Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy? Meh.

Excuse me if I’m a little skeptical of this whole Dinosaur Bar-B-Que thing. The Times Union reported yesterday that the long-awaited purveyor of slow cooked meats will open in Troy no earlier than September.

Dinosaur Bar-B-quein Syracuse is a great institution that’s managed to maintain its mojo even after selling 70 percent of the companyto billionaire investor George Soros.

The stuff on the walls is real, the dirt is real, the bikers are real, and the sassy waitresses have a certain charm one only gets from spending your life in Syracuse. It’s a noisy, crowded joint that’s fun as hell. The atmosphere is more than a little anarchic; you almost expect to walk back into the kitchen and find it looking like a cross between Breaking Bad and Hell’s Kitchen.

You don’t just go there for the food. And how is the food? It’s not bad.

The best bar-b-cue I’ve ever had was in a dark little storefront on the dusty main drag of Castroville, CA, “Artichoke Center of the World.” We walked into this place and were greeted by a couple of mildly scary Willie Nelson looking guys. We figured we were either about to have some genuine Q or end up in the smoker out back.  Willy #1  put a platter of sliced brisket and beans in front of us. We sat under a big Texas flag and pretty much licked our plates clean.

Don’t get me wrong; this is not a review of a restaurant that hasn’t opened, let’s just call it a cautionary musing. Maybe they cantransplant Dinosaur’s outlaw biker vibe to Troy’s waterfront shrine to failed restaurants. Nail up a bunch of crap on the walls and nobody will know the difference. It works for Applebee’s. And if the food is good, who cares.

So what if it just makes you want to get in your car and drive to Syracuse for the real deal?

You can fabricate an experience, but that doesn’t make it authentic. Going to Morocco in Epcot doesn’t mean you’ve visited North Africa, and eating at the Rainforest Cafe doesn’t put you in the rainforest.

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