, we had a good amount of food on our plates, enough to get the server to second guess our decision to not want doggie bags. She actually lingered around waiting for us to complain. I honestly didn’t have the heart to make her sit through this whole thing. I just wanted to pay and go.

I give Dinosaur BBQ in Troy a huge thumbs down. The parking situation is a joke. Their prices are higher than any respectable BBQ in the area. The quality of the food is embarrassing. And that’s assuming your food comes out the way you order it. The wings were a bright point, but could easily use some work.

If you have the urge to drive to that vicinity to eat BBQ, drive the extra five or so minutes up the road to Pig Pit. Here: I even mapped out directions from Dinosaur to Pig Pit just in case you make the mistake of pulling into Dinosaur’s parking lot.


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93 thoughts on “Dinosaur BBQ – Troy, NY

  • E

    I’ve been dragging my feet about trying Dinosaur BBQ in Troy after a few ‘meh’ experiences at Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. Seeing your post/pics is solidifying my disinterest. It’s not like I think I’ll hate the place, I just don’t feel like bothering.


  • Darth

    So by your review, i’m guessing this is not the same owner as Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse – which was on Man v. Food and is raved about nationally? Because if it is the same owner, i’d be severely disappointed.


  • Roz

    Our supervisor bought lunch for us from Dinosaur BBQ just before Christmas, and he had a terrible time finding a place to park. One of our orders was wrong as well. My pulled pork sandwich was good, but I have to admit that it was only the second one I had, ever. The first one was made by an honest-to-goodness Atlanta chef and yes, it was much better.


  • Kicknknit

    I’m fascinated by this review. My exposure to Dinosaur is limited to the jar of sauce I got in the grocery store and two tastings at the Big Apple BBQ Festival in NY. At the Festival in 2009, their pulled pork was my least favorite. I didn’t finish it. I assumed it was due to the venue. Cooking outside all day for massive (and I mean massive) amounts of people could see some quality drop.
    If I remember correctly in 2010 it was better but still not my favorite.


  • Cute~Ella

    While I’m not defending them because I respect your ability to review food places, I’m sort of surprised that it was so bad. I’ve had Dinosaur BBQ in both Syracuse and Rochester and it was so good!

    Sometimes it’s just best to but their marinade at the store and BBQ it yourself.

    Brooks however will always be my favorite BBQ Chicken 😉


  • JGR

    I always have my doubts when I hear the word “Bar-B-Que” in the Northeast. So far, I’ve been underwhelmed by the offerings in the Capital Region. I have been impressed with the BBQ chicken that I’ve had at PJ’s and Giffy’s though. The Cornell BBQ sauce on roasted chicken is delicious. I will give Pig Pit a try since I have not been there.


  • Cassie

    Part of me doesn’t even want to comment on what I had and just let people continue their infatuation with Dinosaur. I’ll say this first, I spent a lot of time in the south and I’ve tried tons of barbecue places. I’m not a connoisseur by any means but, I’ve had my fair share of barbecue from Maine to Florida and everything in between. I’ve also had takeout from the Dinosaur in Syracuse (about 4 years ago) and I liked it. Second, I understand that Dinosaur in Troy has received rave reviews from many local “foodies” and that’s why I was excited to try it.

    So the first picture is of my Pulled Pork Slider. Pulled pork is one of my favorite dishes. The sliders are $3.95 per slider. If you’re going by price, you might assume that for that much, it’s got to be good and well worth it. Wrong. The slider looks like it’s made on a cheap dinner roll (you know those yellow ones that are kinda doughy) that has been grilled on a panini press. It’s flat and cripy. The pulled pork was very, very dry. I expected it to be dry but not that dry and I expected it to have a hint of smokiness but, got nothing. It was completely flavorless. There was a dab of sauce but not enough to help the pork. The pickles were delicious though. They seemed like they were homemade and were a good mix of sweet and sour.

    My main course was the catfish. I was told I was nuts ordering fish at a BBQ place but, let me defend my choice. I love catfish with cajun spices and if it’s on your menu, it should be just as good as anything else you make. In the end, ordering it was a very poor choice. My side choices were the two specials – sauteed spinach and chicken velvet soup. The waitress was honest about the soup – cream of mushroom with chicken. It wasn’t bad but, it was definitely canned soup and it had an exorbitant amount of pepper added to it. The spinach was more like sauteed onions and peppers with two spinach leaves. I hate peppers so I didn’t touch it. The catfish was like disgusting. It was like chewing bubble gum except bubble gum has flavor. Despite the amount of seasoning it appeared to have it was flavorless as well. At first, I thought I got a bite of fat so I tried again…nope. I tried a few more bites but, it didn’t get any better. The catfish was rubbery…gummy rubbery. It was the worst catfish I have ever had…no joke. Like I said, I love catfish so it’s not like I’m new to the way it should be cooked or seasoned. There is no way anyone would be able to get past the gumminess of it. It was served over greens which looked like the mud that catfish eat. They forgot to bring my cornbread and I’m sorry I ever asked for it. It was supposed to be a honey cornbread and it was just really disappointing. I don’t even want to explain it because cornbread is one of my favorite things ever and this was just sad.

    Like derryX said, when the waitress came to collect our meal, it was like she was waiting for us to complain. She kept asking questions even after we both said we’d just like the bill. It was uncomfortable. I understand that every restaurant has a bad day. Somethings are excusable and deserve a second chance. After this, Dinosaur does not. The prices are ridiculously high for what they serve and the quality just isn’t there. I’ll stick to Pig Pit where the food is great, affordable and the owner is super friendly and accommodating.


    • Jeanette Dixon

      Nothing in the Dinosaur is from a can!!!!! There is not alot of sauce on the meat due to te fact we use sauce as a condiment we don’t drown the meat in sauce if that’s your prefrence have at it…..seems like you and your friend had an agenda…I don’t think the dino stood a chance


  • Bill

    Fair review. The photos help. The food definitely looks unimpressive, especially the salad (wtf?). But, I will still trek out to try it one of these days. If I can get in there sometime between 2-4pm, I think I might have a decent shot at getting a table during an unrushed period.


    • derryX

      If I may make a recommendation solely for you, Bill… Unless you’re dining with your family, I would opt to sit at the high tops near the bar. It’s first come first serve (so you might not even have to wait), and you can patronize the bar as much as you’d like. As I said on twitter, you’re gonna love the beer selection. Also, try their wings.

      I would go back for a beer and wings session, but that’s about it.


  • SiobhanK524

    This is the second bad experience (and third, counting Cassie’s review) I’ve heard about Dinosaur BBQ in the last week.

    I went to a panel discussion with the owner last May, and he talked at length about the time and care that he puts into the opening of each Dinosaur (I believe this is his fourth location).

    It’s a shame. I’ve been to the Syracuse location many times and it has outstanding food, service and ambiance (by which I mean lots of bikers and other colorful types). I’m hoping the Troy location works out the kinks in the kitchen, because I’d hate to have that location be just a pale, undercooked imitation of the greatness in Syracuse.


  • jaci

    The salad was a joke, I agree… but then again, the place isn’t known for salads so I let it slide. The dressing, was good.

    You must have gotten a bad brisket, because the Texas Brisket plate I was nearly melt in your mouth good! Pulled pork was decent, not amazing, not bad. I agree, the wings were also good.

    While the parking is also a complete joke, I’ll park under the GI bridge just for the brisket!


    • derryX

      I guess your point on the brisket speaks to consistency. If a place is consistent, opinions like yours and mine shouldn’t be so diametrically opposed.

      I wasnt expecting much from the salad either, which is why I didn’t lose sleep over it. I just wanted to include it in the review for completeness.

      Seriously, Jaci, if you haven’t already, try the brisket at Pig Pit. On the 5 occasions I’ve been there, it’s tasted the same and absolutely incredible!


  • Sue

    When I worked in Syracuse, we would have Dinosaur cater lunches all the time – I loved their food. A few of their sauces (including the Mango Tango) are available in local supermarkets. It bums me out that the Troy location doesn’t seem to be living up to the reputation of the other locations.


  • Tenacious Dino

    I applaud your honesty. From what I gather, the satellite restaurants don’t hold a candle to the original place in Syracuse. I’ve only tried a sampling of the pulled pork from the original location, and it was stellar. My NYC foodie-snob friends have mentioned the following tip numerous times: Unless you make the trip to Syracuse, don’t bother with Dinosaur BBQ.


  • Daniel B.

    As one of those foodies who likes Dino I’ll say this: The brisket and the pork are no good.

    The ribs are delicious, although I have to say ribs are generally not my favorite thing to get at BBQ joints. What sets these ribs apart from most places is that they aren’t overcooked. The meat is actually meaty and retains some chew, while pulling clean off the bone. I HATE HATE HATE when meat falls off the bone. That’s not meat, that’s mush.

    I also enjoyed their smoked sausage and their chicken, but didn’t eat enough of either to really have a strong opinion.

    I’m looking forward to going back and getting a three way combo of ribs, chicken and sausage. I think at this Dino location that is the most promising combo.

    Every place has the things they do well, and part of the trick of having a great experience is identifying what are the standouts and which are the also-rans. If you went to Capital Q (probably still my favorite BBQ joint in the region) and only got the ribs and some sides, likely you would leave disappointed and scratching your head.

    Yes, Dino’s pork and brisket *should* be better. But I do think the items I mentioned above make the place worthy of a return visit. Especially given it’s awesome location on the river. I am very much looking forward to spending some summer evening out on that deck.


    • derryX

      Your suggestions are appreciated. There is an appeal to the place. They have the patio like you mentioned, optimal for the spring/summer. Their beer selection is fairly extensive. Of course, there are about five places within a few blocks that I can think of that are better, but Patio + good beer = win.

      What gets me to go back to a place is the food. If they can’t get my order right (ok, maybe the kitchen had a bad night), and it’s not great to begin with (I trust your taste more than mine and you said the pork and brisket are no good), I won’t spend my money there.

      I keep echoing this, but the smoked/grilled wings with their hottest sauce are fantastic! If not for that, beer, and patio, I’d veto any invitation I get to dine there in the future.


  • GenWar

    Just wanted to say that I consider myself among the who’s who of “Detention with derryx” readers, but I won’t respond to this post because I recognize a troll when I see it. 🙂


  • -S

    @Bill: “The photos help.” Can you please elaborate? (honest question)

    Parking was a non-issue for me. I didn’t bother parking in front but I didn’t make a big deal out of it either, I went straight to the huge parking lots next to Revolution Hall / Ryan Wake. I don’t want to be too dismissive here, but it’s only a 2 minute walk, if that is an issue I would say do not even bother trying a restaurant in Albany’s Center Square and go to the drive in?

    I didn’t have the same experience with the food. As far as I’m concerned, common sense probably suggest that if enough people have had a different take on the same restaurant (the case here), then it’s worth giving it a honest shot, right?

    Don’t take it the wrong way, but I’ve noticed that you put a lot of emphasis on parking and service. I’m not saying it’s not part of the whole experience, but starting and ending a food review on that note, I’m not sure. First, parking is not always a parameter a restaurant has control of, especially in dense areas. Seating, sure. Parking, meh. Second, I think you are going to be sorely disappointed by the service if you start traveling. It’s not just a matter of being “nice”, there are some cultural parameters here at work, attentions that you get here and won’t get somewhere else. You are going to miss some great food experiences if you focus so much on service. Take my word for it, service here in the US is on average much “better” than in many countries I’ve been to. Granted, you are reviewing in the US, but what I’m getting at is that there is no universal constant for “high quality of service” in my book, and maybe there is something to learn from that.


    • BobF

      I think the main issue of service referred to was the mistake in multiple orders. Getting served something not ordered is bad service anywhere! If corrected with a smile, then no harm.

      I will agree in principle that judging a restaurant based on parking is lame, but I will say that on at least three occasions I chose to bypass Dino because the lot was full (both theirs and the public lots on the north side of the bridge. For me, a full lot suggests a long wait…and I don’t think any restaurant in this area is worth an hour wait (or longer) for a table (at least none I’ve been to).


      • derryX

        I want to know where I judged the restaurant based on parking.

        All I was trying to say was that if parking is an issue at 5pm when there are tables available, how does that bode for when the place is jam packed, and the patio and bar are overflowing?


        • BobF

          Let’s see…

          “I give Dinosaur BBQ in Troy a huge thumbs down. The parking situation is a joke. Their prices are higher than any respectable BBQ in the area. The quality of the food is embarrassing. And that’s assuming your food comes out the way you order it. The wings were a bright point, but could easily use some work.”

          First reason stated in your summary. But I agree with your reason…the full lot scared me away three times.


          • derryX

            ITS A SUMMARY!


          • BobF

            You know something? I am a first time reader here and your attitude and YELLING at me is over the top. I enjoyed your review, but your attitude sucks.


          • BobF

            Really? That’s it? A new reader comes to your site, makes a couple of mostly complimentary and supportive comments about your post (including your discussion of parking) that you misread and without so much as a question you scream at me…and somehow I’m the one at fault?

            Goodbye, indeed!


            • derryX

              Haha, I appreciated all of your comments. You confused my emphasis for screaming. I can assure you that I did not scream while I typed that.

              What else do you want me to do? If you have a negative experience, I’m not gonna beg you to come back and read. It’s a free country, you can do whatever you want.

              You’re not at fault at all. You’re sensitive to caps. I noted it and am moving on. If you want to come back, you’re more than welcome to. I’ll even approve your comments.


        • -S

          > I want to know where I judged the restaurant
          > based on parking.

          You said: “The parking situation is atrocious […] The parking situation is a joke.”. I mean, I understand you may have written that for effect, but a) it’s not that bad, come on, you are not in a wheelchair, and b) it gives me the feeling in this review (and others before) that you are not compartmentalizing this aspect of your experience for the detail that it honestly is. This is my sincere opinion I give you here, I’ve had the impression several times that you destroyed places for small points like that…


    • derryX

      I’m taking to your tone very liberally and open-mindedly, because one could easily interpret it as “negative.” But I still feel the need to defend my review because you’ve grossly missed the point on almost everything.

      I have travelled and, yes, the service is better anywhere here and what I experienced in other countries. I actually did not make any comment on the service other than the fact that the order came out wrong (which I even attributed to the kitchen). The other comment I made about the server was that she lingered waiting for us to complain. She was actually very nice and amicable, but that kind of went without saying.

      The way I was taught to write, good non-fiction writers summarize their thoughts at the end of their work. I was simply re-itterating the point that the parking wasn’t great. Bottom line is, nobody knows the policy on the parking lots by Ryan’s Wake. There are actually signs that say the spots are only for customers of ryans wake, “Tow away zone” or “Permit parking only,” and it’s that kind of ambiguity that causes people to become frustrated with parking. I also don’t care about the walk, yea it’s just two minutes. My point was that there’s not even decent street parking within 2 or 3 blocks of the place. And the overall point of what I was trying to say is that if parking is an issue at 5pm when there are tables available, how does that bode for when the place is jam packed, and the patio and bar are overflowing?

      I did give the place an honest shot. I spent over $50 of my money for a meal for myself and my girlfriend.

      I didn’t say all bad things…


      • Darth

        deRRyx – I for one appreciate your discussion about parking. Being that I am from out-of-town, it helps me know where I can and cannot park if I were to take the 100 mile drive up to the Albany area to eat at any of the restaurants you review. Which there are several now that I want to try.

        I’m not going to consider parking to be the key factor if I eat somewhere or not, but knowing that I might be driving around for 15 minutes looking for a parking spot helps prepare me if I made reservations or if i’m meeting someone at a certain time.

        As far as service – it matters and it does not. From my experience, if the food is bad AND the service is bad – you won’t go back. However if the food is excellent and the service is bad, you might go back.

        One of my favorite restaurants has the worst service ever. It is an hour and a half south of me in NJ, I only eat there on special ocassions. However I dread how long it takes to get a glass of water, let alone the check . . . praying that it is correct. Usually I make sure to surround myself with lots of friends or family there as to help me ignore the painfully slow and stupid staff that work there.

        Yet I still go there three or four times a year because the food is that damn good. By the sound of it though – the food is NOT that damn good at Dinosaur BBQ. My opinion from reading everyone’s comments is that it is “okay” but there are better places.


        • derryX

          The food absolutely sucked (except the wings). People need to get over it and stop defending it so much.

          JESUS CHRIST ALMIGHTY DOES NOT OWN DINOSAUR BBQ!!!!


          • -S

            I don’t see people defending it here, really, especially in all caps 🙂 Honestly, on a 1 to 10 scale, I was not expecting it to be outside the 4 to 6 range. It was alright. From your intro, and from that comment, it seems you are bothered by the fact it is getting so much buzz, so I hope that didn’t influence your review. I honestly didn’t care about the buzz, but picture a country where there is no BBQ food per se. That’s where I’m coming from 🙂 I’m still catching up.


            • derryX

              I didnt even give it a scale rating. haha

              I gave an honest assessment of the food as I experienced it along with the other observations that I make as a patron to an establishment.

              I didn’t really start taking offense until I saw that a few of you guys thought I was basing my negative review on the parking.

              The food was bad, bottom line. As much of my observations, which I admit extend beyond the sense of taste because thats what alot of my readers come here for, as were negative, I would not go back because the food was so bad.

              Somewhere in the comments (maybe even a couple of times), I echoed the fact that I did enjoy my wings, and that, if a gun were to my head, I’d go back for that and to sample some of the great beers they offer.

              You’re a good dude, -S. I didn’t mean for it to come across that I was attacking your comments, because you made valid arguments, but missed what I was really trying to say, but in general, people need to accept that Dinosaur BBQ might not be all that great, or, more importantly, that someone could possibly have a bad experience there.


          • -S

            > I didn’t mean for it to come across that
            > I was attacking your comments,

            Oh no problem, I didn’t take it like that at all.

            > but missed what I was really trying to say,

            Hey I didn’t claim I was saying something smart. Maybe you were confused because I actually didn’t comment on the bulk of the review itself, which addresses the food. It was on purpose, but that doesn’t mean I was dismissing it at all. I think the way *I* see it, which is in no way how *you* should write your blog, is that I would talk about the food straight away. I would then conclude, *then* have small subsections addressing what *I* find are either situational details (parking), or potential strikes of bad luck (say, a bad service by a bad waiter *that* day). Elements that I feel should not be part of *my* appreciation of the experience.

            My 2 cents is that starting with a very negative detail (here parking) might be tainting the rest of the review.

            > people need to accept that Dinosaur BBQ
            > might not be all that great, or, more
            > importantly, that someone could possibly
            > have a bad experience there.

            Ha, I’m not sure about that one. I think this was mostly a buzz going on among food bloggers, an hyperlocal bubble. Unless I missed something about the myth behind the one in Syracuse, I’m pretty sure everybody is OK accepting it’s not that great, because, honestly, it’s just what it is, we are not talking Dale Miller or Yono here.


            • derryX

              Yea, I don’t claim to be a foodie or any of that. I actually blog about much more than food, but it’s the food blogs that get linked by the major area outlets. I named the segment “derryX Dines” because I my goal is to recount my entire dining experience. I’m sure you’ve read my reviews before because you’ve commented on my (generally poor) photographs, but they generally begin arriving at the place and progress through the service of the meal and sometimes have some comments about post meal observations. This is what sets me apart from what I would consider a “foodie” blog.

              Given my 10+ years in the food industry, I am more than qualified to deconstruct every bite and critique the food, but my goal is really to give my overall impression of the experience. Like you alluded to, much of the minutia that I focus on is for effect, and the feedback that I get is that people like to read that stuff, which is another unique aspect of this blog that is not changing. But I maintain that parking is a major consideration for a dining experience. You and I know that we can park in the Ryans Wake lot, but, as Darth indicated, there’s no way he would know that.

              I get your point that starting with the negative on the parking could taint the review, but that’s not even how I started it. I actually started my review with my conclusion (which was negative), and that was actually my intent when I constructed the post. I wanted people to realize from the start that it wasn’t the run-of-the-mill story of praise that we’ve all seen 100 times for the place.

              I had lots of high hopes for Dino BBQ. For one, it’s less than 5 minutes from where I live. There was a ton of hype, and I even gave some time for the hype to dwindle before trying it. It was just that for what I paid, the food (aside from the wings) was barely passable, especially when right up the road, there’s Pig Pit who will give you a meal cooked with passion for BBQ, treat you like family, and charge a fraction of what Dino charges.

              I appreciate all of your points, and thank you and everyone else who read and commented


    • Cassie

      @S – I’m pretty sure he did elaborate. To quote his comment “The photos help. The food definitely looks unimpressive, especially the salad (wtf?).” While they are, of course, not to the quality yours would be, they help illustrate the review.

      As for the service, this restaurant and others that he reviewed are in the US. Therefore the quality of service is compared to those that are in the freakin’ US. Traveling has nothing to do with the review nor does it deserve a place in the review. I spent months in Italy. Should I compare the restaurants here to those in Italy when giving someone in the US my opinion. Um, no.


      • derryX

        People won’t be happy with any review of Dinosaur BBQ in Troy unless it says, “Dinosaur BBQ in Troy is the greatest thing on the planet.” Even the honest reviews…


      • -S

        He didn’t really elaborate. I know I have to tread lightly because I do happen to take photographs as a hobby (maybe I should comment under a different name on food blogs), but don’t take what I say as a negative critic, I know only *marginally* better 🙂 I very rarely take pictures of food, because it’s *really difficult*. Jerry knows I’ve posted comment previously on how to technically improve the quality of this shots.

        With that being said, my question was not dishonest because I truly wanted to know if Bill thought the photos were a true representation of what was on the table. Or to what extent. I know it isn’t. Take your laptop and open this post next time you go to Dino BBQ (if ever), and I can confidently say the color of the food is not the same (see coleslaw). Did it matter to Bill or not, that’s all I wanted to know. Or was it just about the quantity displayed? I’m not talking about shooting food in an artistic way here, but I was just surprised to see 2 posters making judgments based on photos that, while they help, are not quite what the food looks like (and E knows how to take food photos).

        I’m not trying to catch you off guard here, it’s a true question. Maybe it didn’t matter to Bill, that’s *all good*, and in that case it’s just me, as a photographer, who can’t help seeing the issue (unfortunate for me, right?).

        Anyway, maybe you guys (food bloggers) can sit down one day and I can try to show you a simple way to fix that, because honestly it’s very easy, and the issue is in the vast majority of the local food blogs I see. Doesn’t require a new camera. It’s really a case of, once you see the photo with the white-balance fixed, you say “ohhhhhh right, of course it should look like that”. Everybody wins.

        As far as the service is concerned, that wasn’t my point. My point is that, all things being equal, my experience with service around the world is telling me that it’s not a parameter I should emphasize. Honestly it doesn’t hurt to put things in a wider perspective, really. Could also be the case of random bad luck with a bad waiter. Finally, give your boyfriend some credit, isn’t he read internationally?


        • derryX

          S has valid points on my photographs, and I agree that I have much to learn in that realm.

          I maintain that my “derryX Dines” posts are not only about the food but also encompass the dining experience. That being said, I didn’t have a bad thing to say about the server. I was indifferent to the fact that she lingered at the end of the meal.


    • Bill

      Photos of the actual food received. Obviously you only get so much info about food from the picture, but the photo of the salad is downright laughable. You can get an idea of the texture in the other photos. The food looks good, and I’ll bet it tastes good (per some trusted foodies I know), but overall just looking at the photos, it doesn’t look all that hype-worthy. And yeah, I know… “What is hype-worthy?” I’m not expecting 5-star plating but the food does look quite pedestrian given all the raves. That said, I always judge food by taste, and so I will definitely be going there (again, this time off-hour, so I can actually get a table and order food) to give Dino a try. I love their rubs and sauces (I use them at home) but have never eaten at one.


  • BobF

    I’ve tried take out from Dino a couple of times since they opened. I like their mac and cheese and could make a meal on that. Pulled pork sandwich is marginally ok, but I prefer Pig Pit. The real killer for me though was cost. I spent $11 on a pork sandwich and two sides for lunch…way way overpriced!!

    Parking is tough and the lots by Ryan’s Wake are usually filled on weekend nights so you can’t count on that. I’m pretty sure the parking garage, which is close unless it’s freezing and windy, is actually free all the time. I could be wrong.


    • derryX

      I honestly made no complaints about the price because I went on my own accord, but, for the record, they are high for the quality I experienced.


  • Darth

    There should be no need for the writer to defend his review. This is his blog, and the opinions expressed in it are his and his alone. His readers will either respect his reviews based upon what he writes, or not respect them and probably have their comments deleted or responded to accordingly.

    I do have to say – this has to be the most ridiculous food review i’ve ever read. Not the review itself, but the aftermath of it.

    Despite the bad reviews, it almost makes me want to try the place just to see how much it truly sthucks.


  • Roz

    I cannot believe all the fuss over this one review. It’s as if you insulted the owner’s family.

    I was totally unaware of the Ryan’s Wake parking. I am unfamiliar with Troy and did not know that it’s OK to park there. When I see signs that threaten towing, I park elsewhere. It sure as hell is a good rule of thumb in Albany!

    At no time did you say that the server was rude. But if I am treated rudely by a server, it’s going to color my experience. Is rudeness something in which other countries take pride? I fail to see that as a selling point. It’s a good way for a server to get stiffed on a tip, though.

    As far as your food photos, regular readers know your limitations. If you want great pics, bring Chuck Miller along! 😀

    And of course you’re joking about Jesus Christ owning Dinosaur BBQ. If He did, all of the orders would be accurate, the portions would be much larger and more tasty, the prices much lower, and bread and fish would be unlimited and free.


    • -S

      > I cannot believe all the fuss over this one review.

      I don’t see much fuss, really, maybe I missed another post.

      > Is rudeness something in which other countries take pride?

      Rudeness is not an international constant (neither is tipping by the way). What appears rude to you will not always appear rude to somebody from another country. Not going to point at the many “extreme” examples in Asian cultures, but “closer” to you and me, it is considered rude to ask for your leftovers to be wrapped in France. You will also get “less attention” during your meal in Frenchland, and there is less baby-sitting (I can fill my own glass of water, do you consider it rude waiters won’t fill yours?).


  • M

    Odd … when I went there, we had to wait a bit for a table but there were still parking spots left. As for the food, our brisket was heavenly, tender and smoky and delicious, and the ribs were really good, too. Maybe you hit them at an off time/on an off night?


  • B

    I followed this a little yesterday and now that things have settled a bit, a few things to note:

    Of course you’re free to feel however you want about your experience and your tastes. It’s a big world, it would be boring if we all had the same opinions. I think there were a couple on-point comments though about this being contrarian for contrary’s sake. It sounds like you heard the hype and either went in with high expectations because of it, or simply wanted to show the hype wrong. Your later comments here and on Twitter about Jesus running the place and assuming commenters defending it have a stake bear that out. We get it, you don’t like it, but it really sounds to this outsider that you knew what you were going to say before you even stepped in the door.

    I’m looking at the online menu and it doesn’t seem expensive. Someone above said they spent $11 on a pulled pork sandwich, I don’t know, it’s listed as $7 alone or $10 for the platter. That’s extremely reasonable, try getting out the door with a lunch like that anywhere in downtown Albany for any less — I end up spending $8 with tip on a reuben from Cook’s Deli even. The plates are dinners, they run $15-$25, I really don’t see how that is overly expensive especially considering how much meat is served. Your pork & brisket plate is $16, judging from your photo that is very reasonable. I realize Pig Pit is a little cheaper, and man I loved it in the old location, haven’t been to the new one, but I don’t think this is so much less of a value based on what you present. I think the fact that you didn’t provide prices anywhere in the review is a bit telling.

    “She actually lingered around waiting for us to complain.” Really? You know this? Come on, now.

    I think where this really gets ridiculous is the repeated complaints about parking. This is a (busy) restaurant in a city. The fact that it has parking at all is a bonus. Do you realize how many quality restaurants in Albany and Troy have no parking? You either find a spot on the street somewhere or, at a few, pay the valet. Sorry, I just can’t imagine someone feeling so entitled that they drive to a city and complain about parking in a restaurant review. There are plenty of places to eat in the suburbs that have huge parking lots, that might be more your style.

    I know Bob, and he’s one of the most patient people I know, which is saying a lot because I’m one of the most patient people most who know me know. It takes an amazingly high level of not getting the point to exasperate him. And yes, this here is the Internet, “WHEN YOU USE ALL CAPS IT’S CALLED SHOUTING, regardless of what you personally believe.

    Comments are good, comments are healthy, this was an enjoyable comment thread to read. Congratulations on stirring a healthy debate, that’s what blogs should be all about in my opinion. However, I think the approach of talking behind people’s backs, so to speak, on Twitter (as -S linked to) is not very classy. That and some of your comments here have helped me form a personal opinion of you, and it’s not a great one. That’s too bad, because usually people’s online personalities don’t truly reflect their real world ones, and I’m sure that if we had instead met over a beer or two that first impression would be different. Oh well.


    • B

      Ugh, I think I screwed up that link, darn InterTubes, that should point here


    • derryX

      Ohh as soon as anything negative was said about -S, I was sure to smash it on twitter; I’ve never met him, but I have a good amount of respect for him, especially since his first comments on my earlier posts were encouraging and offered me some great photography tips.

      Things got riled up, and we all glanced passed what we were all trying to say. I still defend my stance that I didn’t harp on the parking, the second statement about it was at the very end of the review and was summarizing everything. Another point that people missed is that I was originally trying to point out that geographically, there really arent many street parks available in that particular region of Troy. The closest I can think of is River Street and Fulton Street, and the garage, which I also pointed out.

      And yea, we know the waitress was lingering because when she asked if we were finished and we said, “yes” she asked, “are you sure?” then we responded, “yes” and she asked “don’t you want to take it home?” and we said “no” then she asked if it was ok, and we said “yes” to just end the experience and then she just stood there. It wasnt until Cassie told her she was full that she actually walked away. How boring would this have been to read the first time? All this about the waitress lingering was just an observation. It didn’t add or detract anything from the dining experience, as far as what I was saying about it.

      I didnt provide prices in the review because for me it wasnt a point I was trying to make, just an observation. I’ll go anywhere and spend anything, and it’s my choice to do that. My sentiment that the prices were high were after the fact in the comments, once other people mentioned it.

      I don’t go to places just for the sake of defeating hype. I wouldn’t waste my money to do that. If I dont think I’m going to like something, I’m not going to commit to spending over $50 to eat there (this blog is unsponsored). This was a case where I like the style of food (and it works well for my way of eating), I went in, and didn’t like the establishment. Anybody who regularly reads this blog knows that I’ll tell it like I see it.

      The shouting thing is barely worth the time it takes to type this, but c’mon guys, we’re not in 5th grade.

      Like I said earlier, it’s a free country and I really can’t control what you do or how you feel. Back to the original point, nobody should have been taking any of this personally, including myself and the people unwilling to understand that a bad experience could be had at Dinosaur BBQ. Things got out of control, and we were just missing each others’ points.

      This blog is usually much more light-hearted than what’s contained in this post and comments, as I believe in having fun above all, so I hope you would consider that before making any character judgments.


      • B

        First, I apologize for attributing a Tweet by Roz to you in my message above, about Bob having a stake in Dino BBQ.

        Jerry, you don’t seem to really pay attention to what people are saying, or maybe you are responding too quickly, or maybe you’re just easily misinterpreted, I don’t know. I was not commenting on the fact that the waitress was lingering, but that you blatantly stated she was waiting for you to complain. Not “she seemed to be waiting for us to complain”, you made a statement of fact that, based on what you presented, there’s no way for you to know. You can write a restaurant review however you like, but when you write opinion and leave comments open, you have to expect people to challenge you sometimes, and be ready for that challenge. So far it seems that yes, a good amount of the time you do that, but other times you obfuscate or use non-sequitirs.

        As for your intentions, three people came to a similar conclusion and commented on it. I find it hard to believe that’s a coincidence.

        No, this isn’t fifth grade, which means that there are standards of behavior and you can’t make something true just by repeating it. It’s completely reasonable for someone to get ticked when you reply in all caps, because here on the Internet, that’s like shouting. This is a verifiable fact. What’s not reasonable is to be surprised when that’s the reaction.

        You spent almost two full paragraphs at the start on the parking, not to mention in your summary. You mentioned earlier what you learned about writing nonfiction; how about that the way you begin a piece sets the tone? Anyway, yes you’re right there isn’t a lot of on-street parking in that area either, but that’s beside the point; it’s reasonable to expect to walk a couple blocks to eat at a popular restaurant in a city.

        You got a lot of people reading this because it was linked to from All Over Albany’s “Neighborhood” post. A lot of those were probably first-time readers, too, I’m sure you realize this by looking at your stats. With that exposure you’re going to have more commenters of all stripes. How you respond to that will make a huge impact on how future comments go here. Just keep that in mind.


        • derryX

          Apology accepted. I don’t know you but you seem like a good person, I just wanted to make sure that it’s clear that I had nothing bad to say about -S.

          I appreciate what you’re saying, and understand that people given the opportunity will challenge what you say when you write something for the internet. We’re gonna have to agree to disagree on the caps-always-implying-screaming. I’ve personally never actually yelled at anyone in my life.

          I think it’s safe to say that as a first time read, people just weren’t ready for my my review of Dinosaur. After publishing the review, I was ready for people to defend the food in the comments, but never prepared myself for the fact that people were going to focus on my description of the parking issue or the waitress issue, which ok, point granted, I worded as a statement of fact instead of wording it as a reasonable possibility. I’ve been linked by AOA many times in the past, and it’s never caused this type of reaction. Much of it has to do with how I wrote the post, which given the negative start (“Never again!”), led to the “trolling” acusations. Much of it had to do with how people took to my description of details outside of the sense of taste. and, blame accepted, much had to do with my reaction to people’s comments. I’ve since learned my lesson and have a disclaimer ready for the top of each post in the future.

          And your statement “it’s reasonable to expect to walk a couple blocks to eat at a popular restaurant in a city” – that was my point. [exclamation point omitted] That’s what I was getting people ready for. If the lot was full at 5pm when tables are available, there’s no way you can expect to find a park in it when the place is busy. My summary didn’t help this point and came across as more complainatory, but I think all of these comments imploring me to clarify help make this distinction.

          Thanks for reading.


      • -S

        I have met BobF as well on many occasions (fun fact, you may have as well), great local photographer, smart guy, and very very nice fellow. He is the kind of person I actually can’t imagine angry or disingenuous. I don’t think he will be back, but yes, the point is that you will get newcomers like him, most of them from referrals, not because of an imaginary cabal pro-Dino BBQ *in my opinion*. There are good reasons to be angry at the world right now, but I wouldn’t put food reviews quite there; all caps is indeed shouting online, and calling it “5th grade” was a bit unfortunate since at the same time you guys were trashing him on Twitter… like 5th graders. Your Tweets are displayed to the right of this page, you know, it’s the old joke: “Huh… Hello? I’m right there! I can hear you” 🙂

        OK all that has made me hungry for BBQ… yum.


        • derryX

          -S: you do realize you’re not getting the last word on my blog, right?

          Hey I said we’re not in 5th grade, not that I don’t act like a 5th grader.

          😛

          Like I said, Bob’s welcome back any time, and I’ll even approve his comments. I have little more to say other than things got out of control and taken personally, on my part and others.

          The world just wasn’t ready for derryX to eat at Dinosaur BBQ.


        • derryX

          Have I really met BobF? Please email me if so. (link at the top right of the page)


  • Terri

    I have not been to the Troy location yet. I have mixed feelings about Dinosaur coming to the area. We always considered it to be a treat because it wasn’t close. We have food from the one in Syracuse approximately 6 times a year, either when visiting my parents or when my husband brings it home while he has business in that area. We also use their cookbook often. I have to say it is the best B-B-Q we have had, anywhere. I am sorry that your experience was not good. BTW, the Troy location is not a franchise.


  • EZ

    You think the parking there was bad, you should visit rochester. They have 6 parking spots, usually filled up with motorcycles.
    Additionally, it’s called Wango Tango sauce, you may want to make the edit.
    Never Again! seems kind of harsh. You should at least try in the summer and consider some of their recommended dishes. (ie: green tomatoes, ribs…) I always try to give a place two tries before dismissing.
    $50.00 for two with an appetizer and probably a drink each seems reasonable. All of their beers on tap are only $5.00 and they have exclusive beers that you can’t really find anywhere else in this region (ie: bluepoint). Plus you can get a flat, where you get 4 – 4oz beers. I did this and paired each tasting to compliment my meal. I beleive cornbread is supposed to be rather bland, and we up north have basterdized it to be the sweet mess that is usually served.
    I actually enjoyed your honest review, and thought of Willow Soprano while you were rehashing your parking attempts. Just thought I’d add my cent and a half.


  • Lilly W

    jsut to give more information, as I work in the building next door to Dino BBQ, and park in the lot, it is permit parking Monday through Friday until around 4pm. Then it is open and free for anyone (all of us stateworker and downtoawn Troy architects leave and go home). We pay for the parking M-F until around 4, then anyone is free to park there. THat doen’st help if you want lunch, I know… but dinner, there is more than enough room in the garage if you feel like walking just a little ways.

    I haven’t sat in yet, just ordered take out. It is definately going to be one of those “only on special occasions” type of places, as it is expensive. But the ribs are my favorite.


    • derryX

      Thank you for your input. As I indicated, I did not know, so that really clarifies it for me, and makes my life easier if I ever decide to go back, since the garage is much more accessible than Dino’s lot.

      There are menu items that are reasonably priced, i.e. sandwiches, etc, but make sure with takeout that you ask for BBQ sauce (if you want some) before you order, otherwise they’ll try to push for you to buy it at the takeout counter.


  • Dom

    I wish I Googled for reviews BEFORE I decided to try this place. I’ve read your review and skimmed most of the comments, and I agree with all of your sentiments. People can nit pick your review and argue that “parking and service” aren’t part of the food… however it’s part of the whole experience.

    I was there yesterday 2/26/11 and because of all the snow it seemed people put their cars into park where they stopped, regardless of whether it was a parking row or not. Wasn’t TOO much of an issue, I stuck it in 4×4 and made my own spot, threading my way between a couple oddly arranged vehicles, however a business needs to pay attention to all the details, even if it means getting someone to cleanup the lot.

    We didn’t have to wait, and that was nice, and the service was friendly enough. The beer list, is quite large and it definitely would be a nice beer and wing place (especially since they offer “beer flights” which from my understanding are beer samplers). We didn’t try any appetizers and went straight to the entree menu.

    According to the menu, we ordered something called the “Big Ass Pork Plate”… an entree that boasted being “piled high” with pulled pork. Since my wife and I both like pulled pork, we figured we’d share and order something else later if we were still hungry.

    I’ve never seen more loaded langauge or false advertising in my life. A big ass plate was an average plate, and a piled high serving was 2 small ice cream scoops of dry pulled pork. What??? Really? We shared, nonetheless, and had Fries and Slaw on the side. You’re right, the slaw was “grainy” though probably from the fresh spices/seasoning. There were maybe a handful of fries on the side, not enough to qualify as a full decent side dish. Glad we didn’t get the chopped salad.

    The pulled pork was cold, and only edible with more BBQ sauce poured over it. When I asked if pulled pork is supposed to be cold, I didn’t get much consolation, though my wife got a piece of cheesecake. Still, the Big Ass Pork Plate is an appetizer at best, certainly could be renamed if left on the entree list.

    I’ve heard a lot of hype regarding DinoBBQ, and I guess the “mainstream” crowd wants to like this place, despite glaring negatives. I know quite a few people who simply love the place blindly and recommend it as if it were the only BBQ place in town. I guess it just seems like DinoBBQ is “the” place to go if you’re cool, but bottom line, the food is overpriced and unimpressive. Hoping I can find a decent BBQ place in the Capital Region, maybe something a little less known and more humble. 😛



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