Second Helpings – The Dover Grill and Lil Burgers

Milky and I went back to The Dover Grill last weekend, and if anything they’ve improved. They have more hotdog combos, more sides, and more entrees. They seem to be doing very well- we had to sit outside! This time I had a Reuben dog- sauerkraut, swiss, thousand island dressing- and it was excellent. The American with chili- bacon, coleslaw and jalapenos- is still my favorite, the Jersey version of Crif Dog’s Spicy Redneck.

They also have fried mac’ ‘n cheese triangles, which are very tasty. Johnny had a Volcano- like the American without cole slaw- and fries with homemade tangy onions, his mainstay. The Dover Grill is worth a second trip, though sadly it is out of the way if you don’t live near Route 46. The onramp for I-80 just west of the grill is closed, so it makes for at least a 10 mile detour if you’re traveling on the interstate.

They also make little burgers, cheese steaks, and regular burgers- none of which I’ve tried. The hotdogs are too good! Besides, I have Lil Burgers for sliders. While I’ll always love Rutt’s and Hiram’s, the Dover Grill remains my favorite Jersey hot dog place.
Speaking of Lil Burgers, we’ve been there several times since my original review. Their burgers are still excellent. They now offer bacon, after my urging. A bacon cheese Lil Burger with ketchup and pickle is pretty awesome. They also have Lil Chicks, tasty chicken tender sandwiches on their famous potato rolls with honey mustard; the Wrangler, which is a Lil Burger with an onion ring anf BBQ sauce; at 50 cents extra I’ll take bacon instead. They have a “Burger Sub” of three patties on a hoagie roll, but it’s not the same. The potato roll is king. The owner mentioned a full size potato roll perhaps in the future, and I look forward to it.

They also have Lil Fishie fried fish sandwiches, hot soup and Slush Puppies available now, but we haven’t tried either of them yet. The lil Chicks are very good, and they make great broccoli cheese bites. We’ll probably try the Slush Puppies this weekend and maybe I’ll get a fish sandwich, but the Lil Burgers are hard to resist. And they still make great sweet potato fries.

We’ve also been to Dinosaur BBQ a third time and I had an excellent brisket sandwich with their house-cured bacon & swiss. It was fantastic- very tender and tasty. Dinosaur BBQ continues to amaze. They need a sandwich with their Elgin sausage. They also make Churrasco chicken sandwiches we need to try, and their barbecue chicken. Chicken always gets overlooked at ‘cue joints. And we still haven’t had room for dessert at this place!

I love trying new places, so when I go someplace for a second or third time, they’re getting the seal of approval. And these places are definitely among my favorite junk food joints.

Best BLT in New York?

I don’t normally return to a restaurant so quickly, but Dinosaur Bar-B-Que intrigued me with their offering of a BLT with house-cured bacon, fried green tomatoes, and their tangy remoulade in place of mayo. I had to try it. So Tommy Salami’s li’l posse of Beast, Milky and Firecracker converged at Dino’s instead of our usual brunch haunt- Blockhead’s at 107th and Amsterdam. We were not disappointed.

Once again, reservations are a must. At noon on a Saturday we waited 40 minutes for a table, and the bar was full. It was after noon, which is beer o’clock round these parts so I tried a tasty Brooklyn Brewery Winter Ale, which was rich and chocolatey. The Brooklyn Brewery gang has done it again. My other favorite here if you prefer a lighter beer is the Hook & Ladder Ale, which has a fruity aroma and a crisp refreshing taste. They also make kick-ass Bloody Marys, better than the Brooklyn Ale House’s mix in my opinion (and they are one of NYC’s best). It was tangy, spicy and smooth, but not at all watery, garnished with a green olive. I would have liked one of their drunken boiled shrimp on a skewer, but you can’t always get what you want. But it never hurts to ask- I will next time.

Once we got a table the service was at a good clip. My crew got their usual pulled pork sandwiches, which are excellent, and tried out all the sauces. Our consensus is that the Wango Tango smoky habanero sauce is the best. It’s not as hot as their hottest Devil’s Duel sauce, and still has plenty of flavor while also providing good bite. It never drowns out the meat either, so slather it on. But you wanted to hear about bacon, didn’t ya? Their BLT comes in two flavors, regular and “ultimate.” the Ultimate has their appetizer fried green tomatoes in the “T” slot, and they slather it with a generous helping of their tangy remoulade. It is quite a sandwich.

They cure their bacon in-house, and you get thick chewy slices. I prefer my bacon crisp, but I enjoyed this anyway. It was much more filling with a few slabs of thicker bacon. And the fried green tomatoes- crisp and crunchy, never mushy- were the perfect accompaniment. As you can see, they get a bed of shredded lettuce- I’d prefer green leaf or butter lettuce- and a solid sesame seed bun. You get two sides- I chose the mac ‘n cheese because it’s excellent, and the BBQ beans to try ’em out. They’re smoky sweet and delcious, a little thin but with plenty of pork bits in there for flavor. If you don’t want their best side- the salted ‘taters- try the beans, you won’t be disappointed.

To conclude, this is one of the best BLT’s I’ve ever had. It is definitely on the rich side, and it makes for a great hangover cure. With 2 sides it is quite the satisfying meal, and the melange of smoky chewy bacon, crisp tomato and the sauce’s rich tangy topping makes for a memorable BLT experience. Now we all know NYC restaurants love to sling pork belly, foie gras, truffles and “Kobe” beef like it’s going out of style, especially now that Wall Street fucknuts have all that bailout bonus money to spend- so I ask you, who makes the best BLT in NYC?

I like simplicity, so give meripe heirloom tomatoes, crisp salty bacon without extra flavors, fresh green lettuce and maybe fresh-made mayo on crunchy wheat or tangy sourdough bread and it’s perfection. Maybe a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper on the tomato, or Niman Ranch bacon. But I wouldn’t mind trying something ridiculously decadent, as you can easily assume. So let’s hear it, who can top the Ultimate BLT at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que?

For a review of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s ribs, pulled pork, sausage, brisket, appies, beers and sides, check out my earlier review here.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

I’ve been wanting to here for a while- a big barbecue joint in an industrial section of Harlem, known for 2 hour waits, excellent ‘cue and a great beer selection. The Firecracker and the Beast had gone a few times; hell, even the Lou Costello-esque guy from Miami teaching me some IBM crap had been there and loved it. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is the best I’ve had in the tri-state area.

We made reservations with Open Table and got seated on time; I’d recommend it for this place, where even Sundays mean a long wait. The bar is often 2 or 3 deep, and they serve lots of upstate NY microbrews. There are highboy tables to wait at, and you can order appetizers there. The decor is typical BBQ roadhouse – license plates and old signs, tons of crappy old wood they probably paid a fortune for. Once you get seated it’s cozy but not cramped. A group of 16 was seated nearby. It’s not a bad spot for a group, and they also do take-out and catering.

Their menu is typical southern-style BBQ- but they do it right. For appies we had a “Swag platter” for two, which comes with 2 each of excellent hot wings in a sweet and spicy sauce, crisply fried green tomatoes with a remoulade, and creamy deviled eggs, plus a handful 0f some cold peel ‘n eat shrimp done in a spicy boil. It’s just enough to sate you after sitting at the bar waiting to taste some of that ‘cue you’ve been smelling as it passed by on platters. The tomatoes are especially good, and they sell a BLT sandwich with them in the tomato slot- I’ve got to come back for lunch sometime and try it.

The one thing we didn’t get between us was chicken, which I’ll try on a second run. BBQ chicken gets unfairly ignored, and I’ll be back to rectify that. The pulled pork is nice and tender, and only gently sauced; the pork flavor comes through fine. The folks at Dinosaur trust their smoker and they don’t slather the meat in sauce to cover up. The ribs are not fall off the bone tender, put they are pull off the bone tender, the right way. The meat is flavorful and the crust of rub and sauce has great smoky flavor with a tinge of sweetness. The brisket, which my Miami pal loves, was quite good too. They put a few slices of jalapeno next to it, and I wrapped each slice around some pepper. It went together great. In the meat deparment, the real surprise was their Elgin Texas sausage- which was nicely seared, had great snap to it, and excellent, juicy flavor. It’s not often that I talk about biting into a juicy sausage, but this time I will do so unashamedly. If you pass on their sausage, you are missing out.

BBQ is also about the sides, and sadly we only tried two- mac ‘n cheese, which was deliciously creamy, with a nice crunchy topping, and a real surprise- salted fingerling potatoes. They were great, sweet and covered in a thin butter sauce that didn’t drown the potato flavor out. And they’re the perfect size, too. Even the cornbread is pretty damn good. This is the best BBQ I’ve had up north- they beat Brother Jimmy’s handily on all counts. MoGridder has some strong competition, too; His BBQ truck is worth a visit to the Bronx, but you’ll freeze your ass off, this time of year. So wait until summer for Mo’s, and come to Harlem for Dinosaur BBQ, if you can get in. If ‘cue ain’t your thing, they have burgers, sandwiches, and buckets of shrimp boil to sate you. They cure their own bacon, and they definitely make their own pickles- they were crispy, tart and had more than just dill in there- ginger, I think.
We’ll be back to try sandwiches and dessert sometime- Key Lime pie made with real key lime juice, sweet potato pecan pie, peanut butter chocolate pie, and so on. After our platters there was no room for dessert, but if it’s as good as the rest of the meal, it’s worth gorging yourself on. If you’re on the Jersey side, we had no trouble finding free parking on a Saturday night, and they’re an easy shot from the George Washington Bridge- just take the Hudson down to 158th, and then take Broadway to 131st, hang a louie and park before 12th ave.,-73.955584&spn=0.03189,0.06669&z=14&iwloc=A&cid=40818661,-73959784,14061650740099443617&output=embed&s=AARTsJqwzWwZrkli9vLnDKruUV40UZ7I2Q
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