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[Photographs/doodles: Robyn Lee]

When we spoke with Stanton Social executive chef (and "Chopped" judge) Chris Santos to get his Lower East Side dining picks, his choice for best local falafel intrigued us. It's served up at Wolfnights, a wrap sandwich/snack joint on Rivington Street. We haven't had a chance to try that falafel wrap yet, but on a recent visit we were shocked and awed by the Wolf Attack ($5.95), a monster of a snack consisting of a mountain of tater tots topped with grilled onions, meat sauce, a thick orange dome of melted American cheese, and a scattering of large chunks of raw jalapeƱos. On the menu, it sounded like a great Afternoon Snack. But upon opening the to-go box at Serious Eats HQ we quickly realized that were in over our heads. These are tots for the most extreme late-night indulgences, preferably when you're more than a few drinks ahead of yourself.

How to describe this thing? For starters, it's an enormous amount of food. We were struck by how heavy it was, so we decided to weigh it. It's One pound, four ounces. That's right, folks. That means that for each dollar you pay, you're getting 3.33 ounces of greasy, meaty, potato tot love—not too shabby.

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Once we saw what looked like a face, we couldn't un-see it. This creature is the result of that.

So how does it taste? The primary flavors are grease and salt: super heavy, but probably what just what you need after a bunch of drinks on the Lower East Side. The none-too-crispy tater tots fall apart into an unidentified mass of starch that anchors the whole dish. The meat sauce has a strong, Old El Paso taco seasoning packet-like taste, with lots of cumin, cayenne and, yes, salt. The cheese is melty and oily, and the seed-in peppers are plenty spicy.

Office reactions to this gut bomb were mixed: personally, I found the over-the-top concept of the dish more pleasing than its actual taste, but others (ahem, Max and Carey) kept going back for more. If you happen to be on the Lower East Side in the throes of a drinking binge, consider this: Wolfnights is open until 2 am Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 am on Saturday and Sunday. And as Carey put it, "if you're on the Lower East Side at 4 AM, you probably could use this."

Wolfnights

99 Rivington Street, New York NY, 10002 (map)
646-669-8070
wolfnightsnyc.com

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