NYC Food Review: Dinosaur BBQ

BBQ, like most great art forms, is highly subjective.  Dry Rubs vs Viscous Sauces. Pork shoulder vs Beef Brisket. Ribs vs well, nothing. Dinosaur BBQ does nothing to quell these debates, it excels in everything. And, oh, what a burden it is to have to argue the deliciousness of moan-inducing dish after moan-inducing dish.  There’s a certain holier-than-thou attitude amongst BBQ enthusiasts and Southern natives that no palatable BBQ exists above the Mason-Dixon line. Poppycock! Dinosaur BBQ, originally of Syracuse, NY and now proudly franchised at 125th St & 12th Ave., stands as evidence that America, great melting pot, can give yankees a bit of dixie love.

The restaurant is large by strip-mall standards, cavernous compared to typical NYC hot spots. The roominess of a chain restaurant, complete with waiting times. Make reservations for dinner service. You’ll still wait 15 min. or so, instead of the typical hour-long delay. And sitting in the Walden-esque waiting area, surrounded by hardwood floors and furniture, with the olfactory melange of aromatic smoking woods and crackling mammal fats curling up your nose like a Tex Avery cartoon, it can be a very long hour, indeed.

The temptation is to go buck-nutty and over-order appetizers because a.) you’re probably starving and b.) the food looks and smells amazing. Resist this. The entrees and sides are well worth the wait, and portion size is barely an issue. I went small with a quarter-pound shrimp cocktail that piqued my protein craving while settling the hunger pangs. Chilled, plump and too-generously seasoned with Old Bay and BBQ spices the cocktail comes with a habanero BBQ sauce for dipping.  It’s a bit much on bold flavor, but a good smack never hurt the taste buds. And the spicy heat opens up the sinuses and facilitates full-on flavor comprehension for the subsequent entree.

Dinosaur BBQ is ideal for splitting items with friends or lovers or enemies. I ordered the “Sweetheart Deal”: a full-rack of ribs and four sides for two. I also recommend buying a bucket of beer. Pork Slap Pale Ale, to be specific. $22 for six beers is far from highway robbery, and the convenience of having drinks on hand is worthwhile as your server will be busy and check-ins are infrequent. The service isn’t outstanding, but when you see the volume and activity of the whole place you understand why the servers can’t hover over you and refill your Coke every two minutes.

The sides ranged from epic to underwhelming. Salt potatoes, which are baked/steamed small potatoes in butter and (you guessed it) salt were adequate, but portion size was lacking. The baked beans were a bit thin to my taste, but flavorful with plenty of smoky, porky notes and the squishy sweet texture you anticipate.

Coleslaw was fantastic. Creamy without being heavy, and coarsely shredded so the bites had actual texture, the coleslaw is a far cry from the typical styrofoam cup filled with mutilated cabbage and watery mayo found at too many delis and diners.

The mac and cheese cannot be captured with words. It must be experienced. Cheesy, spicy, gooey and rich, it is strong enough to stand alone, but when paired with the ribs … my goodness. We ordered extra because it was devoured almost instantly, and had the power to distract us from the ribs.

The ribs were, as expected, phenomenal. A carousel of sauces is available on the table for your slathering pleasure, and after a bit of each I went with the Wango Tango Habanero BBQ sauce.  Had the heat, had the sweet and gave me a good, slow burn that cut through some of the fatty mouthfeel on the ribs. I gnawed each one down to a clean white bone, suitable for God to shape into Eve.  Best ribs in town. Period.


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We Review Everything: Part 2 of ∞ “Dugouts”

Dugout. One-Hitter. Fakie. Whatever you call it, this clever device is basically a flask for potheads. A dual-chambered wooden box, one side for grass, one side holds the pipe (or “bat”), and the whole thing holds the key to unsober living on the green streets of NYC. Or AnyC, for that matter. It looks like a cigarette and, unless you happen upon Serpico, most cops won’t notice at a glance what the dilly-o is. Great for smoking at all those places you probably shouldn’t be smoking: cars, kid’s birthday parties, wakes.

It is also an altruistic achievement. An exhaustive twenty-minutes of Google researching and two separate trips to Wikipedia reveal that no one man, woman or child is credited with the invention of this marvel. No one holds a patent. There is mild mythology about it being invented in India, but I prefer to imagine a UC Berkley student ‘shrooming balls in woodshop circa 1978. We’ll call him Doug. And we thank him.

Dugouts: A nearly Narc-proof, clandestine tokin’ aid brought to you by some Doug, some where.  We approve.

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We Review Everything: Part 1 of ∞ “Bananas”

(There are items in our world they do not fit into the standard genres for review.  So, inspired by this guy’s blog, we present the first entry in our ongoing series where we submit 100(ish) word reviews of, well, everything.)

Today: Bananas

Bananas are among the best of fruits. Cheap, sweet, reliable in taste and texture (ever had a mushy apple? a stiff pear?). The banana’s ripeness is the easiest to ascertain of all the major fruits.  No poking, pinching or sniffing required. Green then yellow then brown. Simple. And, according to Anthony Hopkins in “The Edge” you can shine your shoes with the peel. Since this movie will convince you that all you need to kill a man-eating grizzly is a pointed stick and Alec Baldwin, the shoe tip rings true.

We have some beefs with the banana. First, it looks like a schlong. Sort of a crooked, Gonzo schlong, but it’s phallic nature makes it a mortifying lunchroom choice throughout most of puberty. Second, banana trees are the preferred real estate for many species of tarantulas.  Third, the peel has ruined many a ride on Rainbow Road and thwarted Elmer Fudd numerous times. 

Bananas: The delicious (occasionally viscious) shoe-shining home of the spider king.

We approve.

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NYC Food Review: Lomzynianka

Polish food never has been hip. Maybe it’s all the screen-door-on-a-submarine jokes, but Polish food never seems to get its due. And that’s fine. I don’t want Polish food to go the way of the cupcake, once a stick-to-your-ribs staple of Moms and grocery store bakeries and now the glitterati darling ensconced in red velvet varietals. Charging $6 for a cupcake the size of a softball feels dishonest. Polish food is nothing if not honest, and Lomzynianka honestly gave me a food boner.

Located on Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint, LMZ is the restaurant your Polish grandmother would run. Ten bingo hall tables, well-worn banquet chairs and all the chotchky you’d expect in a matriarchal parlor. Peer into the back and see three Polish women, resplendent in their cafeteria whites, toiling over steaming pots.

One server on duty, and since it’s a BYOB, that’s all that’s needed. Pick up a six pack or a tall can of Polish beer from any bodega in the area. The server answers questions, runs food efficiently and generally won’t fuck up.

I started with borscht and potato pancakes, then a $9 polish sampler of pierogies, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage and mashed potatoes. The pancakes were huge (all LMZ’s portions are) and had the consistency of a funnel cake. Crispy, brown crust yielding to a creamy, if a little too flour-y not so potato-y, interior. Slathered with sour cream, they went fast.

Borscht was a revelation. My palate never tasted a concentrated flavor so perfect. Never thought it’d be beets! Like a religious awakening, this soup! For $3.50. Hallehluja!

The stuffed cabbage was one the finest dishes I’ve ever eaten …

In any restaurant …

Ever …

Most cooked cabbage is a real fibrous bastard to masticate into submission. LMZ’s cabbage melted in my mouth like pussy for Elvis. The stuffing, beef and rice, provided the real teeth of the dish. Served without sauce, a hit of salt, pepper and paprika (on the table) was all it needed, or will ever need.

The kielbasa was meh. The crispy-skinned, greasy, smoky sausage (not much better than a store-bought Hilshire Farms link) didn’t disappoint, but didn’t thrill me. Nor did the potatoes, made without milk or butter. They serve a dry, utilitarian function of absorbing the liquids on the plate.

Bigos,a  basic sauerkraut stew cooked with beef, gave me my idea of authentic polish taste. Again, LMZ’s mastery of tender cabbage was on display. A hunk of beef provided ideal texture contrast, and the leftover puddle of stew juice jazzed up those dour potatoes.

Finally, the pierogi. I frequent Mrs.T in the freezer section. Potato and cheese pierogi were the only pierogi I thought existed until LMZ. They have traditional, but also mushroom and sauerkraut along with a “farmer’s cheese,” a mild dessert cheese that double-headers during the blintz you will have for dessert. All three pierogi were spectacular, and one could make a hearty winter meal out of pierogies and borscht. And spend less than $10. Unheard of at even McDonald’s, let alone a high-caliber BYOB in Brooklyn. Put that in your submarine and sink it! ~mO

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Thanks for Calling!

I work at a physical therapy clinic in the Bronx. It is as glamorous as it sounds. So, when I had to write a new phone script for my co-workers to use when we call potential referring doctors I wrote from the heart and this is what I came up with …

Hello! My name is **** and I’m calling you from W********** S***** Physical Therapy. Are you familiar with our facility? No. Big fucking surprise. We’re in the ass-end of the Bronx and it’s a pain in the ass to get here if you don’t drive. But don’t worry, an ill-tempered Puerto Rican female from our front desk team will be happy to be curt to you over the phone if you get lost or are running late.


What services do we offer? A whole shitload, that’s what. Don’t be a fag. Send your patients to us. We accept every insurance plan that pays well, and will try to figure out a way to convince them to spend cash on co-insurance fees and out of net work benefits if  they’re not covered.


Our therapists are fuckin’ sweet. We have lots of races and ethnicities working here so even your most racist patients can feel superior! They will enjoy the breathtaking views of the underdeveloped Bronx industrial area, as well as a five minute hassle from the security guard who’s in the lobby to protect us from the homeless drug addicts who want to take two trains and a shuttle bus to use our semi- public restrooms.


Have fat-ass patients who need to work out but don’t qualify for PT? Consider our overpriced gym! We have classes every night of the week until the schedule changes the next week. We also have treadmills and a small, crowded pool. We also have a shop that offers Snapple and rubber bands that stretch your legs and will probably slip off your feet and hit you in your fat sweaty face, you fucking loser.

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What is a Receptionist Savant?

To be blunt, a Receptionist Savant is an overeducated underachiever. This is not to say we’re lazy, or losers, or deficient in some area defined by our willpower or our parents’ genetic juices. Far from it. A Receptionist Savant is a product of his or her times. A person who’s education looks great on paper, as long as that paper’s not money.  Maybe she’s a barista with an MFA.  Maybe he’s a degree-holding delivery guy. Maybe  a working-class wage earner making the most of the lifestyle his higher learning diploma affords him. We’re smart people working dumb jobs. It keeps us honest.

We love a good a hole-in-the-wall that has better grub than the fancy joint around the corner, albeit poorer flatware. We’ll get a head start on our night out from a Four Loko in a brown paper bag while we ride the subway, but we’ll order our whiskey neat or our martini dry (and Pucker-free) when we get there.  We’re not easily caught up in trends, because we try to keep it classy and class never goes out of style. We know that we’re all stuck in the gutter, some of us gazing at the stars. And we know Oscar Wilde more or less said that.

This blog is my effort to detail what keeps me sane and happy as a Receptionist Savant in the hopes they make you happier too. Despite the fact that I make less than the average janitor and went to school longer than the average pilot I’m a pretty happy guy.

Weed helps.


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Welcome to Receptionist Savant!

It immediately occurs to me this post is futile. It is buried under many other posts.  Just a pile of crap on top of it, and seemingly no way out from under. It is a Chilean Miner, without the inspirational survival and extramarital affairs …

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