June 01, 2010

Bar 89

89 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012

The next stop on my recent tour of SOHO brought me to Bar 89 on Mercer St. just South of Spring St. I knew nothing of this place when I first set out, other than it was nearby and served wings. When I first walked in, I thought I might have had the wrong place. As you can see by the picture, it's not exactly the type of place that you would expect to find wings being served. It felt more like a chic loft club than anything that resembled a pub. I felt a little out of place and underdressed, luckily I ordered them to go.

What really attracted me to this place was their combo platter. Once I see that on a menu, I'm sold - LOVE the combo platter. Bar 89's platter included all three flavors of their wings: Buffalo, Dragon and Buck'N Wings. The combo platter also comes with a side of waffle fries, which I thought were a pretty nice touch.

The buffalo were nothing special. They were a bit on the dry side, not very meaty and could have used more sauce. They seemed a little saltier than most Buffalo sauces I've had, but I actually liked that.

The Buck'N Wings, described on Bar 89's website as a teriyaki and spice glaze, were also a little on the small and dry side. The sauce is tough to judge because, like the Buffalo wings, there wasn't a whole lot on the wing. From what I could tell, it was a pretty average teriyaki sauce.

The Dragon Wings, which Bar 89 calls "full of the Orient", were easily the best of the group. They had two things going for them, in my opinion, that made them the clear winner. First, they were larger which means they weren't dried out in the middle. Instead, they were plump and moist. Second, they had a much more generous coating of sauce. I like that for the obvious reason of stronger flavor, but I also like that the excess sauce burns just a little and gives it that nice char flavor that we're always looking for. Flavor wise, these were a little sweet. Not quite as sweet as BBQ or Honey, but definitely toward that side of the spectrum.

Although the service was good and the maitre d' was friendly, I just don't see this place being a go-to destination for wings. Just the fact that I just typed "maitre d'" on a blog about wings seems a bit odd. There is pub grub on the menu but the surroundings are anything but... and the prices reflect that. I got about 30 wings and it set me back 40 bucks. The rest of the menu was just as pricey.

If you have to satisfy a craving for some pub grub, but need a trendy, chic environment then this is your place. If not, I'd recommend just hitting one of the numerous other pubs in the area.

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