A Downside to Dinosaur BBQ? Say it Ain’t So!September 7, 2011
Our local Dinosaur BBQ suffered some minor flooding from Hurricane Irene. As we sat next to the window last Sunday, one week after the storm, we looked down at the Hudson River in amazement at how high the water had to rise in order to affect the restaurant. It took them 5 days to re-open, a mere scrape compared to the deep gashes that so many other places endured during that tempest. As you’ve read before, the MHK is a big fan of Dinosaur BBQ, and we were glad that they opened their doors so quickly after the hurricane.
But on this visit, we discovered a few flaws that we felt necessary to point out, perhaps to temper our previous enthrallment with the franchise. The flaws all revolve around their new kids’ menu (they never had one before) – it has fairly kid-friendly items like chicken fingers, BBQ chicken, and sliders. But it also offers their mac n’ cheese and BBQ fried rice as entrees. For those of you who have not had their mac n’ cheese, it’s not really geared toward kids, especially younger ones. We have raved about how great it is, particularly because it’s infused with smoky BBQ flavor and has a peppery kick to it; great for older kids and adults, but not so palatable for the youngsters, as evidenced by the 7-year-old and 4-year-old boys who expressed their displeasure with it. The fried rice is an odd dish; it’s similar to what you’d find in Asian restaurants with the addition of small pieces of pulled pork, brisket, and chicken. Again, not the most kid-friendly of kids’ menu options. But here is the hardest part to understand – each kid’s meal comes with two sides, but the sides are the exact same items offered on the full menu: potato salad, collard and mustard greens, whipped sweet potatoes, coleslaw, beans, salad, and fries. Apart from the fries, I’d wager that most kids under age 8 would not find most, if not all, of those dishes appealing. And here’s the kicker – the mac n’ cheese and the fried rice are also offered as sides. So theoretically, you could get a kid’s mac n’ cheese meal with two sides of mac n’ cheese. Weird.
Another oddity was with regard to ordering the sides (but this may have just been server error and not Dinosaur policy). One of the kids in our group ordered the mac n’ cheese, but did not want any of the sides (as I predicted, thank you). Our server told us she had to put something on the plate – we really couldn’t follow what she was saying, something about how they lose money if they don’t put sides on there, so we had to order something. It made no sense at all, he didn’t eat the sides he ordered, nobody wanted to take them home, so it ended up being a waste of food, and we still don’t understand why it was necessary. Again, this may have been just our server’s error; let’s hope so.
On our previous visits, before the kids’ menu existed, our little MHK staffer would get two grilled cheese sliders; these were done by special request, and worked out great. We requested them on this visit as well, but this time we were told that they could only put one slider on the plate, plus two sides. After the confusing explanation of the whole issue with the sides, we didn’t bother fighting it. Our server did say that if we wanted an additional slider, she could add it on later. We did, and she did, for an extra $1.50. So here’s the problem with this – for $5.95, they’d pile on a good half-pound of mac n’ cheese plus two sides, but they couldn’t put two tiny grilled cheese sliders on the plate instead for the same price? Make sense, this did not.
We know (and would expect) that a place like Dinosaur BBQ would serve large portions, but the size of the kids’ meals far exceeded our expectations. The amount of mac n’ cheese was more than enough for an adult, let alone a small child, and when you add two sides, it’s far more food than what’s appropriate for a kids’ meal. But the silver lining is that for only $5.95, you get two meals out of it.
Perhaps because the kids’ menu is so new, they need to work out the kinks. We’ll go back and find out, but until then, proceed with caution. Enjoy.