Blog: Best Wings in Brooklyn
LocalBozo.com knows a thing or two about tasty buffalo wings. So far we have taken you to both the Upper West Side and West Village of Manhattan, showing you who truly reigns supreme at making delicious and addictive wings in each neighborhood. Fear not- we have more of our three way wing battles on the way to whet your appetite with. So far, we have only tasted the spice that Manhattan wings have to offer, but as you know your city has five boroughs, all of which have their own food scene. With that in mind, this past Saturday, your friends at LocalBozo.com checked out a wing competition in another borough as the Red Star bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn presented an event known simply as “The Best Wings In Brooklyn Competition.”
This would be the first time that the LocalBozo crew would be able to put all of our new found wing knowledge to the test as we sampled wings from fourteen joints all around Brooklyn. Inside, Red Star was an outstanding venue to hold such a massive event. Located on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and West Street, Red Star boasts two huge floors, with long bars and large flat screen televisions. Fortunately, the place was spacious because to say this event was well attended may be the understatement of the year. We arrived shortly after 1:30pm, knowing the event would commence at 2:00pm and the line outside was already getting quite long. By the time we were let inside, we heard people saying that the line had begun to snake around the block. Hey, Brooklynites really love their wings. It also didn’t hurt that the event was completely free to the public, although a portion of each of the contestant’s entry fees would be donated to The Food Bank For New York City, a cause that feeds the hungry.
Once we stepped through the doors, we were literally thrown right into the mix, and wing purveyors immediately began handing us plates of chicken to sample for judging. The first one we sampled was from Life Cafe of Bushwick and was graciously handed over by their friendly staff. The first bites were excellent, providing a smoky, well sauced wing. The first bite let us know right away that we were playing in the big leagues now. Before I could finish the wing, I already had another one in my hand from the next competitor. That’s how fast paced this event was, considering we wanted to taste every single offering before the bar became too crowded. Judging by the impatient crowd outside, our time to cove around comfortably was running out.
It should be noted that all wings are clearly not created equal, as each of the 14 vendors all had wings that were different in their own ways. Some fried and some baked, and some incredibly meaty, while others were tear inducing spicy. And some like Crown Heights’ own Super Wings NY, were supremely sweet. The staff from Super Wings was out in full force, and wore huge smiles across their faces. We chatted them up for a few minutes and learned the wing we were going to try was made with a sweet gingery sauce, which was a bold, distinct flavor compared to the other wings. We then ascended the stairs to the main wing tasting room, continuing our journey and taking notes on our favorites along the way.
One wouldn’t think to cleanse the palette between food during a competition like this, but it really is necessary; for if you fail to do so, then everything will start tasting the same. Luckily, Red Star is a bar, which has the greatest palette cleanser of all: beer. Simply washing the taste of each previous wing out of your mouth helps you to really discern the flavors from each entry. It also doesn’t hurt that beer pairs excellently with anything, including wings.
The second floor, or the main wing room, was packed with hungry wing lovers from far and wide. All of the wing joints were set up, along the walls in a semi-circle, allowing patrons to go clockwise around the room for sampling. Before we begin distinguishing tasty wings against each other, I tell you this without any BS: every wing we tried was delicious. The vendors truly care about making these little wings tasty, and each drumstick piece seems to pop with flavor. But like always there were some joints that stood out in front of the pack. For instance, Park Slope’s Bonnie’s Grill was there in full force. As you know from a previous review, we love this place, and obviously so do you as it always seems to appear on people’s best of lists. The wings do not disappoint and today was no different. The two other joints who deserve a lot of love are Buffalo Boss of downtown Brooklyn and The Kettle Black representing Bay Ridge. First off, Buffalo Boss claims to be the home of Jay-Z’s favorite wing. And upon trying one, I could see why. These were both spicy and flavorful. The color was also impressive, as each wing had a uniform golden skin to it.
The Kettle Black of Bay Ridge had their crew out slinging wings like it’s their job. I presume that’s because it is. Besides being a cool bunch of guys, they sure do know their stuff when it comes to wing preparation. The sauce was nothing short of killer. I found myself going back again and again to have some more, since the event was not only free, but the number of samples were limitless. I usually do not think of Bay Ridge as a wing destination in Brooklyn, but after today I will surely be taking the F and the R train out there to chow down on these bad boys.
Like we said this event was massively popular. As the sampling continued, the crowd got larger. The event even brought out one of the borough’s favorite sons, Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz. This guy loves Brooklyn, and it shows, as he is always seen attending events such as this and boasting about how truly great this area is. He joked with the crowd that they should try the wing, enjoy them, but then leave because of the massive horde of people still waiting in line outside. Like we said, this event was extremely popular and everyone and their mother wanted a taste. But as the crowd became restless and the day wore on, the time for judging had come. As patrons weaved in and out of vendor lines between other tasters, they were handed ballots to fill out with their favorite wings.
After a full afternoon of beer swilling and mouth wiping, the votes had been tabulated to declare a winner for “The Best Wings in Brooklyn Competition” for 2011. The winner came from a wing that we failed to mention up to this point as the host’s own Raspberry BBQ Wings were named the People’s Choice winner as Red Star themselves took home the prestigious honors. Red Star’s wings stood out because of their crimson color, sesame seeded garnish, and sweet, sticky, raspberry flavor. And they were absolutely some of the tastiest wings at the event. While several LocalBozo Crew members may disagree on the best wing (The Kettle Black was neck and neck for us), we left completely satiated and satisfied, with a new found respect for the art of wing making. Lone gone are the days of opening up a jar of ordinary buffalo sauce and saucing a chicken wing, and as these different vendors proved, a little innovation even to a comfort food staple can be both exciting and eye opening. And LocalBozo.com certainly appreciates it.
773 Lounge – Kensington
Bean Post Pub – Bay Ridge
Bonnie’s Grill – Park Slope
Buffalo Boss – Downtown Brooklyn
Flipsters – Park Slope
Keg And Lantern – Greenpoint
Life Cafe- Buswhick
Red Star – Greenpoint
Rocky Sullivan’s – Red Hook
Super Wings NY – Crown Heights
Wheelers – Sheepshead Bay
Yellow Hook Grille -Bay Ridge
- Alan Smithee and Jane Van Arsdale