The Hot Take
“…it’s definitely worth going to for the wings, and…you’re going to enjoy what you get.”
Ever since the Wreview started, I’ve gotten two questions with increasing regularity, the first one being “Have you tried Buffalo Wild Wings yet?” I can see where the curiosity comes from for a lot of New Yorkers. The city isn’t really that stuffed full of national chains, and in the places where they exist it tends to be super touristy, or in a mall, and generally in the kinds of places residents don’t frequent all that often. Having spent many years in North Carolina, BWW was really one of the only places in town that I could regularly get wings, so of course I was familiar with what they had on offer. But let it never be said that I am not one to give my audience the answers they’ve been craving. Oh the second question? I’d love to tell you but right now it’s time to get to this week’s wreview of…
Buffalo Wild Wings
Atlantic Terminal Mall, 139 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn (Downtown/Fort Greene)
This week I was joined again by MaxFun NYC’s founder and host of Taxes and Tater Tots Jeremy Frank, along with his girlfriend and wing enthusiast Janna Cisterino and long time fan/supporter of the Wreview and walking Hot Take Daniel Giovannelli, both of whom I have been hoping to have on for a while now.
Buffalo Wild Wings is, well… honestly if you’ve been in one of them you’ve been in all of them. They vary in shape and size, but they’re all adorned with local sports paraphernalia scattered all over the wall, TVs everywhere with whatever sports they can find playing on them, staff dressed in shirts made up to resemble jerseys, a seat-yourself bar area with several small tables that invariably takes up at least a quarter of the seating area. Oh, and the color yellow. They use it a lot. It’s never a place that I’ve loved to hang out at for extended periods of time, but they definitely have a theme going for them, and that’s always a good thing.
Wings, you goof! Lot’s of them! I mean, there’s burgers and salads and desserts and stuff too. Bar food. But they have over 20 wing sauces and rubs, and even have a handy little heat scale that ranks them from least to most heat. I did take a pic of the menu, but I didn’t check it before we left and it turned out to be blurry garbage, but if you want an idea of the sauces on offer you can check it out here.
Being that this is a national chain, prices will vary depending on location. Also complicating matters is that a lot of locations do their orders by weight, not count, but we were told by our server that each order, from snack to large, was in a 5 wing increment. These variables accounted for, at our location the PPW starts at a not-so-great $1.96 for a snack size and heads down to a much more reasonable $1.12 for a large.
What We Ordered
Since there were four of us, and they had an abundance of sauces, AND to my happiness they let you split sauces here (I believe you can pick a different sauce for every 5 wings in the order, but don’t quote me on this) we ended up getting two large orders, one split between the Medium and the Blazin, the other between Salt and Vinegar and Bourbon Honey BBQ. I was drinking Blue Moon since they were out of Brooklyn Lager, and also I forgot to jot down what everyone else was drinking.
Honestly, I dig what they do here for large orders. We got two little wing platforms, about two/two-and-a-half inch high circular plastic trays with our wings split on either side on top of waxed paper, with two huge ramekins of blue cheese on each. Carrots and celery are sort of haphazardly but generously heaped on top, almost between the different wings but not quite. You’re also given a stack of napkins and a handful of cardboard tubs to serve as boneyards, and of course some wetnaps. I know I’ve given other places an easy pass or sometimes even a little flak for not going to any lengths to dress up the presentation at all, but I have to say that despite the casual appearance of the food being delivered to the table, the accoutrements that accompany the delivery actually are impressive here, and the wings look delicious. They know you’re gonna get messy, and provide you with the tools to do so guilt-free. For having an appearance of lack of effort cleverly disguised as a well conceived plan, B-Dubs gets a 4/5.
Up top I have to give a shout out to JF, who photographed all the wings for me in some high quality, gratuitously sexy pictures with his fancy camera.
Salt and Vinegar:
“[I] really liked how the dry rub kept the wing crisp” said JC of these flavor-flaked wings. “Tastes like the chip flavor, in a good way.” DG also thought they tasted “like chip powder poured on fried wings” but found them to be a little “inconsistent. Tasty powder, but I wish there was more vinegar.” We all sort of came to the conclusion that it seemed like they tossed these in the remnants of a salt and vinegar chip package, but I actually really enjoyed these. I ordered them craving something resembling TLC’s Sea Salt wings (they really are that good) and while it wasn’t quite the same, it was definitely tasty. After we had sampled all of the wings, I kept coming back to these, and after they wee gone I still found myself running my finger through the powder left on the tray to get the delicious salty and vinegary taste of them. My only real complaint is that the coating was pretty uneven, and didn’t stick terribly well to the wing itself. Though the under-coating left a bit to be desired, they have a knock-out flavor on their hands, which is a pretty easy call at 4/5.
“Classic, straightforward” said DG of these mediums, though as a lover of heat he thought that it was “barely spicy; I’d call it a mild.” However he does say those magic Buffalo words “Frank’s and Butter. Just what you would expect.” JC, who munched on several of these said that it “starts out at more of a mild, but builds beyond a hot and lingers,” and agreed that the “taste was traditional Buffalo.” There’s no doubt that these are straight up Buffalo wings, and they nail the taste. The heat does build, however slowly at first, and I found it to be an incredibly pleasant heat that paired well with the flavor without ever becoming uncomfortably hot. It’s kind of par for the course at this point that the Medium sauces don’t stick out that much, but isn’t that really their role in the whole scheme of things? To be the safe choice, the consistent and dependable middle child of the wing family, the ideal solution of “let’s split some wings” that won’t offend anybody too terribly regardless of their heat tolerance (and occasionally make that person at the party who complains about everything complain that it’s too spicy and I wish you had ordered something a little friendlier to the rest of us and it’s been a great night but I just don’t think I can enjoy myself with this much heat in my mouth and my cat has been sick and I think I forgot to set my DVR for Big Bang Theory tonight and I don’t want to miss what Sheldon gets up to this week! Anyways thanks so much but has anybody seen my keys? I swear they were in my coat, maybe that dog of yours took them, I saw him eyeballing my shoes earlier and I didn’t want to say anything but I think it might be time to get him to a dog trainer because he just—oh, it’s a she? I always assume that dogs are boys I don’t know why. Oh, here they are I always put them in the wrong pocket sometimes doesn’t that just drive you crazy? Anyways I really need to go my mouth is just on fire so have a good night! Oh, I almost forgot the bottle of wine I brought, I figure nobody touched it so I don’t want it to go to waste. Have a good night!) Where was I? Oh, yeah these are tasty, but they toe the line of a really good 3/5.
Bourbon Honey Mustard:
JF had a mixed opinion here, saying that the “sauce has a good sweetness, but…glues your lips together like paste.” DG also thought they had a “glue-like texture, a bit too thick” but also added that they were “sooo tasty” with “a nice mustard kick” and that they were his favorite of the bunch. JC with the real info said they “actually taste like mustard” which she said was “uncommon in many honey mustard sauces, and that’s a good thing.” A good thing indeed. When I was a little kid, my older brothers would frequently make some homemade honey mustard by just pouring honey into mustard and mixing it up, and always make sure it was heavy on the mustard with just a touch of the honey sweetness. Though this is much less yellow than that sauce was, they really hit home on the flavor I loved back then. The mustard really is the star here, but they still kept the notes of smokey bourbon and sticky honey that serve to elevate the tangy mustard. They were really very sticky, but not any stickier than any BBQ or honey based sauce I’ve tried thus far, so I found the texture to be exactly as expected. I guess you could say it was like the penultimate scene in Ratatouille where the food critic tries the titular food, I was transported by this sauce, and have no complaints, making this a rare but deserved 5/5.
There will be some profanity on this one, fair warning. JC decided to sit this one out as we were trying it, saying she was “not coming close to those given everyone else’s reaction.” I think JF was the first one to take a bite of this sauce. Instead of trying to put quotes in context for this one, I’m just gonna straight type everyone’s notes as written.
HOT! Both an initial burn, and a slow burn. Oh god it keeps building long after you stop. SENTIENT HEAT.
FUCK. Nice Korean earthy spice, but FUCK.
After a bit of peer pressure, we were able to get JC to try a dollop of the sauce on a carrot. She smeared a bit that was pretty big, but before we could warn her she’d taken to much she’d bitten it already. JC:
Tried a little bit of sauce on a carrot. Ow!
So, I have to be honest with you, I try to keep my promise every time of eating the hottest wing and not getting any relief from blue cheese or a drink and suffer through the whole thing, but I almost bailed on these. This sauce is fucking hot. I used my stopwatch, and my notes were near incomprehensible. You’re hit at first with a wave of molten fire that continues to build like tongue-napalm for about 2 minutes. by then the heat was unbearable and I was crying and screaming profanities. While it seemed like it was evening off, It still crept up slowly until about 4:30 when I’m pretty sure I saw the face of the Divine Itself, telling me my woes would be eased and to come towards the light. Thankfully, the heat started to die down around the 5 minute mark, but so, so slowly. Unfortunately while the heat was at its peak, I was rubbing tears from my eyes, and despite my liberal napkin use I managed to get some sauce on my eyelids and was presented with a fresh hell from that. And after that subsided, I got round two of the sauce pressing heat into the backs of my eyeballs. Which isn’t to say this sauce isn’t tasty, because fuck me if it isn’t. If you’re a heat challenge connoisseur this is definitely worth your time. It may not match up to store-bought or specialty “this sauce will heatfuck your life and you’ll never taste anything again” sauces, but it has an admirable Buffalo taste, combined with one of the hottest ghost pepper heats I’ve had in my life to date. Blazin indeed, this sauce will set your life on delicious terrible fire, 5/5.
Whatever reputation you’d like to ascribe to national chains, Buffalo Wild Wings knows what they’re doing and they do it well. Though they’re sauces aren’t across the board ‘perfect,’ they still are doing an impressive job with their flavors, especially if you’re someone who loves a good heat. Overall it’s an easy and wonderful 4/5.
So the wings here actually vary a bit in quality from sauce to sauce, but they’re pretty dang good. While I wouldn’t call any of them generously large, as a whole they are a pretty average size. When you eat them however, you might notice that they definitely err on the side of not overcooking the interior of the wing, keeping any inherent crispiness entirely skin deep. It’s a fairly average wing, but I can’t overlook the care they put into making sure it’s cooked in a manner that is overwhelmingly tasty, and it’s outstanding enough to earn a solid 4/5.
The Hot Take
Go to B-dubs. Try some sauces. Try stuff we didn’t. Even when I lived in NC, there were probably two other places in town that would do decent takeout wings, but I always ended up getting them from Buffalo Wild Wings, because for any shortcoming their wings had I knew I was going to get what I expected, and I knew I was going to like it. My co-wreviewers had all never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings before, but I’m sure that they would all echo the sentiment that it’s definitely worth going to for the wings, and that you’re going to enjoy what you get. They aren’t serving the best wings in town, but I’ll be damned if they aren’t serving great ones, 4/5.
I don’t have much to add here this week. For those who are fans of MBMBAM and or The Adventure Zone, (and if you’re not, what the heck is your problem?) I created a Fantasy Costco T-shirt, on sale until the 26th of January, with all proceeds going to the ACLU. Maybe check it out here and get a shirt or hoodie or mug or sticker?
As always, the Weekly Wing Wreview and MaxFun.nyc are not affiliated with Maximum Fun or its associated products or brands. But we’re pretty big fans.