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.

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