by Julie Besonen, 03/06/2013
Photo: Daniel Krieger
700 W. 125th St., 212-694-1777, Harlem, Manhattan
Recession, schmession. Head to Harlem on a weekend and see dressy customers packed in practically to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's rafters, clamoring for the hostess's attention. Tables are pushed together for big groups of friends and family, who laugh and whoop as they tear through huge platters of barbecue. Elvis is on the sound system, but he barely registers over the noise. You can't go wrong with the "Big Ass Pork Plate" (old-timey smoked pork shoulder) or St. Louis–cut pork ribs marinated in spice rub for 24 hours, then pit smoked and glazed with tangy sauce. Sides have more finesse than you'd expect: luscious Creole potato salad, moist "honey hush" corn bread and black-eyed peas with kale and bacon (a special side). The beer list—with many selections from the Northeast—is particularly strong.