Apr 09, 2011 Josef Lorenz Uncategorized
The Downtown bracket kicks off the 2011 Pulled Into Syracuse Wing Tournament. Winner of the Downtown bracket advances to the Final Four and will take on the winner of the Northside/Eastwood bracket.
Downtown Round 1: Game 1
(1) Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s “Wango Tango” wings: 4 points
(4) J. Ryan’s “Hot” wings: 0 points
As a 4 seed facing a 1 seed, J. Ryan’s wings put up a good fight against Dino’s heavily favored Wango Tango variety. A zero in the score shouldn’t imply that J. Ryan’s were bad by any means. They were delicious and fared surprisingly well. They were just no match for Dino’s smoky, spicy, and sauce-slathered chicken wings. J. Ryan’s were above average in most aspects and even fared well with a sauce that tasted more like a bottled brand than the traditional Frank’s Red Hot style.
Regardless, they still had that great Buffalo-style flavor. If you love crispy wings, look to J. Ryan’s for the crispiest I’ve ever had. But Dino pulled out the stops with an amazing skin that was slightly charred and had enough crispness to balance the chewiness, a lingering heat that makes you want to eat more, and some of the most tender chicken wing meat ever.
Untraditional, yes. But for perfectly crispy and smoky wings, Dino doesn’t mess around.
Winner: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Downtown Round 1: Game 2
(3) Syracuse Suds Factory’s “Fiery” wings: 5 points
(2) Bull & Bear Pub’s “Hot” wings: 2 points
Somewhat of an under-matched 2 and 3 seed confrontation pitted Bull & Bear’s hot wings against Suds’ Fiery ones. For what it’s worth, J. Ryan’s probably could’ve beat either contestant, but alas, this is what happens in a single-elimination tournament. Since Bull & Bear’s wings were advertised as “award winning,” I expected some serious competition, but they were certainly the weakest among the Downtown seeds with little to no Buffalo flavor, or any flavor, going on.
The generally small wings were topped with sliced pickled jalapenos, a nice touch that added some much-needed heat that was nonexistent otherwise. I’d consider Bull & Bear’s wings slightly below average bar wings in most aspects as they picked up a few points where Suds could not.
Despite being served on the cold side and a sauce that could’ve been a notch hotter, Suds Factory’s Fiery wings did well. The jumbo-style sized wings had an excellent skin that was not overly crispy and was perfect on my account. There was a slightly odd flavor to the sauce that was lingering, leading me to believe that it may have been a less than higher-end bottled brand. Suds’ main downfall, however, was the incredibly dry meat.
Overall, Suds’ fared better and could probably even do really well in other cities that aren’t in Upstate New York.
Winner: Syracuse Suds Factory
Round 2: Championship Game
(1) Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s “Wango Tango” wings: 6 points
(3) Syracuse Suds Factory’s “Fiery” wings: 1 point
Despite the lopsided score, Suds’ are decent wings. But with dry meat, a slightly odd flavor, and tangy but watery blue cheese, they never really stood a chance. The great skin just wasn’t enough to overcome Dino’s perfectly balanced wings. Dinosaur indeed brought its “A” game: a spicy, smokey barbecue sauce, a lingering heat that makes you want to eat more in each bite, and a good blue cheese that doesn’t cloud the wings.
Winner and champion of the Downtown bracket: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
In coming weeks, check back for the results from other neighborhoods and the ultimate winner of the tournament.
Josef Lorenz is a Syracuse resident and blogger who contributes bi-weekly to The Eagle. Check out his restaurant reviews at pulledintosyracuse.blogspot.com .