Forgive my language, but there’s some serious shit happening these days in Gowanus and it only seems to be gaining momentum. First there was the bike shop. Then the killer pie store. Then the revisionist clam shack. Then came Brooklyn haute cuisine, and the amazing pastries. Now there’s a member’s only social club for the arts, and a 17,000 square foot shuffleboard parlor. A fancy-schmancy grocery store with a 20,000 square foot greenhouse, too. The latest opening is super-cue chain Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue, and despite there already being some great smoke options in the area, our family went last week to check it out for dinner.One unexpectedly positive side effect is that the formerly bleak stretch of Union Street between Third and Fourth Avenues is now consistently redolent of hickory and spice. The restaurant itself is cavernous, huge, and bustling– perfect if you have a big group to contend with, or just a noisy kid. And the food? Well, come on. It’s great. These guys haven’t been packing crowds in every night for years at the Harlem location by accident. Let it be said, I still think the burnt-ends from Fletchers rule and the brisket from Fort Reno a close second– but the Dinosaur ribs are pretty much the best around. Thick, meaty babybacks that fall off the bone, moist, sweet n’ spicy. Might be worth the trip for the ribs alone.But I don’t want to give short shrift to a must-order specialty they call Dino Poutine. Like college-era disco fries squared, I want you to imagine hot hand-cut french fries covered in brown gravy, pimiento cheese and a mountain of tender pulled pork, garnished with a heap of scallions. There it is, and it is good. If it’s a heart attack in the making, is there a better way to go?
Biking back over the Union Street Bridgetoday I stopped to watch a group of artists quietly painting the battered waterway. It was a really surprising place to see artists at work. It called to mind for me this thing I read once which touched on Monet’s series on the river Thames.
At the time, it was the Industrial Revolution and Monet was seeking to capture the natural beauty of a commercial river filtered through the smog and rainbow hues of pollution. Maybe this group was trying to do the same thing; to find natural beauty where it might still be hiding in the Gowanus. But then I thought maybe that’s kind of a stretch. Regardless of intention, pretty cool to watch artists at work, though.