Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Twenty Wings and a Prayer

While passing through Buffalo, NY, we embark upon a hunt for the best buffalo wings the city has to offer. Many local eateries fight to bear this claim to the famous style of deep-fried chicken wings slathered in cayenne pepper hot sauce. The main contenders boil down to Anchor Bar -- the originators of the spicy preparation -- and Duff's Sheridan Patio.

After surveying the reviews and recommendations, we settle on Duff's.

Upon entering Duff's you are confronted with a warning -- "Medium is Hot, Hot is Very Hot, Very Hot is Extremely Hot." In other words, Duff's sauce is pushing limits of the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale. Their wing sauces range from Mild, to three variations of Medium, to Hot and, finally, Suicidal.

The bargain $7.99 lunch special offers 10 wings and your choice of two sides -- a bowl of chili, soup, salad, or fries. We order two lunch specials -- one with Medium sauce and the other with Medium Hot (aka "Very Hot").

Our plate of wings arrive and the experience is physical. My Medium Hot wings bathe in a glowing fiery red pool of sauce while Brett's Mediums vibrate a near neon orange-red. Immediately a pungent whiff of vinegar and capsaicin assaults the nostrils.
As you raise the wing to your mouth, the hot aroma rushes into your throat and nose at once, choking you in anticipation of the heat.

One bite into the meaty drumette and your lips pucker in stimulation, your tongue goes numb and you taste the electric combination of sour, salt and spice. It's so addictive. Your fingers and thumbs quickly get sticky with the sauce. But you can't stop until your body begs for mercy (and it does). Luckily they're served with celery and carrots sticks to extinguish the fire in a cool, crisp bite drenched with creamy blue cheese sauce. The combination is sublime.

Duff's wins on a few levels: these are by far the meatiest, most succulent wings and drumettes I've ever had -- five of them will fill you up. Also, from the get-go Duff's has been frying their wings in pure trans fat free vegetable oil, which gives an indication of quality. Their hot sauce is made simply from vinegar, cayenne red pepper, salt and garlic, but they've devised an ingredient ratio that reaches the divine.

Duff's Sheridan Patio
3651 Sheridan Dr
Buffalo, NY 14226
(716) 834-6234
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