#1, Tied: Bonnie's Grill
#1, Tied: Wogie's Bar and Grill
#3: The Wing Bar
275 Smith Street, Brooklyn NY 11231 (map); 212-237-2728
With just over a week 'til the Super Bowl, we've got wings on the mind at Serious Eats. And while there are all sorts of great chicken wing specimens around the city, from Japanese-style to barbecue, this year we're focusing on the American classic: Buffalo-style wings. Deep-fried wings tossed in a mixture of hot sauce and butter, served with celery and blue cheese dressing—total football food, and just what we're after in our search.
We awarded points for five different factors:
- Skin Crispness (5 points): Pretty self-explanatory. Is the outside nice and crisp when you bite into it, with bubbly, crackly skin, rather than limp or flabby?
- Juiciness (5 points):. Is the chicken moist, not dry, with tender, fatty meat?
- Sauce flavor (5 points): Does it have that great "Buffalo flavor"—a balance of vinegar and butter and heat—without any element dominating the others?
- Portion size (5 points): Do you get a lot for your money—both in wing count, and wing size?
- Overall Satisfaction (10 points): What's the overall impression of the wings you're left with? Will you remember these wings? Would you come back to eat again?
We'll also comment on the heat level (if there was an option given, we always picked medium), and the blue cheese and celery served alongside.
We created a list of potential great wing spots based on popularity, overall public opinion, and the suggestions of Serious Eaters. From the 15 we tried, we found 7 to be particularly strong contenders.
Here they are in alphabetical order:
- Buffalo Boss
- Landsowne Road
- The Wing Bar
- The Wing Wagon
For complete rankings, please see the slideshow at the top of the page.
Also tried: Reservoir Bar, Teddy's, Spike Hill, Bean Post Pub, Red Star, Blind Tiger Ale House, Atomic Wings, The Carriage House
The Winners: Bonnie's Grill and Wogie's (Tie!)
Luckily for us, we didn't have to crown either Manhattan or Brooklyn as King of the Wing—both boroughs had some equally fine offerings.
Skin Crispness: 4. Most awesomely crisp, but some had a bit of flabby skin still underneath.
Juiciness: 4. Plenty of juicy, meaty chicken.
Sauce flavor: 4. A great vinegar-pepper balance; it tasted like Frank's.
Portion size: 4 points. 10 wings, $7.95; 20 wings, $12.95, and they're big.
Overall Satisfaction: 7.5. Big but not too big, doused in sauce but not made soggy by them, served crisp and steaming-hot. Classic and satisfying.
Total Score: 23.5/30 points
Heat level: 4/5: even the medium makes your mouth tingle.
Blue cheese/celery: Celery was nice and crisp; carrots looked a little older; blue cheese was a little thin.
Skin Crispness: 4 points. Nice even crunch until the last wing.
Juiciness: 3.5 points. The flats had plenty of juice, but the drumettes verged on dry.
Sauce flavor: 4 points. Good balance of vinegar and spice. Could have used a little more sauce.
Portion size: 3.5 points. 10 wings, $8.25; 20 wings, $16; 50 wings, $39; 100 wings, $75
Overall Satisfaction: 8.5 points. Wings that are served in a classic way without feeling generic, in a sports bar that feels the same way.
Total Score: 23.5/30 points.
Heat level: 3/5: it slowly built up, but was by no means unbearable at any point.
Blue cheese/celery: Fresh celery, and bottled, but chunky blue cheese.