The Hot Take
I would give this a solid 4, but I have to measure them against the standard of a Great Wing, which can be gotten for much less than $2.50 a piece.
Hello again friends, it’s that time of the week again! By which I mean it’s time to scarf down some wings and tell you what I think. This week we took on an Irish pub style restaurant I picked mainly because I already knew there were going to be a few people there, and also they had wings on the menu, which is basically all I need to know. No huge preamble this week, let’s get straight into the wreview of…
Scallywag’s Irish Pub
509 9th Ave, Manhattan (Hell’s Kitchen)
This week I was joined by our veteran wreviewer Christianne Manzano along with a few new and willing subjects, including Benjamin Jones, Akiyo Nishimaya, Sarah Stewart (who traveled all the way from Ohio to join us! Also for a few other things I guess) and our de facto Editor in chief and co-host of Taxes and Tater Tots Jeremy Frank (who was kind enough to do the photography for this visit.)
Scallywag’s is a moderate-to-upscale Irish pub, with a very nice clean interior, hardcover menus and even on this football Sunday (more on that in a second) seemed to draw in an older, more professional crowd. The atmosphere is pretty laid back, the front room with a fairly large bar and several tables and stools that comfortably seat four or five people each. Further in the back were more tables for the full dine-in experience. It is also, we learned, an official San Diego Chargers bar. The game started about halfway through our visit, at which point the din from the crowd made it a little hard to talk at times. It seems to be a pretty popular neighborhood spot, and I could easily be tempted back to try some of the other food, but probably not on game day.
‘But wait,’ I hear you cry, ‘you said they had nice hardcover menus!’ This they in fact do, but I was happy to find that they also have a daily Happy Hour from 4-8 PM which offers some really deep discounts. Their full menu offers both brunch and dinner, and has too much to list here, but there is a lot of really tasty looking Irish and American dishes on there.
Normally, the PPW here is pretty steep, coming in at $2.50. The menu doesn’t offer any variations on the size of the order, which is 6 wings. I knew this going in, so there wasn’t any sticker shock, but their sauce selection intrigued me so I was willing to shell out for it. You can imagine my happiness when I saw wings on the Happy Hour menu for $5 an order, bringing the PPW down to a respectable 83 cents. I confirmed with our server that it is indeed the same portion as their normal-priced one.
The wings are served with the normal carrot sticks and celery, and what I assume is a house made chunky blue cheese that was crazy delicious. AN agreed that it was “a little more blue, which was pleasant.”
What We Ordered
Drinks! I was drinking and very much enjoying the house Scallywag Amber, as was SS. BJ and AN meanwhile partook of some Magner’s Cider, while JF started with a Shocktop before moving on to his signature rum and Diet Coke. CM joined us a bit late and didn’t quite have time to order a drink before we had to leave.
Feeling a bit generous with the Happy Hour pricing, I decided I would foot the wing bill this time, and we ordered the Sriracha Lime, East-West, and Buffalo wings.
In keeping with the atmosphere here, the whole presentation was great. Right after we ordered, were were brought some side plates and napkins, and the wings were served on nice white square plates in an neat pile without tons of excess sauce, framed nicely by the veggies and cornered with the blue cheese. Everything looked clean and well plated, earning the look an easy 4/5.
The East-West, I can only surmise, is Scallywag’s take on an Asian-American BBQ fusion. AN found them to be “a sweeter version of the usual BBQ… not my first choice.” BJ and SS were on common ground, the former saying simply that it was a “very standard BBQ sauce,” and the latter adding that it’s “not an especially unique flavor, but not bad either.” JF enjoyed them, saying they were “maybe my favorite… the sauce was not too sweet” and that “the sweetness of the sauce permeated the meat.” CM found them to be a “good BBQ, sweet and savory with a bit of smokiness,” but also added that it’s definitely “not an Asian wing. [I] didn’t taste an Asian influence.” I found them to have a really nice even flavor, definitely balanced between nice mild sweetness with a little bit of tang to it. Everyone seemed to also agree that there was no inherent heat or spice to the sauce, which is good for those out there who aren’t the biggest spice fans. Though they have a nice flavor, there wasn’t anything particularly unique or exciting about the East-West, giving it a commendable 3/5.
I’ll skip most of the quotes here, since they almost all say the same thing, which is that this is basically the “standard” Buffalo wing. It’s not to say it’s not good, which it was. The sauce was a perfectly coated with exactly the flavor you would expect of a Buffalo wing. The heat was just a hair below medium but lingered nicely, and I believe it would build a bit the more you ate but never really be overwhelming. SS managed to sum it up perfectly, “[the] sauce was pretty standard, which is not a bad thing! People like to know what they’re getting.” No surprises and no disappointments is basically the definition of 3/5.
Ok, as your wreviewer, I feel I need to disclose my heat preferences up front: I love spicy food, but my tolerance isn’t the best. God do I love it though. It’s hard to be a fan of chicken wings if you cant handle the heat. I will make a commitment in each review to try the hottest wings a place serves, and in this place it was these. In my day-to-day, Sriracha is the hottest sauce I normally keep at home. If I have enough of it, I get a little bit of that heat-sweat, and I might reach for the occasional glass of milk.
Back to the sauce at hand. Everyone could agree that they used real Sriracha on these wings. JF and AN both found the heat staying on their lips, but differ on their tolerances, AN noting the “nice subtle lime in there,” but “[a] bit too spicy for me,” while JF claimed that they “were not very hot at all,” but noting that “the flavor permeates the meat slightly better than the Buffalo.” SS found them “exactly as hot and spicy as I would expect,” CM called it a “great wing, good spice [that’s] not overwhelming, nice and strong.” BJ concurred, calling it “hot but bearable” with a “good flavor.” I was the odd man out it seemed, when it came to tasting any real lime in the sauce I was at a loss. That’s not to say it wasn’t a great sauce. I loved the authentic Sriracha spice and flavor, and I will admit that because I was between beers after tasting this one, I did dip into some celery and blue cheese to help handle the heat on my tongue. This sauce is exactly as advertised, and tasty to boot, giving it a nice bump to 4/5.
The sauces here are well-made and while they don’t offer much in the way of surprise, you can be comforted knowing that you’re going to get something delicious and familiar. The temptation of a half point looms in front of me, but I stick to my rules, and will plant my flag at an overall of 3/5.
Depending on the order our wreviewers ate these wings weighed in as a good determiner in how crunchy they were. Everyone was in agreement that the East-West had a nice crisp outer skin, JF pointing out that it was likely the sugar in the sauce lending in a hand. for the others, when they hit the table they had a decent crunch that faded the longer they sat, likely due to the breading (these wings ARE breaded, albeit pretty lightly) soaking the up the sauce. That said, the outside of these wings was well defined, crunchitude notwithstanding, the skin was flavorful and separated from the wing easily. On the inside, these bad boys were tasty. The meat varied from good to great, almost melting right off the bone. Again the East-West seemed to be the winner of the bunch, I presume that hard sugary coating was great at sealing in all the delicious juices. I can’t forget to mention the size here either, which was great. Each piece was big, meaty, and consistent, with not a single wimpy small one in the mix. I won’t say that these are the best wings I’ve ever had, but they are satisfying with every bite and have no problem earning a nice 4/5.
The Hot Take
Scallywag’s is not a wing restaurant. I haven’t seen anywhere that indicates they promote themselves as a place for wings or much to indicate that its wings bring in the crowd. Despite that, they serve a damned good wing, especially if you’re a fan the Chargers in to watch the game. I will definitely come back to this place, but probably not because of the wings (though they’ll be an easy appetizer for some sheppard’s pie or fish and chips.) Though the Happy Hour pricing is pretty great, outside of that these wings get pretty pricey, making it hard for me to recommend to somebody without saying “they’re good, but…” Were that not the case, I would give this a solid 4, but I have to measure them against the standard of a Great Wing, which can be gotten for much less than $2.50 a piece. Tasty but predictable sauces, a nice big juicy wing, and a bigger-than-average price tag clock Scallywag’s in at a 3/5.
Sauces we did not try include Honey-BBQ, Honey Garlic, and Teriyaki. When I came in there were only four stools for our party of five, and our well-intentioned bartender managed to wrestle one away from a table that was waiting for the rest of their party to arrive. I was fine standing, the place was busy, but I give him kudos for going the extra mile. I didn’t try the house ale, but I can definitely recommend Scallywag’s Amber. At $5 a draft it’s a good buy. Conversations stayed pretty wing-oriented while eating, but afterwards we did find out from CM why confident teen girls make good guards for morgues, JF schemed a very interesting way to create a personal treasure horde, and talk of Santorum proved to be conversation stopper, if only momentarily.
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.