183 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10012
Last Friday, Steve schlepped into the city and met me at work. We wanted to hit a couple of top notch wing spots - no, the best wing spots. Whenever I ask Google to tell me who has the best wings in New York City, I end up seeing a slue of different pubs and dive bars. It's a little daunting. There are 23 square miles packed with all kinds of places to choose from, and everyone has their favorite. I did seem to notice a couple of places that were mentioned more than others though. My less than scientific research told me that if we were to hit two places that night (and that was our plan), we should try 1849 in The Village and Blondie's on the Upper West Side. We didn't exactly make it to Blondie's. We actually ended up at Manny's on the Upper East Side which used to be Blondie's but...well, Steve will tell you all about it. He's got that review. First though, we hoofed it over to The Village to check out 1849.
As you can probably tell by the name, 1849 has an old Western gold rush theme. It might sound a little gimmicky, like something you'd see in Times Square, but I thought it actually worked well and was a cozy place. Instead of a bunch of tables set up outside of the bar area, 1849 has plush couches and ottomans set up in circles. It was a little more comfortable than your standard pub and probably not a bad spot to settle in for the night. Adding to the mood are buffalo heads mounted on the wall and antler chandeliers dangling from the ceiling... so, you know, they've got that going for them.
On to the wings. We started out slow. If we were going to sample multiple spots, we'd have to pace ourselves. We ordered a plate of the "Gold Rush" wings and a couple of beers. It's worth pointing out that the waitress was pretty helpful here. Steve is a big fan of Hoegaarden, which is a wheat beer and not all that common on tap. He asked the waitress what they had that was similar and she gave a couple of recommendations. I always like when you can talk beer with a bartender/waiter like people talk about wine because, well, you should be able to do that. Anyway, the wings came out and they had a very familiar taste.
They were tender, well cooked, flavorful and lightly breaded. Yup, we each took one bite and thought, "Hooters". I do think they're a little better than Hooter's wings. The breading is a little lighter and they are not as greasy. So for all of you guys who tell your GF's/wives that you only go to Hooters for the food, you may not want to mention this place to them. Better wings, no orange shorts. But if you don't like Hooters wings, or just breaded wings in general, you're probably going to want to stay away from these. I do like breaded wings though - I know, I know... blasphemy. Don't worry, I think they're better "naked" as they say, but it's nice to mix it up every once in a while. We both enjoyed them and should have stopped there and moved on to Blondie's, er, Manny's. But of course, we didn't.
The lightly breaded Gold Rush wings.
Against our better judgement and our prior experiences with BBQ wings, we decided to order a plate of their other flavor. This is where Steve and I have differing opinions. He thought they were too sweet and pretty awful. I thought they were the best BBQ wings we've had so far. I also believe that the best BBQ is still worse than the worst Teriyaki (maybe a bit of an exaggeration) but all-in-all I still thought they were pretty decent. I definitely prefer the Gold Rush, but I'd eat the BBQ again.
Our nemesis, the BBQ wing. I thought they were ok... Steve? Not so much.
Were these the best wings in NYC? Probably not. But they were good, the beer selection was large, flat screen TV's were showing all the local sports teams in action, the juke box was playing good music and it was an overall cool environment. I'll be back. That's the thing though... it's probably going to be impossible to find the best wings in NYC. But we sure can have a good time trying. Would Manny's be any better? We grabbed our metro cards and headed out the door to find out...