Buffalo Wing Battle-Minus the Buffalo

This past weekend (very last minute or I would have altered alerted you dear MetBlog readers) I found myself at the first ever Buffalo Battle-aka the “War of the Wings.”  The scoop?  J. Paul’s Chef Darrell “Big Wing” Hughes faced off against Old Glory’s Chef Richard “The Pit Master” Brooks in a four round cook off to see just who has the better wings.  For the price of admission spectators got two complimentary drinks and (wait for it) all the wings you could eat.  Proceeds went to the very worthy cause of the DC Central Kitchen.

As a native Western New Yorker, both hungry for wings and willing to donate to a good cause, I felt uniquely qualified to show up at this event and cast my own judgment on these so called “Buffalo Wings.”  Yes much like the native of Philly who is fond of saying “that’s not a real cheese steak”, the Chicago transplant who says “ugh! you call this pizza?” and the New York City tourist that can’t wait to tell you just how much “better the <fill in just about anything> is in New York”-I too become a food snob when wings are brought into the mix.   Especially when someone calls them “Buffalo Wings.”   

So on this, the alleged anniversary of the Buffalo Wing (Happy 44th!) allow me to share my thoughts with you:

Old Glory showed off their BBQ skills via the chicken wing-their classic wings literally fell of the bone with an almost “smoked” flavor to them. Their signature wings took the Buffalo bitter flavor and mixed it with their own BBQ sauce that was truly awe inspiring-winning both of those rounds. 

J Paul’s went for a much lighter approach.  Their classic wings were the most “Buffalo” tasting of the group-but it was so incredibly light it was almost as if you were just remembering the taste rather than tasting it.  My only thought was “go strong or go home.”  The Signature wings, however, were a tremendous step up.  Jerk Chicken with Mango which, contrary to the actual judging panel, I thought stole the show.   

Throw in a couple of couches, a bean bag toss game and a big screen TV to watch football on and the event was a lot of fun.

The only thing missing from the Buffalo Battle of Wings?  Actual Buffalo Wings.  Yes, as good as these wings all were and as many as I ate (and I ate a LOT) not one of them actually passed the “I would call this a Buffalo Wing” test.  Much the way cupcakes can be great without being birthday cake or a hamburger can taste great without it being a steak-these wings, despite their awesomeness, just weren’t descendents of the original Bellisimo family recipe.

Washington DC is great because it creates an opportunity to share the best parts of this country with people from all over in one place.  So next year (and I hope they do this again next year) it would be great to open this up to more restaurants and make at least one of the rounds about being the best “Buffalo Wing.”  There are plenty of area restaurants and bars that, in my humble opinion, get it right.  More restaurants=more wings and more people which should, in turn, mean more money for DC Central kitchen and more fun.  Can’t argue with that logic!

Any thoughts DC?  What makes a good wing, or where to get one?   I’m partial to Garrett’s, Clydes and 51st State myself.  Do you have a favorite regional food you’d like to see a competition for?  Comments, as always, are welcome-particularly when they come with a side of blue cheese. 


1 Comment so far

  1. tkmycall on October 3rd, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    Buffalo D’s in Ballston has very solid "buffalo" wings. Give them a try!

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