My Favorite Wings: Mudville 9
I had never really heard Mudville 9 mentioned as a great place for wings, and in fact, I rarely heard it mentioned at all by anyone other than my brother, whose bar mitzvah party was held there in the mid-nineties. But lo and behold, the wings here are fantastic, as close to my platonic ideal of wings that I found in my weeks of research. At Mudville you find a wing that's not too spicy, but has plenty of chili flavor and vinegar tang. The sauce clings nicely to the wings, which are on the smaller side but still meaty and tender, right in the wing-size sweet spot.
Blue cheese sauce here passes the cheesy-but-not-too-cheesy test, with a funk that doesn't hit you over the head. Mudville is also a decent bar with a great selection of craft beers; it's one of the only places on this list that I'd recommend hanging out in, rather than just grabbing wings and getting out. Oh, and for $25.95 per person, you can have all-you-can-eat wings and all-you-can-drink beer for two hours ($30.95 for premium beers). That's a pretty good way to spend a Sunday in my book.
Price: $9.74 for 10 wings ($.97/wing), $92.49 for 100 wings with tax ($.92/wing).
Awesome Battered-Style: Pork Slope
Here's the thing with Pork Slope's wings: they're battered. This would usually be grounds for buffalo wing disqualification, because for the purposes of this piece, battered wings aren't really considered buffalo wings at all. They're something else, and what's more, they're usually not very good, with batter and buffalo sauce forming an unappealing orange paste. But Pork Slope bucks this trend. The meat is juicy and tender, the batter a juiciness coat of armor.
Instead of turning into a sad, soggy mess, that breading stays crunchy at least until the second half of the game. But the best part here is the house buffalo sauce generously coating these wings. In our early look at Pork Slope, we were told that sauce is equal parts Frank's and Sriracha. Further research has revealed that butter (duh) and smoked garlic (a hah!) round out the sauce. In any case, these wings are so good that they make up for Pork Slope's cardinal sin of serving ranch dressing by default, with no blue cheese option whatsoever.
Wings worth traveling for are few and far between, but Pork Slope makes it onto that short list. Also, peep the prices below: these wings are not cheap by the plate (still worth it though), but affordable by the party platter (make sure to call and place orders ahead of time). In a different roundup, these would be the clear winners.
Price: $13 for 12 wings ($1.08/wing), $80 for 100 wings ($.80/wing).
Very Good Wings: Bonnie's Grill
A Park Slope favorite that has ranked highly on Serious Eats in the past, Bonnie's is a bar and grill that serves a classic plate of wings: perfectly cooked with just the right amount of heat, vinegar and butter in the sauce. They're meaty without being enormous, and they have a blue cheese sauce that's creamy without losing its hint of funkiness. I would have liked a bit more crispiness on the exterior of the wings, but these wings were exceedingly juicy and tender, so it's a tradeoff I have no problem with.
Price: $8.95 for 10 wings ($.90/wing), $75.65 for 100 wings with tax ($.76/wing).
Very Good Wings: Wogie's
Like Bonnie's, Wogie's is a favorite from past Serious Eats wing roundups. The wings themselves are similar, with buffalo sauce right at the proper heat level; you can feel the burn but not so much that you can't fast the tangy, buttery sauce, which is applied with moderation. The blue cheese sauce is smooth and mild with a hint of that blue cheese funk. In all these are solid wings, nicely crisp on the outside and juicy inside. And their size is just right, neither monstrous nor anemic.
Price: $10 for 10 wings ($1/wing), $86.50 for 100 wings ($.87/wing).
Solid Neighborhood Wings: The WingBar
If you name your bar and restaurant The WingBar, you'd better have decent wings to back it up. WingBar does, and while these wings aren't necessarily worth a trip across town, I'd be happy to have them around the corner from my place. Crispy outside, tender inside, meaty with plenty of sauce that's tangy and heavy on the butter, this is a perfectly serviceable wing.
Price: $8 for 10 wings ($.80/wing), $69 for 100 wings ($.69/wing).
The WingBar: 275 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (map); 718-237-2728
For Tiny Wing Fans: Croxley Ales
Croxley's wings are little, and they're drowning in sauce. There's not a lot of meat on their bones, but the meat that's there is juicy and tender, with reasonable chicken flavor. Some would say that there's too little meat on these wings, but I enjoy the ability to eat more wings without getting full.
These aren't my favorite, but if this subcategory of small, juicy, saucy wings appeals to you, Croxley's the place. Note that sugar lovers can get any plate of wings here drizzled with honey, a surprisingly decadent touch. Croxley also offers weekly specials, including 10 cent wing nights from Monday-Wednesday (check their website for more details).
Price: $9.95 for 10 wings ($.99/wing), $87.85 for 100 wings ($.88/wing).
Monster-Sized Wings: Brother Jimmy's BBQ
For a certain segment of wing lovers, size matters above all else. If that's you, Brother Jimmy's is where you want to get your wings for the big game. These are mammoth, meaty wings. Really big. So big the chickens from whence they came could probably take your wallet if you ever saw them on the street. They're light on the sauce, though that sauce is tasty (and salty). There's a nice amount of crispiness on the exterior of these wings, and the inside is tender given the wings' size. Of course, the downfall of such large wings is that the inside is basically just a piece of chicken; wings benefit from a higher sauce to meat ratio. They come served with blue cheese or ranch, though the blue cheese sauce had little definable blue cheese flavor (we weren't sure if it was ranch or blue cheese at first, never a good sign).
Serious eaters may be wary of this smallish chain and its rowdy clientele, but their wings are worth eating (especially if you get them to go). Not the best wings in New York, but I'd be happy to eat a whole bunch of them while watching the game. If you're eating in, keep an eye out for weekly wing specials, which vary by location.
Price: $9.95 for 10 wings ($.99/wing), $99 for 100 wings ($.99/wing).
Brother Jimmy's BBQ:
Multiple locations; brotherjimmys.com
Decent Chain Wings: Atomic Wings
There's not much to say about this ubiquitous local chain. These aren't the best wings, and they can be overcooked, but in my estimation they're pretty good. A bright, vinegary sauce, applied with a heavy hand, and very mellow blue cheese sauce make for a decent wing eating experience. Not the best, but I don't turn my nose up at Atomic.
Price: $9.95 for 10 wings ($.95/wing), $86.95 for 100 wings ($.87/wing).
Multiple locations; atomicwings.com