Month: June 2012

Whiskey’s Steakhouse (Back Bay)

Whiskey’s Steakhouse on Boylston St. in Boston claims that its Buffalo wings are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for their deliciousness. We could not confirm or deny this, so we’ll just have to take them at their word. I’d have settled for Ripley’s Believe it or Not! but that’s a different story…

Anyway, Whiskey’s boasts nine different wing options which include original Buffalo, honey Buffalo, atomic, no nuke (for those who don’t like spicy),  chipotle bbq, Texas inferno, Tennessee sweet, and Memphis mild.

We opted for the Buffalo and honey Buffalo because, damn, we like the combination of sweet and spicy. Both orders of wings came served with a side of chunky blue cheese dressing and celery sticks for dipping.

Flavor:  Both the original Buffalo and honey Buffalo were packed with a robust Buffalo flavor. The fried wings were liberally doused in thick sauce that really stuck to the wings. The Buffalo sauce was noticeably thicker than others we’ve tasted, and it appeared to have a tomato base rather than just a combination of hot sauce and butter. The honey Buffalo wings were some of the most unique wings we’ve ever tasted, as they combined both sweet and spicy elements into a real satisfying flavor experience. The sauce was sticky sweet with a good kick of spice that we really appreciated.

Size/Texture: We found there to be a near even proportion of leg and wing pieces. Overall, the wings were tender and moist on the inside and deliciously crispy on the outside. We thought that they could have been a little bigger however, as some of the wings were two bite wonders leaving us wanting a third.

Value: The original Buffalo wings come in at a respectable $6.95 per order of 10, and the honey Buffalo wings were a few cents more at $7.25. Hopefully those honey bees were working overtime to justify the added expense.

Overall: We appreciated the combination of flavor, value, service, and portion size at Whiskey’s. We agree the wings could have been sized a little bigger, but they still provided for a very satisfying wing eating experience. We’d definitely come back to try the other flavors and perhaps ask to see that Guinness Book of World Records certificate in person.

Score: 7.5/10

-JC

Champions Sports Bar (Springfield)

Oh Springfield, how we have missed you… In today’s review, we will go into our first restaurant chain, Champions Sports Bar, which is the sports bar owned by Marriott Hotels. From the appearance of the restaurant, it is definitely one of the better sports bars in Springfield. There were a lot of TVs in sight and this would be a great place to watch a big game. So naturally being that it was a typical sports bar, wings would be the solid way to go. On the menu, Champions provides two types of wings: Fire and BBQ wings. We decided to go with the “Singing” (medium) fire wings for review purposes. On a “side” note (get it?), the wings came with a butt load of celery and carrot sticks for those of you that are into that healthy stuff!

Flavor: It’s understood that these are only advertised on the menu as “Fire Wings,” but from the flavor, it could be assumed that they were buffalo wings. However, from the initial looks of them, they seemed to have lacked sauce. After consulting with the waiter and being told that the wings were pretty spicy, we played it safe and went with medium. The buffalo flavor on the wings was not bad and had a nice kick to them, but was nowhere near where what we had expected in terms of spiciness.

Size/Texture: The wings were small to medium sized and moist for the most part. However, this is where we must discuss the important issue of wing discrimination. As our wings were brought out, our faces dropped in disappointment as the whole plate only consisted of drummettes.

For those of you who are not educated in wing anatomy, the two main sections of the wing are the drummette and the wingette (see diagram on left). Now, there has always been debate over which section is better, but one thing is for sure: an order of wings is not complete without both sections. So restaurants be warned!

Value: At $8.95 per dozen, this is a price you would expect at a hotel owned restaurant. On a positive note, the service was very good.

Overall: Not having both wing sections hindered the wing eating experience. Not to mention, it was obvious that the wings came from a bag of frozen Tyson chicken wings (or similar) you would find at your local wholesale club. Despite these criticisms, the wings had decent flavor and were appropriately cooked. However, we recommend going with the other items on the menu.

Final Score: 4/10

– CT

Hurricane O’Reilly’s (West End)

Located just steps away from The Garden on Canal St., Hurricane O’Reilly’s is a large sports bar that offers huge TV screens, loud music, and plenty of beer to eager Boston sports fans who flock to the area during game nights.

We stopped in one night to drink our faces off and sample the chicken wings during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. We showed up to the game, but the Celtics didn’t, so we ordered a massive amount of chicken wings to help with the pain. Were the wings good enough to make us forget the loss?

Hurricane O’Reilly’s offers several different flavors of wings which include Buffalo, Buffalo bleu, hot & sweet, Asian sesame, and BBQ. Without much hesitation, we quickly went to town on both the BBQ and Asian sesame flavors. Each order came served with celery and carrot sticks, while only the BBQ came with Ranch dressing for dipping.

Flavor: Our wings came fried to a crispy golden color, with a thick coating of sauce crammed into each crevice. The Asian sesame wings magically blended sweet and savory flavor elements into a blissful ecstasy, while the BBQ wings tasted smoky, tangy, and sugary, leaving my taste buds wanting more.

Size/Texture: The wings were decently sized with some of the leg pieces being downright enormous. Most if not all of them were cooked perfectly, moist in the middle, crispy on the outside.

Value: There are two different size options available, a standard order for $7 or a jumbo size for $12. The jumbo size is truly gigantic, and unless you’re eating for three, stick with the standard order. Just make sure you specify which size you want when placing your order.

Overall: These wings had it all, flavor, value, texture, the works. If you’re on Canal St. and find yourself looking for a chicken wing feast, march yourself into Hurricane O’Reilly’s.

Final Score: 9/10

-JC

Wing-itz (Portsmouth, NH)

Driving back from a day trip to Maine, we decided to stop somewhere for tasty treat and luckily came across something that caught our eye. One word: Wing-itz. If you get a chance to head up to the seacoast town of Portsmouth with a wing craving, try out this local “Wing Butchery”. They use fresh, never frozen wings that are hormone and preservative-free. Bringing along a party of six, we decided to order 20 wings and 20 boneless pieces of chicken (don’t call them wings) with flavors ranging from medium buffalo, sesame oriental, honey mustard BBQ, and sweet Thai chili.

Flavor: Wing-itz has one of the largest selection of sauces around, but for review purposes, we will stick with the medium buffalo and sesame oriental. The buffalo sauce is homemade and delicious. We only ventured out into level 2 of 5 in terms of degree of hotness. However, there was still a good buffalo kick to it. For the sesame oriental, we found there to be a good level of sweetness and stickiness. Overall, very good for what you would expect in the flavor.

Size/Texture: These wings range for medium sized to fairly large. Most of the wings were cooked just right and maintained a moist texture. The wings were fried and therefore, had a nice crispy exterior which were complimented well by the tasty sauces.

Value: The price for 20 was $19.99. At about a buck a wing, it’s not the greatest deal you’re going to find, but for what you’re paying for, you won’t mind.

Overall: Wing-itz is a very solid joint that is dedicated to the wing. Their fresh chicken and variety of flavors will help fulfill any wing fantasies you desire. Overall, we would recommend trying this place out.

Final Score: 8.5/10

– CT

The Farm Bar and Grille (Essex)

For three summers now, The Farm Bar and Grille in Essex has been bringing Cape Ann fresh comfort food with a barbeque twist. With a large outdoor patio and a backyard equipped with a volleyball net, horseshoes, other games, summer dining has never been more fun. But can this purveyor of lazy summer afternoons produce wings worth driving to?

The Farm offers all natural, hormone free chicken wings with ah-s0, sweet chili, BBQ, and honey mustard rounding out the four flavor options. We ordered the BBQ and honey mustard wings, which came served six to an order in a shallow bowl bereft of celery, carrots, or dressing for dipping.

Flavor: The wings are fried and and are liberally drenched in the sauce of your choice. We thought the chicken quality was good, with much of the meat being tender and juicy. The honey mustard sauce had a nice balance of mustard and honey without being too sweet,  and the bbq sauce had a nice tang and spice to it without being too thick or sticky.

Size/Looks: The wings were ideally sized, many being quite plump and appealing to look at. They weren’t too big as to dry out in the cooking process, but also not too small as to leave you feeling unsatisfied.

Value: At $6 for six wings, the value could be better. We agreed that the size of the wings were decent, and the service was good, but at $1 per wing, we felt that was a bit expensive. We’ll have to come back Thursday nights when wings are offered at 35 cents each.

Overall: We liked these wings, as the flavor and quality was quite decent. While 35 cent wing night on Thursdays are great, we’d like to see the menu price be a bit lower during the rest of the week. Also, the lack of the typical wing accompaniments of celery, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressing was a bit mystifying, as it made the plate look unfinished.

Final Score: 7.5/10

 

-JC