March 30, 2011

The Wellington In Middle Island Is Gutted By Overnight Fire

"A longtime local tavern with deep roots in the Middle Island community, Wellington Bar and Grill is likely no more after an overnight fire gutted the inside of the watering hole early Wednesday." (North Shore Sun)
Well this is sad news for wing enthusiasts. The Wellington has been on our list for a while, but we just don't get the chance to get that far out East for wings too often. Has anyone eaten there before? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

March 28, 2011

UPDATE: South Houston

331 W. Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Wingmen favorite South Houston in SoHo has added a couple new flavors to their menu. In addition to their grilled Buffalo and Apricot-Peach BBQ wings, they now offer honey mustard and teriyaki - two of my personal favorites. Jeremy and I gave the honey mustard a try on Friday and they live up to the original flavors. I can't wait to try the teriyaki.

March 25, 2011

Genesis Bar and Restaurant

Upper East Side
Genesis Restaurant and Bar
1708 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10128

After reading through some of our reviews, lately, it seems that we are a bunch of homers that love every place we have been to.  And the truth is, we go to places that you, the Wingmen Faithful, suggest because you love those places.  So of course the wings are good.  We have not been blindly just stopping in a place and testing out their wings.  Well, Jody and I stopped at Genesis Bar and Restaurant the other night without any recommendations, without knowing what the place was like and not knowing if their wings would be any good.  This is what happened...

We were on the upper east side and decided to look for wings.  We saw the menu outisde of the restaurant and liked what Genesis promised: Genesis Jumbo Chicken Wings- Buffalo, BBQ, Bourbon Street, Korean Style and Bayou (their to-go menu has Southwestern on there as well, but the restaurant did not offer this selection).  We were stoked, starting planning what we'd try and went inside.

After sitting down and ordering our beer, we finally decised on Buffalo because we had to, Korean Style because Jody loves the Asian flavors and Bayou because I love Cajun wings.  We stayed away from BBQ and Bourbon Street because they seemed similar and too sweet. 

Here is what was GOOD about the wings: They were jumbo, they were cooked well, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Hot Wings?
Here is what was BAD about the wings:  EVERYTHING ELSE!  I mean, honestly, how do you fuck up buffalo sauce?  It is clarified butter and hot sauce.  That is it!  They were sweet and had zero heat to them.  Buffalo wings should not be sweet.  The Korean Style wings were even sweeter, sickly sweet.  Authentic chili and garlic sauce my ass!  It tasted like Karo syrup with a sweet soy sauce.  They were, in my opinion, disgusting.  The Bayou wings were fried chicken wings.  They were described as a dry rub by the waitress, but there was no rub.  They were bland fried chicken wings.  They even came with a bland sauce that did nothing to the taste excpet make them wetter.  Kentucky Fried Chicken wings are worlds better than these were.  They were also $8.00 per plate of 8 wings, so not only were they horrible, but they cost $1.00 each.


The place itself was nice and had a good beer selection, but I cannot recommend this place's wings.  Just horrid.  This place is NOT Wingmen Approved.

On a funny note, as our wings arrived, the women sitting at the table next to ours looked over and said "I think I'm going to throw up," and we are not sure if they knew the wings were bad, thought three plates of wings were just plain disgusting, or just didn't like Jody and I.  I guess we'll never know.

Something clever about bad Korean Style wings?

March 18, 2011

Kabooz's Bar and Grill

Penn Station
2nd Floor, Amtrak Terminal

Just another late night in Penn Station, looking for a place to grab a beer and some wings. Everyone knows about Tracks, and for good reason. There is a lesser known pub upstairs though called Kabooz's. I've never had the wings there so I decided to give them a shot.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. They were lightly breaded which is not a deal breaker by any means in my not-so-traditional book. The sauce was much lighter than what I'm used to seeing. It almost looked like a cream sauce that you'd find on penne al la vodka or something like that. Don't worry, the comparison is for appearance only. There was a pretty significant amount of heat, but it didn't overpower the strong flavors. They were cooked very well with a bit of crisp to the skin.

Not too shabby for an uncrowded pub tucked in the corner of the second floor of Penn Station. They certainly blow Tracks' wings out of the water. While I can't crown them the best wings in NYC, I am willing to crown them the best wings in Penn Station. For now at least.

March 16, 2011

The Mermaid Oyster Bar

79 MacDougal St.
New York, NY 10012

Last weekend was date night for me and the Mrs., so we headed into The Village to one of our favorite little restaurants, The Mermaid Oyster Bar. It's not an overly stuffy establishment but certainly a little classier than the bars and pubs we usually write about. It was voted "Best New Seafood Restaurant" by Time Out New York Magazine last year after all. However, they do have excellent happy hour specials and the staff is not afraid to promote them. Oysters, lobster sliders, shrimp corndogs, fish tacos and, of course, lollipop chicken wings. We were in the mood to pick at a bunch of finger foods, so I did my civic duty and asked for the wings.

These were by far the "fanciest" wings I've had so far. The meat is pulled mostly off the bone towards the shoulder of the wing, giving it the appearance of a lollipop. As you can see, they were served meat down and bone up, not unlike the way you typically see lamb chops served. In the center of the plate was a celery and cucumber salad, which I thought was an interesting take on the common celery side. There was also chunks of bleu cheese distributed around the plate. Bonus points for presentation.

The bunched up meat made the wing super neat and extremely easy to eat (no Trongs necessary for these guys). The sauce was based off the traditional blend but had a really nice amount of sneaky heat. I'd go so far as to call it a creeper sauce. I really loved the bleu cheese. It added a great burst of flavor that was a little more concentrated than what you get from dipping in dressing. The only real problem I had was, due to the meat being all bunched up, they were a tad undercooked. I don't know if it was a one time thing or if that's the norm but all the other food is cooked perfectly so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. We're dealing with chicken here though and most people are smart enough to avoid pushing your luck with undercooked poultry. I, however, am not one of those people and I decided to forge ahead... stay the course. It's due in part to my unbridled love of food, part due to my extreme hatred for wasting food but mostly due to the vow I took to uphold the code of The Wingmen. I have a duty to carry out. An obligation to the people. So, I finished the entire plate and I'm happy to report that my stomach did just fine.

We've been here a couple times now and absolutely love the place. It's cozy, has great food, super friendly service and incredible happy hour specials 7 days a week. Plus, they finish off each meal with a little sweet surprise. I can highly recommend it... even the lollipop wings. Just order extra oysters as a backup, just incase.

[Side note: while writing this review and poking around online, looking for the address and whatnot, I found out that Zach Braff is an investor in Mermaid Oyster Bar. The Chef, Laurence Edelman, is his high school friend.]

March 11, 2011

Old Fields Restaurant

Old Fields Restaurant
81 Broadway
Greenlawn, NY 11740
(631) 754-9868

Old Fields, established in 1956, had been closed for the majority of the time that I lived near there, but reopened recently and has been an overwhelming hit.  My wife and I have been there a few times and she has gone multiple times with her mom and dad as well.  We have ordered the skirt steak, lots of burgers, Guinness stew and even the desserts, but never the wings.  Finally, on our 1 year anniversary, we went back and I suggested that we try the wings.  My wife, being, as I have said, a huge Wingmen supporter, was game.

We had some champaign at the bar as we waited for our table to be ready.  Since reopening, Friday and Saturday nights have been packed.  This was the Sunday before President's Day and it was still mobbed.  We did not expect the 20 minute wait for our table, but didn't mind since we knew how good the food we were waiting for would be.

We ordered the hot wings and my wife ordered the filet mignon skewers and I had a burger.  The wings came out on the plate with celery, carrots and a cup of bleu cheese.  The sauce was a traditional buffalo sauce; a perfect combination of hot sauce and clarified butter generously coated over crispy, well cooked wings.  They were spicy, tasty and some of the best wings my wife and I have ever had.  They ran $8.95 for the plate of about 8-10 wings (I didn't count), so they were pricey, but worth the money.  They only have the one flavor and they come in just one temperature, but who cares when they taste that good.

That is a plate of perfection

My wife's filet skewers were AMAZING.  Medium rare and cooked to perfection, juicy and served with french fries.  My burger, and I know what you are thinking, "why would he get a burger when his wife orders filet?" and the truth is, until you have tasted one of their burgers, you just won't understand, was just plain awesome.  I don't know what they do to them, but they are like biting into heaven.  I had "The Greenlawn" burger which normally has cheddar, bacon and fried onions, but I switched out the cheddar for pepper jack cheese. If I wanted to, I could have added a fried egg to the burger too, but I was not that adventurous that night.  They have a long list of things that can be added and subtracted to the burgers, so you can make it your own.  I also had a side of onion rings, which were more like onion strings and delicious.  I love their burgers.

Old Fields Restaurant is Wingmen Approved.  Beyond that, if you find yourself on the north shore of Long Island in western Suffolk County, stop by and give the menu at Old Fields serious consideration.  The owners of Old Fields have opened a lot of successful restaurants, and they have done a fine job with the rebirth of this old Greenlawn favorite.  Enjoy.

Happy 1st year baby!

March 09, 2011

Elijah Churchill's Public House

Elijah Churchill's Public House
1031 Route 25A
Fort Salonga, NY 11768
(631) 261-9678

Elijah Churchill was a sergeant in the American Revolution who was one of three soldiers to receive the "Badge of Military Merit," or Purple Heart of the American Revolution.  Sergeant Churchill, who served in Connecticut, was in charge of a few raids that had him cross the LI Sound.  He and his company stormed both Fort St. George at Mastic and Fort Slongo near Northport.  He lead both these raids, fighting along side his men.  He was the only American soldier wounded in the raid on Fort Slongo. For his bravery, honor and injury, the 26 year old sergeant was the first American in history to receive the purple heart.

Elijah Churchill's Public House in Fort Salonga honors an American Hero by telling his story on their menu and website, and uses the original "Badge of Military Merit" as their logo.  Churchill's is a cozy, friendly and homey restaurant and bar.  They have live music, develop specials around various holidays, have a catering menu and are even allowing St. Baldrick's shavees to get 10% off their meal on a specific night (see their website for details).

Living near Elijah Churchill's, I had been meaning to get in there and review their wings for a while.  Jeremy decided to join me, so we met there and quickly ordered up some hot wings.  As we waited, a basket of soft hot pretzel rods were placed on the table.  Not knowing why and wondering if they were delivered to the wrong table, we looked at each other and I said, "I'm going for it."  Jeremy was very nervous, "Don't," he said, "I always get in trouble."  I grabbed one anyway, dipped it in the mustard cup and enjoyed.  They were well cooked, hot and the mustard was very spicy.  It was a very nice starter and a refreshing change from the normal bread one usually gets.
The pretzels that didn't get us in trouble

Then the wings arrived.  They came in a metal bucket, garnished with bleu cheese and celery, and were piping hot.  Jeremy and I dug in and were quickly pleased with the flavor.  They were crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and cooked to perfection.  The hot sauce was as traditional as it gets; hot sauce butter and hints of cayenne pepper.  They had a good kick, but weren't overpowering.  The spicy flavor after the salty pretzels got us ready for our meals.  They serve mild, hot, hotter, nuclear, teriyaki and BBQ style.  They are a bit pricey, at $8.99 for 8 wings, $12.99 for 12 and 20 wings for $17.99.  Trust me, worth the buck a wing price.
What a pretty bucket of wings

Jeremy ordered a burger and I grabbed a Skirt Steak Walla-Walla Sandy.  Both were well prepared and tasted great.  Jeremy thoroughly enjoyed his burger and fries.  I ordered the steak sandwich medium rare and it was great.  The fries and onion rings also did not disappoint.  I'd suggest it to anyone who asked.  They also have a decent beer selection and a very large menu that consists of burgers, salads, and lots of comfort food options.  Meatloaf, sauerbraten,  pot roast, turkey dinner, salmon and lobster ravioli; Elijah Churchill's will have a dish for any palate.  I feel like I have to mention "The Northporter" burger.  It is a pub creation that makes my mouth water and arteries clog at the same time.  It is a 1/2 lb. burger sandwiched between two bacon and tomato grilled cheese sandwiches and topped with sauteed onions.  Oh, and it comes with french fries.  Yeah... exactly.

Jeremy's Burger
Steve's Skirt Steak Sandwich

So head on down to Elijah Churchill's PublicHouse for some wings and and whatever else you are in the mood for, it is Wingmen approved.

March 07, 2011

Wings To Go

Wings To Go
400 Newark Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 459-6070

This review has been a long time coming, and I apologize for that, but I am back with a review from September.  This review started on the drive up to the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York.  Jody and I took off from Manhattan, through the Lincoln Tunnel and into Jersey.  Despite a couple of wrong turns, which is inevitable in New Jersey (I swear that the state of New Jersey turns while you drive in it.  Heading north?  Gotcha... you're going south!  Too far south and you hit the Jersey Shore, but no cheap shots about it being t-shirt time, GTL or grenade whistles... on to the review) we found Wings To Go.

The last time Jody and I ate at Wings to Go was close to a decade ago in York, PA.  We had gone down to play paintball with my brother and his friends.  Among them are Matt and Zak from the Our List Podcast.  I remember ordering buckets of wings... Honey Mustard, Hot Buffalo and Teriyaki I think. We were hooked then, but living in New York, we had no way to have them again without going back to York... or so we thought. Jody found one in Hoboken, NJ!

We started strong with a smörgåsbord of flavors that included Chesapeake Bay, Caribbean Jerk, Honey Mustard, and Parmesan Garlic.  Here's what we thought:

Chesapeake Bay:  Chesapeake Bay spice is typically used with sea food and the salty, peppery flavors really enhance crab and other seafood flavors.  At Wings To Go, we found a combination of salt, cayenne pepper, ground celery seed and sweet Hungarian paprika, mixed with clarified butter and tossed over wings.  We expected a bit more of a kick and it reminded us of a wet Cajun sauce.  All in all, the weakest of the flavors, but still worth a try, especially if you are a fan of sea food.
Chesapeake Bay

Caribbean Jerk: Caribbean Jerk is probably the most robust and ingredient filled recipe we tried that day.  Jerk flavoring is primarily pimento (or allspice)  and Scottish bonnet peppers (100,000-350,000 on the Scoville scale, just below the habanero chili) with a mixture of cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  At Wings To Go, this sauce was missing the heat of a mixture that contains Scottish bonnet peppers.  These wings were good, despite missing that kick.  Is it the best jerk chicken you'll ever have?  No.  Are they solid wings when you want something different?  Absolutely. 
Caribbean Jerk

Honey Mustard:  These were nostalgia on a plate.  Exactly what we remembered from York, PA and lived up to our fond memories.  The biggest problem with many honey mustard sauces is that they use too much honey and too little mustard.  The honey allows the sauce to stick to the wing better, but gives the sauce a sickly sweet edge.  I don't know how they do it, but Wings To Go has the recipe down.  They weren't too sweet, did not have an overpowering mustard flavor and yet, the sauce clung to the wings perfectly.  Although the wings were coated in sauce, their only knock was that there was no extra reservoir to dip into.  Get these wings, they are awesome.
Honey Mustard

Parmesan Garlic:  If there is an overall winner of this stop, it was easily the Parmesan Garlic.  These wings were saturated with butter and oil, heavily dusted with Parmesan cheese and slapped you in the face with their flavor.  It is well known that Parmesan Garlic is Jody's favorite, and it is safe to say that these passed his flavor test.  The generous amount of ingredients in this version helped to make these easily the best flavor of the day and well worth ordering.  One warning, if you are going to share a car with someone like Jody for the next 7 hours, be warned.  His Parmesan Garlic burbs could make a dead man open the door and jump out of a moving vehicle at 65 MPH.  Unbearable. 
Garlic Parmesan

The fear with going to Wings To Go was ruining our memory of their wings from about a decade ago.  Restaurant chains can vary significantly from one location to another.  This experience was a pleasant reminder that we liked Wings To Go for a reason.  Their vast menu of flavors, crispy (maybe double fried) wings, and multiple locations makes Wings To Go a great option when on the run and looking for more than just a hot wing.  Like Atomic Wings, Hurricane Grille and Wings, and WingZone, Wings To Go is a solid place and should be located in every college town.  

Check out any of their locations because Wings To Go is Wingmen approved.

March 06, 2011

St. Baldrick's Day: Pre-event Interview

With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, bars are gearing up for the "everyone is Irish today" holiday by buying extra Guinness, corn beef, cabbage and of course, wings.  Well, maybe that last one is a bit of stretch, but you catch my drift.  As important as all those things are, bars are also getting ready to help raise money for children's cancer research by breaking out hair buzzers and shaving their way to a cure.

According to their website, the St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

Two members of the Wingmen will be taking part in different St. Baldrick's Day events in New York and the following is part of an interview for Wing World Quarterly.*

I am sitting here with two members of the Wingmen, Jody and Steve, who will be shaving their heads in solidarity with kids suffering from all forms of cancer.  They are doing this as part of St. Baldrick's Day events and I caught up with them the other night while eating some wings and I asked them a few questions about their charitable work.

WWQ-   Hi Jody, Steve, how are you guys doing?
Jody-      Good
Steve-     Alright, how are you?

WWQ-   I'm just fine, thanks for asking.  So I was wondering, what made you guys decide to participate in such a worthy cause?
J-            Truth be told, I really need a haircut.  I knew about the event through Steve's participation last year, so I decided to grow my hair out as long as I could until March.  I've done some charity work before and really like the atmosphere when people come together to help other people.  It just seemed to make perfect sense to sign up for a St. Baldrick's event and they make it very easy to get involved.
S-            I actually work with students at a local college and one of them decided to run one at the school last year.  She asked me to shave my head.  I said sure and low and behold, the day was planned and we were on our way to raising money for childhood cancer research.  We pulled in just under $8,000 last year for the cause.  Doing so well, there was no way I could refuse the challenge to beat last year's mark.

WWQ-   When and where are you guys doing this?
J-             I'll be taking part in the Hero Celebration at The Boathouse in Central Park on March 16, 2011.  My shave time is set for 7:30 PM.  There are 30 active fundraisers (with 53 total signed up) so it should be a pretty exciting event.  I'm really looking forward to showing my support. 
S-             I'm taking part in Molloy College's event on March 7, 2011.  I don't have a scheduled time for the day, I'll be going when there is time during the hours of 10 and 5pm.  We have 19 shavees signed up, but we expect to have over 50 again this year.  Molloy relies on a lot of walk-ins.  They tend to see someone getting their head shaved, ask why and then donate some money for the "free" haircut.

WWQ-     What are your fundraising goals?
J-              I wasn't sure what to expect my first time out so I set my goal at $1,000.  It seemed like a substantial but reasonable amount. 
S              Last year I set a goal of $500 and reached it pretty quick.  I then upped the goal to $750 and raised $850.  After doing so well last year, I decided to up my goal to $1,500.

WWQ-     Have you reached it yet?
J-              As of right now, I'm at $900, so just $100 shy of the goal.  I've pretty much raised my funds in three separate bursts, each netting about a third of my goal.  I have a little under two weeks to go so I'm hoping that one last push will bring me to my mark or beyond.  
S-             Well, my event is close, tomorrow close, and I am still not quite at my goal.  I am currently at $1,381, just $119 more to go before the 7th.  Just made my least plea to my friends an family, so fingers crossed.

WWQ-     What is your favorite cartoon character(s)?
S-             I am not sure how that's relevant?
WWQ-     I am sorry, are you a reporter?  Did you go to journalist school?
S-             No, sorry, ummmm... Tom and Jerry.  How about you Jody?
J-              He-Man.  Obviously.

WWQ-     I must say, what you guys are doing is very commendable.  Any final words?
J-              St. Baldrick's has made this so easy and user friendly.  If you're looking to get involved, head to their website and sign up.  It's so simple and it really means so much to the kids.  Seriously, go sign up right now.
S-             There are literally dozens of bars, schools and other places running these events in New York.  It is a great thing they are doing and I encourage everyone to get involved.  Just the small gesture of shaving one's head can go a long way at helping a child with cancer smile.

The Wingmen serve as a reminder that it doesn't take much to do great things.  They are just a couple of regular guys who have raised over $2,000 in the last few weeks for kid's cancer research.  If you would like to help them in their efforts, you can do so by clicking on the following links:

Jody's event is 10 days away, donate here: 
Steve's event is 1 day away, donate here:
Don't forget, you can donate to the participants even after the events have ended.

Steve's Before Picture
Jody's Before Picture

*Wing World Quarterly is not a real periodical, but should be.

March 01, 2011

South Houston

331 W. Broadway
New York, NY 10013

With spring teasing us a bit and waiting just around the corner, I have the perfect wings for you to check out.  South Houston has a grilled peach-apricot BBQ wing that seriously tastes like summer.  They are a little sweet, typical of most BBQ we've had, but the fruity undercurrent adds a nice flavor that sets it apart from other BBQ sauces.  Couple that with the grilled char flavor and you'll be and looking forward to warmer times for sure.  

They also make a Buffalo wing which is grilled as well.  I think most Buffalonians would say that the fact that it's grilled means it's actually not a true Buffalo wing, but I'm going to say that they shouldn't be so stubborn.  Grilled is better than fried, in my opinion anyway... I know, blasphemy!  These wings are meaty, flavorful, have a generous coat of sauce and, again, you just can't go wrong with the grilled taste of crispy BBQ char.

I go to South Houston pretty often for lunch with a few guys from work.  I don't think there's been a time yet that someone hasn't ordered the wings.  As a matter of fact, there have been a few times when everyone ordered the wings.  They're a staple.  I suggest ordering the combo so you get half an order of Buffalo and half Peach-Apricot BBQ.  You should also check out one of the many draught beers they offer.  It's always a rotating selection of local and imported porters, ales, IPA's, lagers... you name it.  They also brew their own craft sodas which is kind of cool.

The staff and management has always been friendly.  They even gave us free pint glasses with their logo on them the first time we ate lunch there.  We've been returning pretty regularly ever since.  Check them out.

PS - They also have the coolest ceiling fans I've ever seen.

The fans rotate around the light.
I want one in my home.