Yes, this is what happens when you have a site run by a bunch of dudes... we forget anniversaries and birthdays, even our own. Our first post went up on July 16th, 2009. We wanted to have some sort of event to celebrate. Maybe take over a bar and have wing and beer specials all night. Well, our birthday came and went. We didn't even realize it until the guys at Our List asked to interview us for our one year mark. There were no parties, no cakes, no streamers.
However, we did manage to come up with our lists of top 5 wing joints. These lists (we each came up with our own) are not meant to be the be-all-end-all. They're more of a conversation starter. As you can see, we rarely even agree with each other so, chances are, you guys may have some discrepancies as well. Feel free to pass along your top choices. There are still thousands of places dishing out wings that we haven't visited yet. If you don't see your favorite on any of our lists, most likely we haven't been there yet... Either that, or you have terrible taste in wings.
So, without further ado (or any fanfare), I give you our lists - year one edition:
1. O'Neills, Maspeth, Queens. Bar/restaurant offers a wide variety such as honey mustard, jack daniels, traditional-mild, medium, hot, garlic butter, cajun, teriyaki, and some more but drawing a blank. Good meat to bone ratio and the sauces are excellent. Decent service, great atmosphere. Offers valet parking. 4 dollar plates for 10 wings on Monday nights.
2. Hooters, Anywhere. Hot 911 flavor. Can't go wrong. Sauce is excellent, excellent meat to bone ratio. Atmosphere is unbeatable. A little pricey and obviously there are a ton of locations. Gives you the option of going naked and east meadow hosts western wednesdays.
3. Candlelight, Scarsdale, NY. Wings come conjoined. Not breaded. Hot sauce has a lot of kick but not anything that would hinder you from eating only hot in abundance. Service is so-so and the joint is kind of hole-ish. Bit of a dive, but I like that. No specials that I can speak of and the prices are decent.
4. Longhorns, Rockville Center. Chipotle BBQ. Meat was abundant as well as enough crisp on the outside with excellent moisture inside. Flavor had a kick to it as well. Actually went back to have the wife try and they were given the thumbs up. Atmosphere was cool. Kind of a texas thing going on and the service was great.
5. Hurricane Wings, Port Jeff Station. Ridiculously Hot. The hottest I've had so far. Only ordered and ate six and paid for it the next day. Even saw one of my buddies try one, turned red and threw the towel in. Great service, decent prices but were always running out of beers. Meat isn't as abundant as the rest but it didn't matter. Anything larger would have killed me.
1. Blind Tiger Ale House - West Village, NYC
The only thing keeping these from being the perfect wing is a little crisp - they're baked. They've got great flavor, moist and tender meat and just the right amount of kick. Probably my favorite so far.
2. Mike's Place Too - Mastic, NY
These could just as easily been my top choice. They're actually very similar to Blind Tiger plus they have the crisp. The only thing they're missing is the kick. If I could just mix the two together. Special mention to Grumpy Jacks and Coach's Corner. All three locations had the same recipe at one time or another. We have plans to visit Grumpy's soon. Maybe they'll make the 2nd Anniversary list.
3. Mooncake Foods - Soho, NYC
These wings are unlike any other I've had. Like all of Mooncake's dishes, the Asian inspired flavors are infused into the meat and somehow makes it seem as if you're tasting it from the inside out - if that makes any sense. They are huge, meaty and come conjoined. Definitely an under appreciated wing.
4. Virgil's Real Barbecue - Times Square, NYC
I have finally turned over a new leaf and can appreciate a good BBQ wing, and I have Virgil's to thank for it. These are the real deal, no overly sweet and sticky, ketchup based sauces here. They're slow smoked to perfection and rubbed with a mixture of spices to compliment but not overpower the BBQ sauce. I'm sure there are people out there that will say Dinosaur BBQ or Blue Smoke is better. Well, I haven't been to either of those yet so Virgil's is the default king of BBQ... so far.
5. Black Rock Tavern - Yaphank, NY
Just a towny bar in a small town, cooking wings the right way. They're simple, but good and can be made to order. This was one of my favorite spots of the last year for a basic, traditional, Buffalo style chicken wing. I'm sure there are many that can compete for the final spot here, but Black Rock just stands out to me so I'm giving it to them.
Honorable Mention: Cabo, Bourbon Street, Canz, 1849, PJ Carney's.
1- Nicky's of Centerport: Centerport, NY
When it comes down to making buffalo wings, you can do no better than Nicky's. They are piping hot, cooked to perfection, drenched in sauce and spiced perfectly... not too mild, not too hot, just plain old perfect. To top that off, it is just a completely local and welcoming bar that is full of characters and just plain great people. They are famous for their wings, but you'll go back for the company.
2- Bourbon Street: Bayside, NY
If you are looking for some New Orleans inspired cuisine, Bourbon Street is the place for you. They have Cajun just about everything and the wings are no exception. They take your traditional buffalo wing sauce and spice it up with some traditional Cajun spice. The mixture of hot sauce, butter, salt and Cajun spices are phenomenal and you won't be sorry you ordered them.
3- Lisa's Buffalo Grille: Greenlawn, NY
Lisa's would be higher on my list if the wings were bigger. Their hot sauce is amazing and super spicy, the honey mustard is great, teriyaki is salty, sweet and close to perfection and the Cajun wings are a great change from sauced wings. They have an amazing dry rub on them that has my wife asking me to get wings a lot more than before she tired them. I'm not complaining.
4- Brian Dempsey's: Bayside, NY
This was our go-to place before we started this project and always worth a trip on Wednesday Nights, which is Wing Night. $00.20 wings and $3.00 pints of domestic beers. Their wing sizes vary from week to week, which dropped them in my list, but the hot wings are usually some of the best in Bayside and the teriyaki are also forces to be reckoned with. They even have a good BBQ wing, which is strange because I really don't like BBQ sauces. The service even seems to have picked up a bit lately.
5- Cabo: Rockville Centre, NY
At the suggestion of Jimmy Junior on our Facebook page, Jody and I checked out this place and we were impressed. The sauce they use was nothing we have ever tried before and the wings they serve are huge. The sauce is a tamarind and pepper blend that melds sweet and spicy in a tropical way that has a late burn to your mouth which is soothed by the tropical tamarind fruit flavor. Completely intriguing flavors in a pretty cool restaurant.
Honorable mentions- Longhorns- RVC, Barefoot Peddler- Greenvale, Miller's Ale House- Levittown, Cavanaugh's- Bluepoint