One of my friends, an avid scuba diver, told me that the best Buffalo wings she ever tasted were at the Russian River Pub, on Highway 116 just east of Guerneville. She said that a stop there for Buffalo wings on the way back to Berkeley from the ocean was one of the things she most looks forward to when diving in the North bay. I'm not really a big fan of Buffalo wings, but whenever anyone tells me where best ever of anything is to be found, I have to try it. Well, she was right. They are crispy, not greasy, with rich bleu cheese dipping sauce. It might be a special trip for you, but I'm just saying, those were indeed the best I've ever had. The onion rings were killer, too.
I love the wings at Kezar, and they're authentic too. The person who started making wings there had worked at the original place in Buffalo and brought the recipe, and technique to Kezar. I brought my friend from Buffalo there and he loved them. A lot fo other good items on the menu as well; and you can watch Hockey games there too.
re: Frosty Melon
I admit that I used to frequent the Burgermeister in Cole Valley on Mondays for their cheap wings special, and they were always fairly bad. The wings were like cardboard, and always tasted dry no matter how much of their extra sauce you applied (which had an odd tangy taste, lacking the more vinegary taste I prefer). But as I said, I still went there, because the wings were dirt cheap. The wings at Bar None on Wednesdays were really cheap, less dry than Burgermeister's wings, but still, not very good. In my six years of living in SF, I was always searching for decent wings, but mostly came up dissappointed. The places that advertised wings as their specialty -like on Lombard, Valencia, on El camino in San Bruno, the Buffalo Burger place on Geary- sometimes could be good, but they were often inconsistent from one day to the next, frying them either too long or not enough, and every now and then just as they seemed to be getting it right, they'd change their sauce and/or the chicken they used. I generally assume that there aren't enough people in San Francisco who have strict standards for their wings like the people in other parts of the country do, so the sellers can basically sell us anything called chicken wings and most of us just assume that that's how they are "supposed" to be. I have no gripe about variety within a particular food category, or branching out from what you've grown up with. But I do gripe about claims of "original Buffalo style" or "New York Pizza" or "Philly Cheesesteak" because I'm a sucker for it, will order it when I see it, and will unhappily know that I've been fooled yet again.
This may be anathema to many but my favorite wings can be found at Buena Vista Cafe at Terminal 3 of SFO by Gate 80. The are crisp and moist, not breaded...with perfect amount of spice. Served with creamy dressing on the side with a pre-flight beer, it can't be beat. Not sure how the Buena Vista Cafe in Fisherman's Wharf compare, but my work buddies and I often go to the airport bit early just so we can gobble down these amazing wings.
I must preface this post by saying that I am all about the FOOD...I'll sit on an old truck tire and eat off of an upside-down milk crate, if the food's good...I'm comin' back and I'm bringin' my nana on her birthday.
I don't subscribe to the theory that you can only get good "such & such" in "such & such" cities if the needed ingredients are available (with the exception of bagels...I hear more and more that the water and other evironmental conditions contribute to the creation of a great bagel. where are the bagel sommeliers when you need them?)...my favorite Italian restaurant is in the middle of (pardon me for this)one of the worst white trash neighborhoods in Richmond, Virginia...the Osso bucco, Alla Matriciana & Tiramisu are heaven(I might be wary of fresh sashimi in Juarez, Mexico but I still might roll the dice.)
In the years that I have been out here, I've noticed a few distressing things about such a culinary mecca. Often the simple things are hard to find.
My personal quest...
to find a good, reliable source for the following:
1) Good Deli - (Corned Beef, Pastrami, Knishes, Egg Creams, Etc.)
Every suggestion that I've gotten falls miles short of the sort of places that I knew back east. Moishe's Pippic...an embarrassment. East Coast West...in the word(s) of Lindsey Lohan..."adequate". I've heard that there's a good place in the JCC, I've yet to try it.(fingers crossed)
Sadly, I've yet to recapture that initial joy I felt watching that first slab of Pastrami lifted from the heat, red and dripping with juice, at Katz's Deli all those years ago.
2) Cold Sesame Noodles
Something that I'd truly taken for granted. A dish that was included free(with coupon) with your order from Empire Sczechuan & several other eateries in Nyc as surely as hot mustard packets & fortune cookies.
The worst of these past freebies is still on par with the best of dishes that I've eagerly paid for here in the city. They are either presented as a slap of fused cold noodles entombed in a Skippy sarcophagus with a sprig of cilantro or as a carton of warm, fat, flabby noodles in what I can only guess is a hi-speed blended mixture Weight Watcher's peanut butter c.1975, styrofoam packing peanuts (still peanuts, right?) and early attempts at homemade soymilk (no knock against soymilk...huge fan here)
And before I'm buried in replies...No, I haven't tried Brandy Ho's, yet...from what I read, It's my only hope.
Yet, I-I'm so scared...and so cold.
3) Buffalo Wings
This is the intitial gripe that set me to typing this afternoon(and poorly, I should add.)
I sit here, still wiping the grease from my fingers and keyboard, after an order of wings from NY Buffalo Wings (665 Valencia St.)
To be fair...I did order delivery so conditions may be different in house.
My order of a 13 piece of Spicy Buffalo Wings and a "Supreme" Philly Cheese Steak (I know...it's alot of food for one guy but they have a $15.00 delivery limit.)
First, the Cheesesteak.
Small for the price...the roll, bland and flabby, an afterthought. The second half actually fell apart in my grasp.
To their credit, the gooey mix of warm cheese, shaved steak, onions, mushrooms and peppers that poured over my hands and onto my coffee table was quite tasty (Tastier than most, I had a cheesesteak from Burgermeister last night - yes, I have a problem - Better roll but Niman Ranch Beef in the wrong hands is no better than Steak-Ums)
There is potential here.
On to the wings.
As is often the problem, they are small(ish), nothing to really sink your teeth into. I know there are bigger sized wings out there, we've all seen them. I ain't talkin' huge just "bigger"...even slightly. (And please do not attempt to serve me wings with anything less than rich, creamy, chunky blue cheese dressing. Ranch is strictly for soaking your cuticles in.)
The preparation and cooking. Again, I ordered them home delivered. They seemed a bit overcooked (easy to do with small-ish wings) The container that the wings were delivered in didn't help the cause at all. A tall soup container, in which only four of the ordered wings were even in contact with the sauce. I labored though three quarters of the container before I spied the shallow well of sauce at the bottom of the bucket.
Maybe they should send the wings in your typical shallow "to go" box lined in foil and wrapped in celophane...to insure that ALL of the wings are properly sauced.
The sauce, by the way, was grand...though I suspect that it was nothing more than hot sauce (name withheld for legal reasons) and butter.
Can't mess with perfection...or simplicity.
Other lesser quests:
The Perfect Tuna Melt
The Perfect Chicken Fried Steak
(again, I'll settle for good)
Your help is greatly appreciated.
Happy Holidays to all...
Buffalo Wings - I just finished an order some 45 minutes ago $ my quest continues
I think the Buffalo Wings at Jake's Steaks (Buchanan between Lombard and Chestnut) are very good. I know the place has changed hands recently, but it seems like the new owners are keeping things the same. IIRC, four degrees of heat on the sauce: mild, hot, hotter and "fire in the hole". Good cheesesteaks too!
Being from the east coast and constantly searching for half way decent wings, i started to give up and just make them at home.
But then a few months ago i was at Connecticut Yankee (17th and Connecticut) and they had them on the menu and so i ordered a plate and it was closest i have come to the real thing. made with Franks or Crystal, served with real blue cheese dip and celery! not carrots....pheh carrots....
so there is a place that has the real thing, no batter, no fake hot sauce, no ranch dressing dip, and not only 6 on a plate....
there were about a dozen maybe more.
now i don't need to make them at home anymore.
The rest of the food is pretty mediocre, but they do also make a very spicy and very tasty bloody mary.