Winging It: Finding the Perfect Chicken
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 21:03
Task: Find the best wings in Georgetown. Purpose: to enlighten the ignorant masses of what exactly makes the perfect chicken wing. Contenders: The Tombs, J. Paul’s, Mr. Smith’s and Old Glory. Qualifications: Yearly trips to the chicken wing capital of the world: Buffalo, N.Y. Criteria: Sauciness, crispiness, presentation (hint: it doesn’t matter) and spiciness. Price: Permanent digestive track damage.
Our first destination was M Street barbeque Old Glory. The hot sauce bath started out well. The wings at Old Glory were beer-battered, slow-cooked and smoked, which gave them a unique taste. They were crispy and sweet at first but then turned surprisingly spicy. One of the chief complaints was that there was not enough celery, and this is an extremely important component of the meal. Old Glory’s biggest strength, and biggest weakness, was the wings’ one-of-a-kind taste, which differentiated them from any other chicken wings I’ve ever had. When I order chicken wings, I want consistency, and these were perhaps just a little too different.
Shortly after, we arrived at Mr. Smith’s, and I was dismayed by the un-chicken-wing-like atmosphere. Being a piano bar, it was a little too fancy. I’m sorry, but jazz music and chicken wings do not pair well. Unfortunately, the chicken wings did not make up for the atmosphere. There was too much sauce. They were more flabby than crispy. They didn’t have that necessary kick of spice. Instead, they just left the feeling that your lips were going to burn off. Note to self: Never order chicken wings from a piano bar.
At J. Paul’s was when the chicken wing exhaustion set in. The wings were in front of us in a jiffy. For about a minute, we stared at them, took a deep breath and picked up another wing. These wings were mediocre — fairly crispy, good spice and just slightly too saucy. These are the wings that, to the untrained palette, would be seen as good chicken wings. They’re worth ordering if you really are in the mood for chicken wings, but I simply can’t fully back ordering chicken wings that are simply mediocre.
Delirious from all of the hot sauce, we opted to order the wings to go and took them back to my cousin’s apartment, where we then proceeded to share a truly magical moment. I couldn’t tell if I was crying because of the unhealthy amount of hot sauce I had already consumed or if I had finally found what I had been looking for, but regardless, these wings were truly something special. They had a spicy kick that didn’t overwhelm your taste buds. The sauce was infused into the wing, not dripping off the ends. They were truly as crisp as any other good chicken wing I’ve ever eaten.
For Georgetown students, Wingo’s is the premier stop for all things wings. I assumed that a restaurant that specializes in making chicken wings would make good chicken wings. I’m going to admit I was duped because Wingo’s was simply meh. Not only were the wings overly saucy, not crispy enough, doused in a boring, one-note sauce, Wingo’s committed a serious chicken wing sin. There was no celery. I was given bleu cheese sauce, but no celery. This oversigh reflects the lack of understanding of the art of chicken wings in the 21st century world.
THE WINNER IS...
Georgetown, I can only recommend ordering chicken wings at one place, and that’s The Tombs. Simply put, they’re the best chicken wings I’ve eaten outside of Buffalo. Please, don’t be that uncultured kid who orders chicken wings somewhere else in Georgetown and say they’re "good," because I can assure you that they’re not.