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Wonderful Wings

March 2, 2010

At the risk of offending Mr. Sunshine with another post on Buffalo-style chicken wings, there is something I have to say.

More often than not when I mention wings, people suggest there aren’t any good wings in Albany.  I couldn’t disagree more.

It would seem that part of the problem is that Buffalo is only a few hours away, and many folks in the capital district have some connection to the city by the lake.  And when you hold up our wings to those of our neighbor to the west, surely they pale in comparison.

But let me tell you something.  When you come from a state where Frank’s Red Hot is actually difficult to come by, and there are only a handful of places that even offer wings on the menu at all, the capital region has wonderful wings indeed.

This may sound as if I like the wings in Albany because I have low standards.  If you are a regular reader, I shouldn’t need to assure you that it’s not the case.  But for those who may need some convincing, I will share the manifesto I posted a few weeks ago on what makes a great wing.

I still have a lot more eating to do.  But I have been very impressed with the wings at the now defunct (but hopefully to-be-resurrected) Scubbers, the Elbo Room, the Hill Street Cafe and Graney’s.  That’s not to slight Ralph’s, The Orchard, or the Washington Tavern who all make solid wings as well.

Even under the brutal conditions of the Times Union Wing War, there were two wings of surprising quality, The Ale House and Bombers’ (it’s still hard for me to mention Bombers without choking on the word – under no circumstances should you try their burritos).

Are they the best wings in New York State?
Probably not.

Do they beat everything I was able to get in California by a considerable margin?
Most definitely.

Are they great wings?
You better believe it.

As far as I am concerned the Capital District is a wing lover’s heaven.  Locals may have grown so accustomed to seeing wings on menus in every tavern and pizza joint, that they are almost blind to them.  But this is not the norm in most of the country.  This is special.  This is our regional cuisine.

And while on one hand I am very grateful for this local wing bounty, the thought of working through all of the different wings and all of the different sauces is daunting.

So maybe we have a wing inferiority complex to Buffalo.  It’s understandable.  What I’m suggesting is that perhaps it would serve us better to have a wing superiority complex to some city further west.

For wings, Austin has nothing on us.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    March 2, 2010 10:30 am

    OMG, if Steve Barnes is responsible for the sushi glut–I just realized Daniel B. might be responsible for the wings glut! Gaaah–lowlife bar food for the culinarily challenged. I used to live in Niagara–but luckily before “wings” were “invented” by that Satanic mill, the Anchor.

  2. March 2, 2010 10:59 am

    I still don’t get it.

  3. Phairhead permalink
    March 2, 2010 3:10 pm

    Scarborough’s in Sch’dy. So awesome! Also Carm’s in Scotia

  4. March 3, 2010 1:42 pm

    Junior’s – whiskey barrel wing

  5. March 5, 2010 5:47 pm

    Dear Dan,

    I thought I’d check out your website considering that we were both at the blog convention the other day, and I often hear your blog mentioned in the same sentence with the other local ones.

    I’m naturally bothered by the words you chose regarding my restaurant, Bombers Burrito Bar.

    I think your choice of using the words, “under no circumstances should you try their burritos”, is really unnecessary. I am guessing you had a bad experience with one of our burritos, and I am sorry that happened to you. We aren’t perfect, but we try hard and I know that we have many loyal customers who love our burritos. It is not the criticism of the burrito that bothers me, but rather your choice to say something so negative about a local business.

    I don’t doubt many people read your blog, and it is too bad that people who have never tried Bombers are being told to avoid it.

    Bombers uses local product when available, we make our food fresh every single day of the week, we’re not a chain, and in actuality, I think our food is really good. Granted I’m biased, and I don’t doubt that you had a bad (maybe more than one) experience at my restaurant. I just think it’s unfortunate that you are using your platform to say negative things about local businesses who are genuinely trying to put out a good product and to make positive differences around here.

    Good luck with FussyLittleBlog, and if I can ever make you a burrito myself that I am sure you will enjoy, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Matt Baumgartner

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