September 19, 2010

Blind Tiger Ale House

281 Bleecker St.
New YorkNY 10014

Craving wings, but running out of places to try in SoHo, I took advantage of the nice weather and crossed Houston St. into the West Village (along with my co-worker, Chris).  I've heard of Blind Tiger Ale House a few times on various "best of" lists so I've wanted to try them for a while.  This microbrewery has a cool old school vibe accentuated by the use of wood from a 19th century farm house (according to this article in New York magazine).  It's really cozy, the type of place you enjoy spending some time in.

... and the bottles.
The chalk board menu
for draught beers...
Luckily for us, when we ordered we were told the wings were baked, not fried, so they were going to take a little while to prepare.  It was clear by the boards posted on the walls that there was an outstanding selection of beers.  Since I'm always a fan of making a slightly negative situation positive, we decided to sample some of the brews.  They have over 30 rotating beers on tap and an almost countless amount by the bottle.  I decided to spend my wait with the Alagash White.

After about a half an hour, the wings came out.  They absolutely lived up to the hype and were worth the wait.  Obviously, since they are baked, they are not going to have that crispiness that we usually demand of a wing.  This would be the only negative though and I was happy to make an exception.  Baking does give you a nice and tender meat though, and these were fall of the bone tender.  The flavor was pretty unique, although there were some similarities to Mike's Place wings (which are right around the top of my list).  Maybe it was Italian dressing?  What separated it from Mike's though, was a nice smokey flavor - probably chipotle.  They also had a nice, creeping kick.  It doesn't get you right away, but the heat does sneak in and kick you in the mouth after a minute or two.  To me, this was an exceptional blend of flavor and spice.  The sauce was "suck-off-the-bone" good.  I'd probably drink it out of a cup.  Well, probably not.  But still, it's really tasty.  

So, head-to-head, I'd give Mike's the advantage in crispiness while Blind Tiger gets the nod in heat and a slight edge in flavor.  Did Blind Tiger Ale House just knock Mike's Place Too off the top of my list?  Hm, I think they did.

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