This review originally appeared as a guest post on Kevin Shalin’s wonderful blog The Mighty Rib as part of our monthly series called He Said, He Said. Here it is again, but with my expanded thoughts. I like to think of this as my director’s cut. I hope you enjoy it.
In gastronomic history, the wings of gallus gallus domesticus, the modern chicken, were an oft-disregarded part. Then once at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, on what I like to think of as an especially blustery Northern day, true magic happened: the buffalo chicken wing was born.
I came to Jacob’s Wings and Grill on a quest for a delicious buffalo chicken wing. I wanted crispy fried skin and a buttery and vinegary hot sauce with a side of cooling blue cheese, and maybe a few celery and carrots for vegetal posterity. What I found was good, an approximation at all counts, but not an epiphany (well, except for those fries). I do think, though, that with a few tweaks, this family restaurant could really be onto something great.
I ordered the 10 piece, which came as half drummettes and half wings, all real chicken on the bone. They were fried in hot oil until crispy, and thankfully were not battered. As far as I am concerned, two roads diverged in a wood; one named fried chicken wings, one named breaded fried chicken wings. And I—I took the more delicious one, and that has made all the difference. To be clear, breaded fried chicken wings will, in the words of the inimitable Church Lady, send your taste buds straight to H E double hockey sticks. I’m glad they follow that rule here.
But the sadness was in the hot sauce. It tasted straight from the bottle, simply poured over the beautifully fried wings. They would have been so much better had the hot sauce been heated in a pan with a splash more white vinegar to reduce the gloppyness, and a pat of butter to increase the glossiness. And maybe if they were a little spicier.
They came with a standard bottled blue cheese which was fine, but I pined for something homemade. This is a family restaurant, after all. Perhaps that great blue cheese dressing from my Lady and Sons cookbook. Cheap, easy, magical.
The fries were the hit here. Fresh potatoes, fried nicely. They’re addictive. Don’t miss them.
On my second visit, I decided to try the Greek gyro salad. This one had the standard lettuce, feta, black olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and was covered by a half dozen or so grilled thick slices of gyro and grilled onions. Over this promising start was poured a standard bottled Italian dressing. That made me sad. What a waste to sully the salad with a commercial dressing. It would have been so simple to dress this with a nice lemony homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Also, this salad should come with some fresh pita. Sadly, I felt this missed the mark as a whole.
You know I love a family place. Grandpa, sitting at a table by the door, watching videos on his laptop and listening to them on his wireless headphones and laughing, laughing, is just priceless. I just wish the food was better as a whole. More homemade finishes. But the fries are a hit. So if you’re in the neighborhood and have a hankering for fries, stop on by. But the rest, well, the rest just needs a little more family attention.