December 07, 2009

And now for something completely different...

We've spent the last few weeks critiquing buffalo wings made by various cooks in and around the greater NY area.  I kind of feel like a New York sports/talk radio guy, like Chris "Mad Dog" Russo.  You know, those irritating guys that flap their gums all morning about football when they've never touched an actual football in their lives.  

It's kind of the same for me.  I had never actually cooked a chicken wing before (even though I got a deep fryer for my wedding over 2 years ago that's still in the box), yet I've been giving my 2¢ about how professionals are doing their job.  I don't necessarily think you need to be a good cook to be a good eater, but it can't hurt.  And since I'm not totally lost in the kitchen I figured I'd try my hand at cooking my own wings.

Being that this was my first attempt, I decided to play it simple.  I'd go with the classic wing sauce mix (equal parts Frank's Red Hot + butter) as well as BBQ (store bought).  I figured it was more important to focus on the chicken.  Besides, if this hot sauce mixture is good enough for Anchor Bar in Buffalo then it's certainly good enough for me.  As for cooking method, this was the perfect opportunity to christen my deep fryer...but of course I didn't do it.  Instead, I opted for the dual cooking method of baking then grilling.  My goal was to get nice moist meat with crispy, even charred, skin - a la Mike's Place.

I started by brushing the wings with a light coat of vegetable oil and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.  I put them on a baking sheet and threw them in the oven at 350 until they started to get a nice golden brown color.  In the meantime, I was making the hot wing sauce in a frying pan on the range.  First I melted the butter, then added the Frank's sauce until I was happy with the color (I think I use color as a measuring stick way more than time or other actual measurements).  I took the wings out of the oven and brushed on a thin coat of the sauce, which I was hoping would burn just a little, then tossed them on the grill.  When I was happy with the look, I took them off and tossed half of them in hot sauce and the other half in BBQ sauce.  Then, time to chow down.

First, the important part, the meat.  I was half successful in my goal.  I got the meat perfectly moist and tender, but I wasn't happy with the skin.  I really wanted more crisp, but it wasn't there.  The sauce was tasty but basic.  I do wish it was a little thicker though, it ran off the wings a little.  The BBQ was what it was.  Just a store bought brand so not much to report.  I think I'd give myself a C+.  They were flavorful, tender wings but had plenty of room for improvement.  And I do plan to give it another go...I already bought the wings.  This time I think I'm going to try a more complex buffalo sauce.  For the second option, I'm going to ditch the BBQ and go for a Thai Peanut sauce - I think that could catch on!  Also, I have to finally take that deep fryer out of the box and do this right.

So, does anyone else have a recipe for buffalo wings that I can try out?  I know the other guys are into trying some recipes themselves and it could be fun to expand this blog into a place to get/give/trade recipes for wings and sauces.  I know Steve's dad has a kick-ass wing recipe.  He made them for Steve's surprise 30th Bday party, and they were good.  REALLY good.  Let's see if we can get him to give us a tutorial.

December 03, 2009

Croxley Ales

Croxley Ales
Ale House and Eatery
12 South Park Avenue
Rockville Centre, NY

Jeremy and I ventured out to Croxley's in Rockville Centre, NY a couple of weeks ago. I work in the area and Jeremy lives pretty close. Our buddy, and fellow wing enthusiast, Lee, met us there to take advantage of their $0.10 wing night special. Mondays and Wednesdays are wing nights and they choose a specific beer to be $4.00. This particular evening Hofbrau was the four dollar special and it was music of the 90's night (Lots of Soundgarden, 311, Pearl Jam, The Breeders, Alice In Chains, Sublime, Bush, Danzig and others... I felt like breaking out a flannel and a ratty old sweater).

We ordered up 30 Hot and 20 BBQ to start off the evening. We asked the bartender how hot the hot wings were and she said "not very hot." She did mention that she could bring an extra hot dipping sauce with the order, so we took her up on that offer.

As Jeremy and I waited for the wings, I noticed that they sold Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale. Jody had seen this at a beer distributor a few weeks back and had sent me a text message with a picture of it. Being huge fans of the Monty Python, I had to try it. It was a pretty good beer and went very well with the hot wings. Both Jeremy and Lee, when he got there, ordered them as well.

The BBQ wings were nothing special. They tasted like BBQ wings, but were a bit overcooked. Lee said they were "too tangy," and when Lee speaks, people listen. If you like BBQ wings, I am sure that you would enjoy them. They were not for me, but hey, someone somewhere may enjoy them. Lee said they were "too tangy."

The hot on the other hand were really good. They were cooked perfectly with the right amount of crisp on the outside and juicy-ness on the inside. The bartender was correct when she said they weren't hot but they had a very tasty flavor to the sauce. I am still searching for that wing that is perfectly hot and perfectly tasty. It seems that if a wing is hot, it does not have as much flavor and if they are flavorful, then they are usually not too hot. Croxley's fit the latter. The extra hot dipping sauce helped a lot, but still did not give them overpowering heat.

All in all, we were very impressed with Croxley's. The wings were good and inexpensive, the beer selection was very extensive and the atmosphere was pretty cool. The place was packed, everyone seemed to be having a good time and lots of wings were being ordered. It reminded me a little bit of Dempsey's in Bayside (our first review) because wing night there is always packed and people generally have a good time. The Wingmen are looking forward to making a return trip to Croxley's and the Rockville Centre area soon.

November 30, 2009

PJ Carney's

906 7th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Friday was my last day of work on the show I was working on (I'm a freelance editor), so my bosses took me out for lunch and beers at the local dive bar, PJ Carney's.  One of them suggested getting an order of wings, the other agreed and, well hell, of course I was in.  We split an order for the table and the guy who brought it up put in the order.  PJ Carney's serves their wings two ways - with sauce or "crispy" with the sauce on the side.  We were getting the crispy.  I was a little skeptical, but certainly not disappointed.  I picked up a wing, dipped it in the sauce, chomped into that crispy goodness and immediately knew this would be an instant favorite.  

There wasn't just a little crisp to this wing, there was a solid layer of crunch.  It was great.  It almost seemed like a Korean-style chicken.  And don't get the wrong idea, it wasn't overcooked.  Not even close.  As a matter of fact, this is one of the juiciest wings I've had since we started this blog.  It was by no means a traditional wing, especially for an Irish dive bar.  But the uniqueness was appealing and makes it stand out as one of my top five wings on our mission so far.

My only criticism comes from the sauce.  It wasn't a Buffalo style sauce, which is fine.  It was more of a BBQ sauce.  But if you're going to serve the sauce on the side anyway, why not offer a large variety of sauces.  Maybe get your choice of a few different kinds.  It seems like the perfect option if you're not actually tossing the wings in the sauce.  There have been a few times where Jeremy, Steve and I have had to decide between different flavors and didn't get the opportunity to try them all since they come in orders of 10 or 20.  Imagine if you could order 30 wings with 6 different sauces to dip it in. That would be fantastic.  Maybe we'll save that idea for The Wingmen Restaurant, coming to a town near you.

If anyone is curious, I got the mexican burger as my main dish.  And although I kind of wish I just got 20 wings to myself, the burger was pretty flavorful as well.  Add to that multiple pints of Smithwick's Ale over the course of about 3 hours and it shapes up to be a pretty nice day of work.  I think this place actually inspired me to get some KFC - no, not Kentucky Fried Chicken...Korean Fried Chicken. Bon Chon for lunch tomorrow?  Maybe.

November 24, 2009

The Waterfront

Last week, I also had the opportunity to visit the Waterfront in New Rochelle, NY. This bar is located right off the water with an excellent view. This gathering happened to be a little get together with various people who work in the Bronx. Every now and then we get together and hit up wing places as well besides me being a wingman. Anyway, we ordered the BBQ and the Hot. The only other flavor that was available was the medium. Both of the orders were great. Both sets had a good amount of meat on them and the flavor was excellent. The hot actually had some kick to it while the BBQ was pretty tangy. Excellent stuff, not too mention that their jacked potato skins gave you a recharge and went in for more chomping.

Coach's Corner

Two weeks back, I had the opportunity to hit up Coram, NY and visit what used to be "Mike's Place". "Mike's Place" had great wings so why not find out whether or not Coach's Corner did the same. The wings were not breaded and seemed like they were baked not fried. They were fried, however, but they had that baked consistency. The sauce is the same from "Mike's Place". It seems as if they pour the sauce on after the wings come out. The wings were good but they needed to be more well done. They sort of reminded me when I visited Ireland and ordered a plate of wings. Holy Crap, those wings were disgusting. They broil theirs...uuggggghhh.....but the Guiness is awesome. If the Coach's Corner wings had a little crunch to them, I'd say they were really good, but for now their rating is fair.

Buffalo Wings + Pizza = Mmmmm.

I had a spicy chicken slice from VIPizza in Bayside, which I do frequently.  I don't think it warrants a review, but what a great combo.  Two of the best foods around combined into one.  Is there a better use of Buffalo sauce other than on a wing?  I'd argue no.

November 18, 2009

Hooters of Hempstead

OOOOOOOOOOOOObbabbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!! Little late on the review but definitely worth the wait. A few weeks back for Yankees/Phillies Game 6 when you knew the Yanks were going to pull it off, we were drawing a little blank on where to go. Almost to the point where we were going to do a repeat of another place just to place it safe from a mobbed bar.....and then the call came from Jody. Hooters of Hempstead, right off of route 24 near the Coliseum. Oh yeah, it was happening.

We pulled into the lot, opened the doors and walked into the light. That night happened to be Western Wednesday. Holy crap! Yeah, its a great idea to get together with the buds eat wings and watch NY world series baseball, but Western Wednesdays...Heaven.....I think so (I'm going to get punched in the face for that one). Oh yeah and our waitress was the cougar....just in case you're into that.

Anyway, back to business. Diesel selection of wings. You had crazy hot, medium, mild, bbq, honey mustard and maybe some others. Too many distractions between the game and stifler's mom. You had the option of 5's, 10's, 20's and 50's. In addition, you were allowed to split the 50's into two different groups of 25. We happened to order 25 diesel hot, 25 mild (our guest that night can't handle the hot) and 10 of the honey mustard......naked. No, not me naked, the wings...dirty minds. The prices were reasonable but I forgot to write them down. I guess this disqualifies the review and we'll have to go back and do it again. Palabra es tu madre!

The wings were awesome!!!! Regardless of the prices, you couldn't get any better than this. The hot were making you sweat, the mild gave you a break in between and the honey mustard naked wings were flavorful. The wings here are excellent.

November 17, 2009


1472 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

I met up with a couple of friends last week at ESPN Zone in Times Square. I admit, the meet-up had nothing to do with wings...but why not kill two birds with one stone, right? So I ordered up a plate of the Buffalo wings. Let's be honest, not many of us are going to ESPN Zone for wings. We're going for thousands of wide screen TV's covering every square inch of the building, showing every sports feed imaginable. There are even TV's conveniently installed in the walls in front of each urinal - genius. The food is just something to keep you busy between innings, quarters, periods and swigs of the huge drafts that they offer at the bar. So, being that my expectations were low to begin with, my expectations were met. Not that they were bad wings (if there is such a thing), they actually had a decent heat to them. They were just kind of generic. Something you would expect to get at an Applebee's or TGiF's. They were probably taken out of a pre-packaged bag, dropped in the deep fryer, and tossed in a store bought sauce. Again, I'm not knocking them. The original Buffalo wings were made using a combination of Frank's hot sauce and butter, so there's nothing wrong with using sauce from a jar. It's just not going to win them Buffalo Wing of The Year anytime soon.

For those of you heading to ESPN Zone anytime soon, they also offer their wings in Barbeque, Jerk and Asian sauces.

November 15, 2009

Garden City Hotel

45 Seventh Street
Garden City, NY 11530

I attended a work fund-raiser last night at the Garden City Hotel and although wings were not on the menu, I figured I would post a small review of one of the passed appetizers.

Being a black tie affair, I was all decked out in my $90 tuxedo and ready to schmooze with the really rich people at the party. By schmooze I mean stand off to the side by myself and wait for the waitress to come around with coconut shrimp. I love me some coconut shrimp.

They started with sliced salmon on pumpernickel bread, I was not having it. Then salmon wrapped around asparagus, again, although probably good, I wanted the coconut shrimp. Then potato pancakes, spring rolls and shrimp scampi... I was getting frustrated! Low and behold, I caught sight of another cocktail hour waitress and what did she have? Skewered buffalo chicken!

The buffalo chicken was skewered on a wooden stick and served with bleu cheese dipping sauce. Being one of the The Wingmen, my hunt for coconut shrimp was put on hold and my responsibilities took precedent. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the buffalo sauce had the perfect hint of spiciness. It was not a buffalo wing by any stretch of the imagination, but to try a gourmet version of a pub favorite was a real treat. I enjoyed their version quite a bit and suggest to anyone that if you throw a party at the Garden City Hotel, add the skewered buffalo chicken to the cocktail hour.

After eating the buffalo chicken, I finally found the coconut shrimp and it did not disappoint at all! I am not sure that there is anything better than coconut shrimp... except wings that is.

They looked similar to these except they were a bit bigger and didn't have the celery and tomatoes:

November 06, 2009

The Black Rock Tavern

The Black Rock Tavern
450 Main St.
Yaphank, NY 11980

My cousins were in town from Florida last weekend, so I was in the old neighborhood again.  We hit the local tavern, Black Rock, to grab a few drinks and catch up.  My cousin, Jenn, and I were getting a little hungry, so we put in an order for some wings.  When they came out, we both thought they were pretty damn good.  As a matter of fact, it only took us a few minutes to devour the plate and put in an order for round 2.  As we waited for the next round, I was talking to the bartender, Pat, who I know very well (he's my sister's boyfriend).  He was saying that the cooks will take requests on how to cook your wings.  What?  Wings, made to order?  I like that.  Plate #2 came out shortly and we dug in.  As I was mid bite, Adam, one of the owners, came over to me to talk about his wings.  I guess he got word that we review them and wanted to give me the scoop.  He told me something happened with his meat vendor and they couldn't get their usual stock of wings.  He seemed disappointed in the wings they served us and assured me that if I came back they would be better.  Really?  I thought they were pretty good anyway.  So, you're telling me that next time they'll be better AND I can have them made to order?  Not to mention that after looking at their website I discovered they also serve Honey Buffalo, BBQ, Backwards, Jamaican and Honey Mustard wings.  If you're a frequent reader, you know I love the honey mustard...and what in the world is a "backwards" wing?  There's no question I'll be back to find out, and I'll have the rest of the team with me to make this place official.

Barefoot Peddler

Barefoot Peddler
37 Glen Cove Road
Greenvale, NY 11548

The crew got together for Game 1 of the World Series and to review some wings. We checked out the Barefoot Peddler because it had a good number of televisions to watch Cliff Lee dominate the powerful Yankees lineup. Being a Mets fan, I am not sure I enjoyed a single minute of the game, but I watched anyway. Having lived near Greenvale for a brief period in my life, I was familiar with the Peddler, but Jody and Jeremy were newbies, so we ordered some beer and wings.

They have 3 flavors of wings at the Barefoot Peddler which posed a bit of an issue since we were sure that three orders would not be enough, but what do you double up on? Hot? Kung Pao (their version of Teriyaki)? Honey BBQ? Ah, the dilemmas of life. We went with 2 orders of Hot and one each of the Kung Pao and Honey BBQ. They all came with celery, bleu cheese and carrots.

I'll start with the Hot. Jeremy loved them. They were his favorite. At first bite, they were not very hot and did not have that smell that clears your sinuses like a lot of really hot wings have. But this was deceptive because the more wings you ate, the more the kick kicked. After 3 or 4 wings in a row, your mouth was burning and that beer was your very best friend. We all agreed that they were very good hot wings.

Kung Pao (or as Jeremy like to call them, Kung Fu). Jody loved them. They were his favorite. They were sweet, but had just enough salt to stop the sweetness from overpowering the flavor. They were drenched in the Kung Pao dressing so you had plenty of extra sauce to dip the wings into to make them sloppy. The sauce also had toasted sesame seeds for that added flavor and presentation. They were well worth trying and Jody and I were tempted to order a second plate. Jeremy was not as much of a fan.

Honey BBQ... well, nobody liked these. They were pretty bad... almost Johnny Famous bad. They were way too sweet and had a ketchup taste that none of us liked. BBQ sauce is sweet enough, the honey just brought it over the top and they didn't have the salt cutter like the Kung Pao wings. We agreed that we would never order them again at the Peddler.

The other factors that we considered as we discussed these wings were price, size of the wings, specials and atmosphere. They were expensive. Each order had about 8 wings. Now these were 8 enormous wings, but there were just 8 in each order. The wings cost $8.99 per order! If my math is correct (and lets face it, I have not taken a math class in well over a decade, so it may not be), that is over $1.00 per wing! That is crazy expensive. Now, Wingmen faithful Sue, who now lives in the area, commented on our Facebook page that they have $.25 wings on Mondays. According to the bartender, They run that special on Sundays as well. I would like to get there to see if the wings are the same size and if they are drenched in sauce like they were off the appetizer menu. If they are, then going on a Sunday and/or Monday will be very much worth it.

Atmosphere-wise, the Peddler is a great bar. It had a cool crowd mixed with young and old patrons either from the colleges down the road or stopping for dinner on their way home from work. The beer selection was solid with a good number of beers on tap. The bartender was very attentive and even asked if we were enjoying the wings, which is a first for The Wingmen.

As far as the Barefoot Peddler goes, it is a cool pub that has very good wings (as long as you stay away from the Honey BBQ), good beer selection, a cool crowd (complete with a couple of young women making out at the far end of the bar [when we were there, I can't guarantee they'll be there when you go, sorry]), and most importantly, the stamp of approval from The Wingmen! Check this place out, it is worth it.

October 23, 2009

Mike's Place Too

1086 Mastic Rd.
Mastic, NY 11950

I can divide the last 15 years of my life into phases using wing spots.  Now, I'm probably in the Dempsey's phase of my life.  It's our current go-to for wing night.  High school was Big Barry's.  It's been closed for so long that I don't even remember what the wings taste like.  I do remember that they were good, and probably responsible for kicking off our obsession with wings.  In between the high school Big Barry's days and the Post-Collegiate Dempsey's Days there was Mike's Place.

I was at my Mom's house recently, in the old neighborhood, and was in the mood for a throw-back dinner.  So My wife, sister, brother and I decided to get some apps from Mike's Place Too - wings included of course.  I don't even feel like I need to review Mike's wings.  If you lived near Coram (when the original location was open) or Mastic (the neighborhood of Mike's Place Too) you know of Mike's Place and you've certainly had their wings.  The sauce is not a traditional one.  It's not hot sauce based and is more salty than spicy.  But it is damn tastey.  I'm going to say, without a doubt, it's my favorite buffalo wing sauce - ever.

UPDATE:  I don't know how I could have forgotten to mention this.  My head was a little out-of-whack after watching the Yankees claw their way back to a lead, then blow the game and fail to clinch.  Anyway - Another thing that sets Mike's wings apart is the way they're cooked.  I think they use some sort of double-cooking method, like baking then grilling.  They are nice and tender in the middle, but have this perfect grill-char on the skin.  So good.  Maybe one of our Mikes/Grumpy Jack's connections can give us a little insight here.

Here's the thing though.  We used to go to the location in Coram, which has since closed and re-opened as Coach's Corner.  A couple of the owners  opened a new place in Port Jefferson called Grumpy Jacks.  Then, of course, there's Mike's Place Too.  So that's three spots that could conceivably be making different variations of the best wings sauce ever concocted.  Are you seeing where I'm going with this?  Yup, a Grumpy Jack's/Mike's Place Too/Coach's corner smackdown.  A three way battle royale to see who makes the best wing sauce, well, the best.  I know we've got a couple of friends with connections to the original Mike's as well as Grumpy Jacks.  So, what do you think?  You guys up for it.  Some wings, some beer and maybe a little trash talking?  Sounds like a good idea to me.

September 29, 2009

Foster's Grille

Foster's Grille
5007-E Westone Plaza Dr.
Chantilly, VA 20151

In late September I ventured down to my brother's house in Centreville, VA to meet up with a bunch of his friends from college. We still all get together to play a version of fantasy football called Strat-O-Matic Football. It is hard to explain, but think about it this way... Dungeons and Dragons for sports nerds, but instead of Funions and Mountain Dew, we have wings, chili and beer. Yes, let the sarcastic comments commence. Are we done? Ok, now I'll review the wings.

We ordered take out from Foster's, which my brother and his wife have been to before and had enjoyed the food. The first knock on the place was the cost of the wings. They were $00.72 a piece! Fifty wings for over $36.00!!! That is way too much money. But we ordered 50 anyhow and hoped that the flavor would over-power the hole in my brother's wallet (Mikey, who is from Pittsburgh, had already left and taken my wallet with him, so I was penny-less and Jeff had to pay for the wings). Heather, Jeff's wife went to pick up the wings and brought them back. She also took the above picture, Thanks Heather!

So, Jeff, Heather, Matt, Zak and I decided that we would get 30 hot and 20 BBQ wings. When they arrived, we all sat down and started in on the hot. I don't know if they lost their crisp in the Styrofoam container, but they just had very little crunch to them and we all noticed. Things do tend to get soggy when taken "to go," so I will not say that this was their fault, but, however, they were not hot at all, and that is their fault! I was very clear that I wanted HOT wings on the phone, not mild, but they were very mild. They tasted good, but I wanted my mouth to burn a bit and to possibly break a sweat. These did neither. Overall, the hot wings were quite a disappointment.

The BBQ on the other hand, although also soggy, tasted amazing. The BBQ sauce was flavorful, tangy and really complimented the wings quite well. In fact, I think it is safe to say that the BBQ was everyone's favorites. The wings were a good size, cooked well and left you needing a wetnap.

So, to finish this mini-review, I'd go back to Foster's for the wings to try them in the restaurant. Ordering "to go" may not have been the best option. I will definitely get the BBQ again and may shy away from the Hot. Where is the fun in hot wings that are not hot? So if you are in the Chantilly area of Virginia and you have a lot of money to spend on wings, head on it to Foster's.

Oh... A Foster's just opened up in Nesconset, NY. So a follow up review may have to be put on the Wingmen Agenda!

September 15, 2009

Half Penny Pub

Half Penny Pub
220 N. Main St.
Sayville, NY 11782

I get a call from Jeremy saying that he is heading down to Sayville to meet up with some old band mates of his. Before you go thinking that Jeremy used to be in a rock band, let me explain. In high school, Jeremy played the tuba or the trombone or some other brass instrument and he was meeting up with the high school band folks. I am not sure, but Jeremy probably has been to Band Camp. Ask him about it.

We are meeting up with all of them at the Half Penny Pub and since they have a menu that includes wings, we decided to order some up and do a review. They have BBQ, Spicy BBQ and Mild, Medium and Hot wings (this was all according to the bartender, who never showed us the menu). We chose the large order of the hot wings (20 for $12) and then enjoyed some beer while we waited for them to arrive.

As we waited, I took in the atmosphere of this Irish Pub. The place was great. The bar was as long as the entire building, the patron area was wide open to allow for more people to stand around and it was littered with signs advertising the specials they offer; ladies night, wing night (which includes free wings from 8 to 10 PM on Wednesdays), beer pong night and many more. They even have an Irish skydiving team that seems to jump from planes pretty often. They have pictures on their website and on their MySpace page (Who has MySpace anymore? Really?).
The drink selection was also very good. Plenty of alcohol for those "I want a shot and I want it now" kind of nights. They seemed to have a lot of whisky and scotch in easy pour taps around the bar, which seems to me to be extremely convenient. I saw Jager Bombs being made and consumed (seems like a great combo; Jager which is a depressant and Red Bull, a stimulant. Just creating angry sad people. Awesome.), and I am sure that if I asked for one, an Irish Car Bomb would have been concocted for me. The beer list was extensive. They had a lot of different kinds of beer on tap and an even larger selection of bottled beer which included Franziskaner (the only hefeweizen they had). Places with big beer selections make me happy.

As for the wings, they were a bit of a disappointment. First of all, they were breaded. I am not sure why a place would use breaded wings, but I imagine they were store bought frozen, in a large plastic bag and then deep fried with the hot sauce added just before frying. That is how I used to have to make them when I worked for the dining hall pizza shop at college. Not the best method, but it worked. I am guessing that since the Half Penny only has an appetizer menu, that they really only have a deep fryer in the back, which limits their ability to cook.

The wings were hot, I mean, they had my nose running, which is a great heat level. I was not sweating like at Miller's, but they were hot. The hot sauce tasted really good too. Again, probably a large jug of a generic hot sauce marinade that you can find in any supermarket, but it worked.

I do feel that they could have been fried a bit longer, and one of the Wingmen faithful, Jenn, who was at the bar with us agreed that they were just not crispy enough. The meat was cooked well, there was enough on the bone and they were juicy. But, if there is not crisp to bite through, they are just soggy wings. Soggy wings are not great. Now, I am not saying that the wings were bad, I am just saying that they were not very good.

Overall, the atmosphere of the Half Penny Pub overshadows their less-than-stellar wings. I would go back there and I would eat the wings again. Unlike Kelly's, which is a bar that is also a restaurant, and they still make mediocre wings, Half Penny is a bar that makes pretty good pub grub. They set out to do different things, and Half Penny is better at doing what they set out to do. Head on out to Sayville and check this place out, even if you don't order the wings.

September 13, 2009

O'Neills Pub

O'Neill's Restaurant
6421 53RD Dr
Maspeth, NY 11378-1621

O'Neills Pub in Maspeth, Queens was one of the first places the Wingmen decided to go with guest reviewers. Diane (my wife), Mary and Chris joined me (Jeremy) two Mondays ago to chomp down on some serious wings and maybe catch a couple of plays from the Minnesota Vikings game. Needless to say, nobody paid attention to the game but everyone paid attention to the wings.

O'Neills offered the following variety: Honey Mustard, Garlic Butter, Jack Daniels, Regular, Medium, Hot, BBQ and Terriyaki. The plates consisted of 10 wings for $4. Our group decided to order the Jack Daniels, Garlic Butter, Hot, BBQ and Honey Mustard. Diane and Mary (Queens Natives) stated that this place normally packs out with a younger audience because O'Neills will serve food to all regardless of being under 21. This night, however, was not packed. It was just the right amount of people and noise to have a conversation and eat some serious wings.

The wings were serious. The Jack Daniels Wings were simply my favorite. I actually had the opportunity to eat the Jack Daniels wings in Tennessee a few years ago and these were just as good. Next, without a doubt, was the Honey Mustard. They were dripping with sauce. The Terriyaki and the Hot were no different than any other establishment. The Garlic Butter, on the other hand, were dry but packed a lot of flavor. They were a little misleading at first, but you grew to like to them. The wings were thick. They possessed a lot of meat. You definitely got a good bang for your buck with their wing special. Overall, all of us agreed that O'Neills was a place you would return to. In addition, the wait staff and bartenders were extra hospitable. Two thumbs up in my book and I know my guests agreed.

September 12, 2009


Maxwell's, American Bar and Grille
501 Main St
Islip, NY 11751-3520
(631) 210-0011

My fiancee and I had just finished meeting with a wedding vendor on Tuesday night and the prospect of making dinner after working and traveling and viewing photos was a bit too much for us, so we decided to grab a bite to eat at Maxwell's (a Lessing's restaurant).

We were looking for dinner, so Wings were not going to be the main course, but a small appetizer seemed like a great idea. They have multiple flavors of wings from Ginger Teriyaki to Chipotle BBQ. I figured that the Wingmen should make a trip here, so I just ordered them hot. They did not disappoint.

They were really good wings. Cooked perfectly, crispy and juicy and came out piping hot. The hot sauce tasted great and was quite spicy. They also came out with celery and bleu cheese dressing. I suggest going there, but I suggest that the Wingmen head there soon. It is also across the street from Lily Flannigans in Islip, which was suggested by one of our fans on our facebook page.

A more in depth review will be made when the Wingmen make it out to Islip.


8211 Eliot Ave
Flushing, NY 11379-1436
(718) 476-8444‎

There are many ways to rate hot wings, and as far as taste goes, Kelly's has pretty good wings. They were cooked well, spiced ok and tasted good. Here is the problem, the review does not end just there. But before I go any further, let me tell you a bit more about Kelly's.

When Jeremy lived in Middle Village, we used to go there quite often. We would go after baseball games, meet up for a drink or head there for dinner. Up until last week, I had never tried the wings. The place is a local hangout and I have never seen it too packed, but always has a nice crowd. The people who work there have always been pleasant and helpful.

Jeremy moved a while ago and I had not been back since. The place was completely different. They renovated, created an outdoor patio in the back and made the bar area much larger. They updated the jukebox and added darts, which turned into a long game of Assassins, Jody can explain the rules to you, since, for the life of me, I can't remember them.

Now that you have an idea of what Kelly's is like, let's begin the review. Kelly's has $.20 wing night on Wednesdays, so we ordered 40 and the three of us began eating. The wings were cooked well. They were pretty crispy, cooked all the way through and juicy on the inside. Kelly's has Mild, Medium and Hot wings. As we were discussing the heat level, the bartender chimed in with "the hot is not very hot," so we ordered them all hot and he was right. They had a nice flavor and were a bit spicy, but I was disappointed with the heat level. I do fear that if they made them hotter, they would have tasted a lot worse, but that is just me.

The bad part of the review. I don't know if they were bad wings, or if they were cooked with way too much butter, but a few hours after consumption of these wings, they turned on me. Without getting graphic, I'll just say that the after affects of the wings were not what I would have wanted and I need to warn all of you about it. That, combined with the weakness of the spice and the mediocre taste makes these wings quite pedestrian.

I definitely do not suggest heading to Kelly's for the wings. I do, however, suggest going there to grab a beer and eat a burger. Sorry Kelly's, I suggest rethinking your wing recipe.

August 12, 2009

Miller's Ale House

Miller's Ale House
3046 Hempstead Turnpike
Levittown, NY 11756

The latest stop on our tour to sample the tastiest wings around was Miller's Ale House in Levittown, NY.  I'll just get right to it -- they were damn good.  I don't think I'd be going out on too much of a limb here by saying they were the best we've encountered on our young mission.  

Miller's offers 8 different varieties of wings:  4 of the 'hot' category (mild, medium, hot and Mt. St. Helens), garlic, bbq, sweet and sour and honey mustard.  Since Steve was running a little late (Congrats Aunt Lauren) Jeremy and I did the ordering and went with Mt. St. Helens (of course), garlic and honey mustard.

First, the Mt. St. Helens.  Finally, a hot wing that was hot.  I don't think a hot wing should be so hot that you need to sign a waiver to eat one...however, sweat beads on your forehead after you've stacked a couple of bones in your bowl is a must and Mt. St. Helens delivered.  It took Jeremy about five wings to break a sweat while Steve was perspiring after a couple of bites.  Some might call him lesser of a man, but it was humid out so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  I think I came in somewhere in the middle.  Aside from the heat, the Mt. St. Helens had some great, peppery flavor, a solid amount of meat and were nicely cooked -- crispy outside with a moist and tender inside.  They had a generous coat of sauce that formed a dipping reservoir in the bottom of the bowl for those looking for a little extra kick.  I'm not really sure what else you can look for in a wing.

Next up, the garlic.  This wing had a very potent flavor that hit you in the face before the meat even touched your lips -- I mean, it's garlic right?  Although Jeremy and Steve really seemed to enjoy this one (am I right guys?), I was a little more on the fence.  I love garlic, so it definitely had that going for it...but it was very buttery/oily.  Think of it as a buffalo wing scampi.  If you like a scampi where you need your napkin after every bite, or spaghetti and broccoli where the olive oil is running down your fork hand, you'll love these wings.  I liked them, but they were my third favorite of the night.  I also thought, in contrast to the very wet coat, that the wing itself was a little over-cooked and dried out.  I'm going to assume that this isn't the norm though since the rest of the wings were cooked just fine.

Finally, the breakthrough performer of the night.  The dark horse.  The surprising upset.  The honey mustard buffalo wing.  They were meaty and dripping with honey mustard and I couldn't keep my hand out of the bowl.  They were awesome.  I was honestly craving them the next day.  The flavor was so good, they were large and cooked just right.  I could go for a dozen right now, my mouth is watering.  I guess this goes to show us that it doesn't have to be off the charts on the Scolville Scale to be a good wing.  Lesson learned.

As for the other factors, it was pretty crowded but we had no problem grabbing a couple of seats at the bar.  Once the bartender realized we were there, she was on top of things and made sure we were taken care of.  I think there was a 30 minute wait or so for a table though.  The Yanks/Sawx game was on, so that might have had something to do with it.  Pricing was so/so.  I think an order of 50 (which can only be broken up into different flavors as 25/25) was around 26 bucks.  Not breaking the bank, but not 10 cent wings either.  

Alright Nassau County, you're on the map and, so far, topping the list.  But don't worry, there's still lots of time for another pub to knock Miller's Ale House off of it's throne and steal the crown (I'm looking at you, Grumpy Jack).

July 28, 2009


The Wingmen love their fans! Facebook is a funny site and will only allow a page to have a username if they have 100 fans. We are happy to announce that we have reached that and then some... currently 109 Fans!!! Thank you all!

Our new username is

Pass the word to all of your friends and lets keep getting bigger! There are tons of wings to eat out there!

July 27, 2009

Station Square, Pittsburgh

Buckhead Saloon
Station Square, Pennsylvannia
Buckhead Saloon is a typical 'Sports bar' located in the middle of Station Square, Pittsburgh, PA. The area itself is mostly bars that cater to audiences from 21 to 35 during the night time scene. Some 'Sports bars' turned into mini-clubs and attracted all the locals from the neighboring areas. Some bars, like this one, got packed.
I had the opportunity to check Buckhead's out during lunch time. They offered a variety of wings including: BBQ, Teriyaki, Mild and Hot. The hot wings lived up to their name. They were 'freakin' hot. After about 4, you broke into a sweat and your lips were burning. It was awesome. They offered four quantities: 10 pc., 20 pc., 50 pc., and 100 pc. The meat on the bone was abundant and the price was fair (7.95 for 10). The wings had a crisp to them with a moist center. Absolutely a 5 on a 1 to 5 scale. No flaws in these hot wings with the exception of the after-math. In addition, the scene was perfect for a lunch outing. Nice and quiet with just enough people around you. T.V.s all over the place with an extremely friendly staff. If you are one for more people, wait until dinner time and the place jams up. And if you don't mind trying to mingle with wingsauce on your face, wait until club hours and dance with a wing in your hand. I'm sure the locals love it.

July 21, 2009

Cassidy's Pub

Cassidy's Pub
1367 Newbridge Road
North Bellmore, NY 11710

In honor of Jeremy’s birthday, we ventured out to Cassidy’s Pub in North Bellmore, NY. Cassidy’s is a small pub and a local hangout for the people of Bellmore. It is not trendy, does not draw a large crowd and is a great place to go just to chill, drink some beer and eat some good, fried, pub food. Like Dempsey’s, this is place that the three of us have been to before and, having enjoyed the atmosphere and experience, will continue to frequent.

Now, just because we were celebrating a birthday didn’t mean that Jeremy, Jody and I couldn’t review the wings at Cassidy’s. In fact, what kind of Wingmen would we be if we didn’t eat wings in a small Irish pub? Not very good ones, that’s for sure.

Cassidy’s has buffalo wings on their appetizer menu in two different flavors; BBQ and Hot. We ordered both and they came garnished with bleu cheese and celery. Many places that serve wings seem to have forgotten about the celery. It is a nice touch for presentation purposes, but also will help cool off a burning mouth from very spicy wings. The bleu cheese was also real bleu cheese and not bleu cheese dressing. It was chunky and, from what I hear, delicious (I didn’t try it). Cassidy’s was already doing well and we hadn’t even tried a wing yet. Kudos Cassidy’s, kudos.

As for the review, I’ll start by saying that they were very good. They were cooked well, a little crispy and the BBQ sauce was very tasty. The hot sauce was not very hot at all, but, flavor-wise, tasted great. I was looking for a little bit more of a kick from them, so that was a bit disappointing. Too many times wings fall into one of two categories, either they are too hot, but not very tasty, or, like Cassidy’s, not hot at all, but very tasty. I prefer the latter, but love being surprised by the combination of very hot and very good.

Since it was not just the three of us at Cassidy’s, we got a lot of good suggestions from our friends about reviewing wings (which I will mark with an * in the Overall Rating) and new ideas that we will be trying out in the future.

Overall Rating

Taste/Flavor: As stated above, they were great tasting wings. The BBQ was tangy and did not taste like it came out of a jar. The hot also tasted really good and just needed a bit more of a kick.

Heat: The hot wings were disappointingly mild and did not live up to their spicy billing on the menu. Hot wings need to be spicy.

Size*: A new category which we have referenced in past reviews. Cassidy’s wings were small, 2 bite wings. They are on the appetizer menu and you get about a dozen in each order, but bigger would have been better.

Crispiness*: Again, as we ate, friends of ours suggested that crispiness needed to be a category for the review of wings because to cook them well enough to be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside is not an easy task. Cassidy’s did a good job, but they could have been a bit crispier.

Variety*: Variety was also something our friends said we should use as a criteria for judging the wings. Cassidy’s had two varieties, BBQ and Hot and both were very good.

Price: $6.95 for the wings appetizer, about a dozen wings (~$.60 per wing).

Service: The bartender and wait-staff were attentive and speedy with everything. The wings came out piping hot and drink orders were refilled almost instantly.

Atmosphere*: This is also a new category that has been mentioned in past reviews (read the Johnny Famous review from 7/19/09). Cassidy’s has a very comfortable and local feel to it. It was a Saturday night and the place was not packed, we had all the room we needed and the people who work there treat you really well. You could bring your family there for dinner, then stick around for a few drinks and watch the game.

Specials: I didn’t see any wing specials, but they did have $1.00 off everything during Happy Hour.

Rating: We gave Cassidy’s 3 ½ stars out of 5 for the overall wing experience. If the wings were spicier, larger and crispier, the rating may have been better.

July 19, 2009

Johnny Famous

Johnny Famous
40-05 Bell Blvd.
Bayside, NY 11361

I was skeptical of this bar from the very beginning. While they were building it, I thought it felt too gimmicky for a bar in Bayside (it has a Western theme and a mechanical bull). When it opened, they had velvet ropes lined up (no people to coral, just the ropes) and bouncers in black suits and ear pieces. Again, this bar is in Bayside - not the meat packing district - but blue collar, small-town-feeling Bayside. Strike 1.

However, there was a sign outside advertising 10 cent wings (1/2 the price of Dempsey's on the same night) and bikini bull riding. Obviously this sounded like a job for the Wingmen. Jeremy, Steve and I found a spot at the bar, ordered some beer and promptly looked for the menu. They promoted their latest hot wing sauce which they dubbed "Red Stag". Sounds impressive, we'll take 30 - hot. The wings came out pretty quickly, were steaming and looked very appetizing. They emitted a great smell that burned my nose hairs a bit - however, they'd get mixed reviews.

The plus: I thought they were perfectly cooked. They had a nice amount of crisp on the outside, but weren't over cooked on the inside. They were also very big and meaty - well worth 10 cents apiece.

The minus: The Red Stag sauce. It was very different from the usual hot sauce and butter concoction of a typical wing. It tasted tomato based, maybe made with ketchup. At first I was intrigued. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. About ten wings later I decided it was too much tomato for me and I wasn't a big fan...especially when I realized that all that great heat that I smelled was nonexistent in my mouth. There was no kick whatsoever, and we ordered them hot.

Overall, the combination of the velvet ropes, black suited bouncers, and loud club music added to the less than stellar wings is enough to keep me away from Johnny Famous for a round 2 - even at 10 cents per wing. We went there, tried them and checked the place off our long list...but I think it's safe to say that none of the Wingmen will be back. Oh, and we left before the tops came off!

Overall Rating

Taste/Flavor: The "Red Stag" sauce did not live up to its billing. Tasted too much like ketchup and not enough like a wing sauce. All in all, the flavor was bad.

Heat: We ordered them hot and they were barely mild. They smelled like they would be hot and just did not live up to the aroma.

Price: $.10 per wing on Wednesday night is a great deal for good wings, but if they were free next wednesday, I still would not go back.

Service: The bartender that helped us was O.K., nothing to write home about. She seemed to ignore our side of the bar, which irritated some people next to us. We received our wings and drinks in a relatively timely manner.

Specials: How can you go wrong with with $.10 wings, $2.00 Domestic Pints and Bikini Bull Riding at 10:00PM on Wednesday nights? Serve horrible wings and by 11:00 PM still have had no one ride the bull.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars. The bad "Red Stag" sauce and horrible atmosphere of Johnny Famous completely overshadowed that the wings were large and cooked well. Sorry Johnny Famous, but the Wingmen are not fans.

July 18, 2009

Follow us on Twitter

We are getting high-tech and have created a Twitter page. We will now tweet everytime we are out reviewing wings!

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July 16, 2009

Rating System

In our first post we used a 5 Star rating system, 1 being really bad and 5 being exceptional.  

We find the star system to be a bit boring, so we are looking for your assistance.  Please help us by suggesting a better rating system.  There are a few ways you can contact us with your suggestions:

Email us:,

Become a fan of the Wingmen on Facebook and send us a message,

Or just comment on this post.

Thanks for your help!!!

Brain Dempsey's

Brian Dempsey's
American Ale House
39-31 Bell Blvd.
Bayside, NY 11361

The first place we decided to go to and kick off this blog was never even in question.  It had to be Dempsey's on Bell Blvd. in Bayside, Queens.  We've been going there on wednesday nights for wing and draft specials for years, so it only made sense to start there.  I met up with my fellow wingmen, Steve and Jeremy, where we scarfed down 15 hot wings, 15 teriyaki wings and 15 BBQ wings.  

Here's what I thought:

The wings themselves were very small.  Sometimes when we go there, we joke around and rate the wings at what we perceive to be their monetary value.  It used to be 10 cents for a wing but, after the economy tanked, they were forced to raise - no, double - their prices to 20 cents per wing...still not a bad deal when you couple it with their $3 domestic drafts.  So some nights we say we're getting a 10 cent wing, some nights we're lucky enough to get 20 cent wings and sometimes we get 3 cent wings.  Tonight was a 3 cent wing night.  They were tiny.  Two bites and done.

As far as taste is concerned, it was a good night.  The hot had a good amount of flavor. Not a lot of kick, which would have made them better, but the flavor was definitely there.  The BBQ was surprisingly good.  I remember not being too crazy about them last time we had them, but this time they seemed to be the favorite of the group (I still preferred the hot). The only disappointment was the teriyaki.  I'm a little biased since I've had them before and they're usually my favorite.  Tonight they seemed to be heavier on the sugar and lighter on the salt then usual.  Teriyaki is usually a nice blend of sweet and salty, but my personal preference leans a little toward the salty side.

All-in-all, you can't go wrong with Dempsey's.  It's probably my favorite bar in Bayside and I'll definitely be back - hopefully for some salty Teriyaki wings of the 20 cent variety.

Overall Rating:

Taste/Flavor: We all agreed that the Hot Wings tasted good, the BBQ were surprisingly good and the the Teriyaki wings were a bit weak.  Dempsey's has great wings... all flavors.

Heat: The hot at Dempsey's are spicy, so if you don't like heat, order the mild.

Price:  On Wednesday's the wings are $.20 each, as compared to about $.50 each on the appetizer menu ($7.95 for about 13-15 wings).

Service: The service was great, but has been suspect in the past.

Specials: Wednesday night is $.20 Wing Night and $3.00 Domestic Pints.

Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5) because of the size of the wings and disappointing teriyaki flavor.