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NYC's All City Best Buffalo wings (2007)

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All the threads about buffalo wings seem to be a few years old at this point, so if anyone wants to chime in with their thoughts, please do so.

Firstly, a quick definition is in order. We are talking BUFFALO WINGS. The wings originating in Buffalo, NY at Anchor Bar in the sixties: Deep fried with a tangy mix of hot sauce and butter, celery (and carrots) accompaniment. Blue Cheese sauce in which to dip the wing. It's as simple as that; no breaded monstrosities, no teriyaki or "honey" sauces; no ranch dressing, no wing tips left intact or wings not seperated. We are talking simply flats and drums. Buffalo wings, seemingly so simple...and simply amazing how easy it is to get so wrong.

In my opinion the best wings in the world are at Duff's in Buffalo...therefore I judge every other wing against it. NYC has an abudance of places to get wings, though few and far between is the place that actually serves even real buffalo wings; rarer still is the place that serves anything you would call exceptional.

Tonight I had Blondie's (W 79th st location) for the first time, and I was inspired - they were awesome, and authentic, and even reminded me of Duff's. Maybe it was an on night? My friend and I were discussing that maybe Tuesday is the night to go; Monday is their all you can eat night, where they surely use the majority of their supply and may have to churn them out with less care than on a regular night. Tuesday thus is the same fresh wings without the pressure of an all you can eat crowd, thus I would imagine relatively more time is spent on preparing each order (still remarkably fast.) I thought Blondie's was the best buffalo wing I've found in the city, despite that people have recently been saying that quality has slipped...now I'm looking for a place that can top Blondie's? Anyone have a suggestion?

Atomic Wings is so-so, I do feel quality has declined...East vil location specifically; Down the Hatch has never been good.

Pluck U? Haven't been in ages...anyone?

Bonnie's? Also haven't been in ages...

Old Town Bar - the wings are good; but often come out tiny, and they don't offer degrees of hotness.

Candlelight in Scarsdale - Pretty awesome; amazing blue cheese though sometimes they don't seperate the wings and they can be small; I don't like huge steroid wings, but the real puny wings are sometimes off putting...

Mudville 9? Heard it's awesome, haven't been.

Scruffy Duffy's? This place still around?

What else? I know yr out there!

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  1. I am an absolute buffalo wing fiend. I agree with you on your description of what makes a true buffalo wing. All those other types of chicken wings are fine and dandy, but they just ain't buffalo wings, that's for sure!

    My favorites in the city are Bonnie's. Well fried and crisp, quite meat and a very flavorful sauce that ranges from tasty to nice kick, to oh my god just let me die already!

    1. I felt the same way about Blondies up until just recently and then I've just stopped going. I can't really seem to describe what's lacking. Maybe it's just overall taste? Less crunchy? I don't really know.

      I was recently discussing this with a friend up in this nabe who has recommended firehouse bar for wings. I've also heard a few random comments to that effect. Haven't tried them yet.

      I loved Pluck U back when they had a location on NYU's campus. They have declined over the years and, now, they've closed up many locations. I bumped into one on 9th near the 50s and was completely disappointed. Bleh.

      Aside from Atomic wings (agree - so-so), I'm ashamed to admit I have tried the others but I'll have t give these places a try. I've heard of them many times,

      1. Croxley's, on 2nd(?) and B makes a good wing. But as you noted, their wings tend to be a lot better on non-10-cent-wing nights.

        Scruffy Duffy's has served very good wings the few times I've had them.

        Professor Thom's on 2nd ave. btw 13th and 14th can put some good wings out occasionally.

        1. Funny, I've always thought that the Old Town's wings are a city secret, they are really great. But the burgers are SO great that you never get the wings. Thus they stay a secret. Do "original" Buffalo wings offer degrees of hotness?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Ethan N

            buffalo wings that are deep fried til medium brown,
            then submerged in a very simple mix of your favorite hot sauce and lots of butter(key ingredient) coat wings and put under drying rack.. you are all set
            perfect every time. i am eager to see the posts about this. have not been pleased with nyc chicken wings.. i guess been ging to the wrong places... blondies is ok...
            senor swankys ok... need more ideas

            1. re: jsmitty

              What is this drying rack that you speak of? BTW, I recently started a thread in Home Cooking about trying to replicate Duff's wings. Please feel free to join the battle. :)

          2. My husband, and many people on this board, love the wings at Dinosaur. Since I don't like wings, I don't really know if they are the specific type that you are looking for, but I'm sure others here will know. I do know, however, that my husband and his friends rave about them...

            4 Replies
            1. re: valerie

              They are pretty great. But definitely not a buffalo wing.

              1. re: valerie

                The amazing wings at dinosaur are bbq, not buffalo. If they offer a buffalo option, I've never tried.

                I don't eat them that often, but when I do, Blondies does the trick.

                Then again, I've never been to Buffalo so maybe the bar is set lower.

                1. re: harrison

                  on this same note, the wings at rub are really great but they are not buffalo wings either.

                  1. re: nativeNYer

                    Second RUB but agree they aren't real buffalo wings.

              2. Turnover is key, as it leads to freshness. Find a place that sells a lot of those puppies (but not on a 10 cent wing night, where quality may suffer)

                Blondie's, both the east side and west side location, have very good wings.

                Croxley Ales (Ave B and 2nd) has very good wings too.

                Just make sure to go at a time when they're slinging a fair number of wings.

                Wingman, are you out there? Care to chime in?

                12 Replies
                1. re: Andrew P.

                  1849...on bleecker and mcdougal - suprisingly awesome wings - very fresh

                  1. re: dsobes

                    I am a wings junkie as well and have scoured the city in my pursuit of the finest. I would say hands down the wings at Scruffy Duffy's are the best (46th and 8th). They are crisp, have great flavor and are consistently excellent. At $6.50 for an order of 12 they are pretty reasonable as well. I have tried blondie's too, which are a close runner-up.

                    1. re: razzledazzle

                      Traditional: Back Page Sports Bar (UES)..I love how they do them well done/ crunchy

                      Non-Traditional: Dinosaur BBQ

                      IMO Blondies are not that good...

                      1. re: Cpalms

                        Second the recommendation for The Back Page. A co-worker and I used to sneak off to there for lunch every once in a while when our bosses were out. Wings, a burger and a beer. If only every workday lunch were that good!

                        1. re: Cpalms

                          Blondies on the Upper West and Scruffy Duffys are tied for my favorite wings in NYC. My second choice is Back Page, but I can't call them traditional. They're wings have a strong Tobasco taste, too strong for me to consider them traditional wings. They are consistent though so I will be going back.

                      2. re: dsobes

                        I wish this had been kept a secret. The bar is crowded enough as it is. 1849's wings are what kept me alive when I was on a poor researcher's stipend. But even if they weren't cheap, they are still the perfect balance of tang and spice on a thoroughly meaty wing. And the outside has just that perfect level of crisp snap. Every time I leave New York, land of haute cuisine that it is, it's funny, 1849's wings are one of the things I miss most.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          See my review re: 1849, which let's you know that the wings are 20 cents each every day from 3-6. Entire bar is half off at that time too. Enjoy.

                        2. re: dsobes

                          Yeah, they're tasty at 1849, but really a joke for size and buffalo wing authenticity. From 3-6pm they are 20 cents every day. Across the street at Town Taven (W 3rd and 6th Ave) has what I believe to be some of the best bargain 10 cent wings all day Saturday. Excellent heat and nice crispiness- a true deal (and draught beer specials ta boot).

                        3. re: Andrew P.

                          Maybe that accounts for the widly inconsistent wings i get from Atomic (1st Ave in EVil).

                          The last time I ordered them was during the NCAA Final Four and they were waaay better than the "just ok" I'd come to expect. That day, the wings were fresh, tasty and even seemed a bit bigger than normal. Who knows maybe they ran out od their standard scrawney wings and had to run to the supermarket for a more normal size wing, <s>

                          Still I'd wish that a specific request for "extra crispy" would not come so soaked in sauce that the wings end up resembling soup chicken and have spend some quality time under the broiler

                          As the only real wing delivery option here in Stuy Town, i gotta praise them for getting them here pretty damn quick.

                          1. re: was_bk

                            Okay...never been to Blondies- apparentlyi have to go there. Scruffy Duffy's are alright but I didnt love them.
                            1849 has decent wings for cheap but there was a LOT of fat on them when I had them.
                            Croxley's are good..always enjoyed them.

                            some that havent been mentioned:

                            Wogies has great wings. Big, Crispy and buttery. I would say more about them but I honestly haven't been in over a year and I remeber hearing they had gone downhill.

                            For delivery Best Wingers Express is awesome!!! So much better then Pluck U or atomic. They always seem fresh and have different flavors.

                            Grand Saloon on 23rd street has big, crispy wings and is one of my favorites. A little bit of a tangy hot sauce. The one problem is that they can be hit or miss. During football season I'll get themat least once a week and I'll say 1 out of every 8 times they are small and unimpressive.

                            The best place was Aiello's on 3rd but they burned down last year :(

                            1. re: roze

                              I'm still upset about Aiello's. Just no place in the area really compares to them.

                              1. re: ESNY

                                Man I miss Aiello's. I wish they would sell their receipe to one of the new bars.

                        4. I still go for Atomic Wings any day- particulary their location at Bar Coastal in the upper east side. Also Blodies definitely too! Had they recently at the 79th st location and they were still slammin.
                          I make sure to order my wings cooked well done and "as spicy as they can make them", maybe this helps to get fresher wings?
                          I'm gonna have to try Scruffy Duffy's, they get a lot of kudos on this topic.

                          1. As an original Buffalo girl I'm always trying to find some comparable chicken wings (i agree Duff's are the best in Buffalo, Bar Bill in EA a close second)...I think Blondies are the best I've had so far in NYC. Especially if you ask for them to be a little bit crispy. There is also the problem in nyc of the blue cheese never being quite thick enough.

                            I'm looking forward to trying some of the others mentioned!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nyclaw71

                              Just had some awesome wings last nght at Slainte in the East Village. They were huge, crispy and cheap! Not the best in the city but a great wing if your in the area. Two for one drinks as well!

                            2. My vote goes to "The Carriage House" on East 59th street.
                              Fantastic "real" wings!

                              1. Just had Scruffy Duffy wings last night, and I have to give them my #1 vote again. Blondie's wings were a bit greasy and undercooked when I had them (only twice, but 2 strikes...) Will have to check out Grand Saloon, which is in the nabe.

                                BTW, purists do NOT dip wings in the bleu cheese dressing. The dressing is for dipping the CELERY only!!!!

                                1. I'll put in a vote for Rathbone's on 2nd and 88th.

                                  Tipsy

                                  1. I like the boneless variety at Atomic wings.... chicken "littles" or whatever
                                    They are so good.
                                    Not served with celery/carrots though :(

                                    The Back Page has some good ones, and of course Blondies.....

                                    1. I went to school in Buffalo and have always agreed that Duff's is best. (While there I worked my way up to the "Hot is Very, Very Hot" wings. Add a pitcher of Squirt and you're good to go.)

                                      Anyway, I know this is near blasphemy, but the wings at ESPNZone (stick with me here) are surprisingly good. What they lack is authentic texture. They are crispier than a real buffalo wing and not as "wet" as they should be. Neither characteristic is unpleasant - just different than a true Buffalo wing. However, the flavor is 95% spot-on. They never disappoint.

                                      1. Here's an update as I began this thread in April and have since visited a few more of these institutions:

                                        Bonnies in Park Slope: Totally mediocre and overrated: read my full review here:
                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/249704

                                        Mudville 9: These were good, not great, but I can imagine on the right night they could achieve levels of greatness. The wings hadn't been fried perfectly, the skin was a little too limp, and the sauce was agreeably hot, but lacked any subtle flavor whatsoever.

                                        Scruffy Duffys: This place first of all is racist, which is vile, check the website which basically says don't come in if you're Arab or black. Anyway, they give you a good amount of wings for your buck, but mine were kind of drowned in sauce, and were not anything special, providing one of the very few times where I've actually left a wing uneaten.

                                        I still want to try Croxley's and 1849, but for some reason it's always Wednesdays when I want to go, and that's both establishments all you eat night, which would not be a good or fair representation of their best wing work.

                                        Blondie's still the best in my opinion...but THE SEARCH CONTINUES!!!

                                        1. Good: Croxley Ales, Barrow St. Ale House, Nice Guy Eddie's.

                                          Avoid at all cost: Atomic Wings. These guys gave us rotten wings once and my girlfriend was violently ill for 2 days. I called them, the owner was nice on the phone and said he would give me a refund (measly $30). He lied. Bad business, bad wings.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: smokedgouda

                                            I went to Syracuse Univ. & have fond memories of Sal's Birdland Wings. Mmmm .. not traditional Buffalo wings, but awesome all the same.

                                          2. They depart ever so slightly from true Buffalo wings but the wings at RUB on 23rd street are phenomenal. The reach a level I've never had before. They just might be to big to qualify as "Buffalo" but if you turn your nose up at them you'd be missing out.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jbosh

                                              i concur with a lot of you- my fave are still blondies (though i'm partial to the west side one) and the atomic wings at down the hatch (yes, if you can deal with the "element" which happens to be ok during random weeknight happy hours or late nite! i've had both recently.

                                              i was underwhelmed last time i had scruffy duffy's but they are usually ok... 1849 is also pretty good, especially on 20c nite! and rathbones is great!

                                              i haven't been to croxley's or barrow in ages- will have to try their's again soon.

                                              here's one to avoid: molly pitcher's on the UES

                                            2. I'm not a fan of Blondie's. Way to undercooked and greasy and the buffalo sauce was missing that hearty kick. My one go-to place is surprisingly Uptown Restaurant on 88 and 3rd. Crispy, spicy, and heavenly. And the blue cheese is nice and thick, not watered down like at Blondie's. Must try.

                                              1. Biddy Earlys in the City has amazing wings...I will go try blondies cuz I love Wings

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                                                Biddy Early's
                                                43 Murray St, New York, NY 10007