The Specialty Sauces
“Even with a couple of duds, the Specialty Sauces here are both varied and amazing.”
Part 1? What does that mean? Never fear, as always I am here to explain. A couple months ago I was speaking with Jeremy Frank, Founder and Proprietor of MaxFun NYC and Editor-in-chief-at-large of the Weekly Wing Wreview, and during this conversation he showed me the wing menu for Bean Post Pub and my jaw nearly hit the floor. While there was some overlap between their categories, they offered over 40 different kinds of wing, which forced me to realize three fundamental truths at the exact same time:
Number 1: I’d been to a national chain that offered a huge number of sauces, while there I didn’t feel obligated to run the gamut because it is a place that is readily available to anyone across the country who might be curious. But because this was a local NYC joint serving up this variety, I had to give them their fair shake and do my due diligence.
Number 2: I was going to need a hell of a crew and multiple visits to get the job done here, and I am so humbled and awed by the WingSquad for showing up in force to help me munch all these flightless bird meats.
Number 3: I didn’t really have a number 3, this was just a bit for the Hamilton reference.
So this is going to be yet another slightly unorthodox wreview, in that I will touch on the presentation, and talk about the sauces, but if you want the score for the wings and the overall Hot Take, you’ll have to wait for part 3. And this time that’s not a bit. There’s going to be three of these.
I already spoiled it in the intro, so let’s just jump right into this week’s wreview of…
Bean Post Pub
7525 5th Avenue, Brooklyn (Bay Ridge)
This week was chock full of veteran wreviewers, including Sarah Sheppard, Janna Cisterino, Chris Gambino (check out his Balls on YouTube! Meatballs, that is) Jeremy Frank (who did some more of his wonderful photography this week. I will remind you YET AGAIN of his podcast) and James Zhang. We were also accompanied by newcomer Tamar Entis, who I somehow kept accidentally hitting and stepping on the whole time. Sometimes I’m not very graceful.
Whatever my final score ends up being, you should check this bar out. It’s a moderately sized sports/dive/neighborhood spot that embraces all and none of these classifications. In a way it defies complete explanation, and at the same time I would find it hard for anybody to feel out of place here. The interior is dominated by a bar that stretches nearly the whole length of the room, with a couple of tables scattered throughout. There’s a ton of TVs spread around, that I’m sure on big game days are showing mostly sports but sometimes will be showing network TV or sometimes the Food Network. I’ll make special mention here too of a sticker they have on the wall that is a very convincing image of a power outlet. The first time I was here I saw it was a sticker, and then the second time I tried to plug my phone into it. Bay Ridge is always a bit of a hike for me, but after being here I’m happy to drop into this bar any time even despite the travel time.
To be totally honest I haven’t perused the menu too much here, but it’s a fairly standard bar menu with burgers and sandwiches and a large number of fried foods. I would like to take a moment to point out that not only do they have a full page dedicated to their wings, the menu also includes Buffalo Calamari and Shrimp Kickers, which is bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with horseradish and I haven’t had those yet but holy heck I’m gonna.
The PPW here is entirely dependent on which section of the menu you order from, so I’ll break it down by their least and most expensive wings. For some straight up Buffalo wings, the PPW is 94 cents for 8 and drops to 77 cents for 50. Those same wings wrapped in bacon strips (their most expensive variety) is $1.22 for 8 and $1.04 for 50. Either way Bean Post Pub is hitting a wing price point that is amazing and affordable no matter what you’re in for.
What We Ordered
I’m going to be straight up with you guys, I’m probably not going to get medium wings at any point during this 3 part wreview. It’s not just because I nearly had a psychological meltdown over them a few weeks ago, but there is SO MUCH variety here that I feel I can safely skip the “go-to” wing because there are so many wings that people will want to try out. On this stop we focused on their “Specialty” sauces, and ordered 8 each of the Ginger Wasabi, Chicken Parm, Sweet Chili, and Buffalo Combo (hot.) After the first round we decided to snag a few more, getting more of the Buffalo Combo (hot) and testing out the Nuclear Ginger Wasabi (even though it was on their “spiced” menu. I’ll elaborate further down.
As you’ll see in the pictures, the wings here are no muss no fuss. They are all served in plastic baskets with wax paper, and only the Buffalo Combo got any blue cheese with it. Not only that, but it had veg in little tiny and convenient inch-long bite size pieces. I actually appreciated that touch, but otherwise it was nothing special. We were given a handful of side plates, a bone bowl, and a couple stacks of napkins (we definitely needed them) and some wetnaps. It wasn’t anything above and beyond, but it was exactly what it needed to be. 3/5.
I have 5 different note cards in front of me that all say exactly the same thing: There is NO wasabi flavor or heat in this sauce whatsoever. “LOVE THESE,” SS raved, “[they’re] delicious, I would eat ’em all.” CG found them to have “plenty of ginger” and JZ said they were a “decent” with “a nice bit of ginger [and] sesame,” but thought they were a “little too sweet.” I was a little disappointed by the lack of wasabi in the sauce, but the delicious Asian flavor with the ginger punch made up for it quite a bit. I could see that some may find it on the sweeter side, but it is a far dimension removed from one that contains the word cloying. Even despite the complete lack of heat and wasabi, I was still really enamored of the flavor, since Asian sauces can be a difficult tightrope to walk with blends of sweet and savory. The Ginger
Wasabi somehow winds its way into a 4/5.
“Very smokey, even the smell,” says JC, who also found them “a little too sweet.” TE agreed they had a “sweet BBQ flavor…a little liquid smoke-ish,” which is a flavor she admits to liking, ending with “I’d eat more of these.” JF said they have a “layered flavor [and] delicious smokiness.” He also found the smoke to be “probably artificial, but almost unplaceable” and then followed up with a few more words, one which, ironically as a food blogger I just… I just hate it so much. Deep breath. He said they have a “RICH flavor [and] thick… [I hate you Jeremy] mouthfeel.” Like that coworker who chain-smokes on his lunch break, the second these came out of the kitchen you could smell them from a mile away. Unlike that coworker, this smell was pleasant and not at all overpowering. That smokiness really did elevate a fairly normal BBQ sauce with that flavor of a wood-fired grill. On the sweet/tangy scale they definitely land squarely in sweet, but paired with the smoke I found them to be ultimately satisfying, and though I think I’ve well established I generally find BBQ to be boring, this sauce is unarguably one of the better ones I’ve had before. 4/5.
When we were picking which of these sauces would get the Wreview treatment, SS was pretty adamant about sweet chili. “I picked these because I already love this flavor,” she admitted after calling them “Delicious. I love Asian wings. I may be biased.” “It’s sweet alright,” JZ commented, saying they have a “nice light heat” but also “thought it was too sweet, but maybe I’m not one for sweet wings.” CG called them both a “great wing” and a “top wing.” Having worked in a restaurant for many years that served sweet chili sauce with different varieties of fried seafoods, this was the first time I had encountered it on the menu for something that wasn’t seafood, and I was pleasantly surprised. It had a very friendly level of spice that managed to linger mostly in the throat, balanced with an almost honey-like sweetness and stickiness. Most of us were in total agreement that these were just dang tasty and they did it right. While SS may have a bias on these, I had no such thing, and yet these are still very worthy of a 4/5.
I’ll go ahead and give you the most used word for these wings, which was “soggy.” “Unmelted mozzarella, bland tomato sauce…like bad banquet hall Italian” surmised JF, not pulling any punches. “As expected. Tastes like a piece of chicken parm,” said JC. SS was excited enough by the appearance of these that she actually clapped giddily when they were brought out, but couldn’t offer much more praise than “It tastes like Chicken Parm,” adding “it needs a side of spaghetti.” There really isn’t much I can add to my friends’ opinions here, because it really is honestly exactly like any chicken parm I’ve had before, sans pasta. While I’m impressed that they were able to capture that flavor so well in a fried (and NOT breaded) wing, it’s really only a novelty after that point. I can’t say it’s not creative, but I also can’t say it is in any way transformative to the wing, and the results are just okay. If you like chicken parm you’ll like these, but don’t expect any nuance to the formula. 3/5.
Nuclear Ginger Wasabi:
After discussing it with the group, we were all a little disappointed with the lack of heat in the ginger wasabi, so we decided to try their “Spiced” version, wherein they spice up some of their regular flavors. While I think he might be a little harsh, I’m just going to give you JF’s full wreview because there’s nothing he said that I don’t agree with, despite some of the crew here still finding them OK. “Pfft. Is this North Korea nuclear? Still no heat and now it tastes like crap. Whatever pepper they used trampled over [and] removed the ginger flavor. It just tastes like artificial pepper flavor without any of the heat.” So, I want to do this delicately with some explanation, because this is the first thing I am going to give a straight up 1/5. I don’t mean it to be a rebuke, but I cannot think of any circumstances under which I would recommend this sauce. The heat is non-extant, the flavor of the original is ruined, and at every step it does the opposite of improve anything. It won’t make you vomit or anything, but they’ve stripped any bit of enjoyment from the ginger wasabi sauce and failed very badly with this one.
Buffalo Combo (hot):
What is the Buffalo Combo, you may rightly ask? We had to ask too. Bean Post Pub has several different heat levels for their Buffalo sauces, and for each one they also offer a Buffalo dry rub of an equivalent heat. The Buffalo Combo, as you might have surmised by this explanation are wings that have both the dry rub AND the sauce. “Classic Buffalo wing flavor,” chimed TE, “[my] mouth is staring to burn! But I’ll happily eat more.” JZ liked it, saying it had a “good rub flavor” and a “long heat.” JC also found them to have a “good, lasting heat” and “had a staying power.” The longer I do this, the more I find that it is hard to improve on a classic, and since Buffalo wings are basically the classic wing it makes the job even harder. That said, pairing a sauce with the dry rub turns a good wing into an incredible wing. There’s no doubt they’ve nailed a tasty Buffalo sauce, and the dry rub doesn’t double the flavor, but instead compliments it in an amazing way. I found the “hot” heat to be the perfect level for munching, in that I wasn’t burning the roof off of my mouth but the heat built to the point I was getting hiccoughs and still going back for more, even despite the full mouth burn that showed no sign of stopping. I really truly loved this combo, and can’t wait to get it again. It’s a hard score for a sauce to nail, but these bad boys are for sure a 5/5.
Even were I to include the Nuclear Ginger Wasabi into the specialty category of their wings, it wouldn’t be enough to drop the overall score for these saucy selections, which is a finger-licking 4/5.
That’s it? No stars? No Hot Take?
We’ve only unpacked one part of the menu here, and I’m thrilled to continue, but for real y’all we’ve only scratched the surface and this is already one of the longest Wreviews to date. The eating part of part 2 has already happened, and the third (and final?) one is in the works. Honestly I’ve been looking forward to doing this one for months and I’m so glad it has become a reality. There’s so much more to come, so stay tuned.
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.