Apr 20, 2011 Josef Lorenz Uncategorized
On the heels of the Downtown results, next up in the 2011 Wing Tournament is the Northside/Eastwood bracket. Shifty’s Bar and Grill took on Gianni’s Bronx Style Pizza, with Change of Pace faced Original Italian Pizza.
Northside / Eastwood Opening Round: Game 1
(1) Shifty’s Bar & Grill’s “hot” wings: 4 points
(4) NY Gianni’s Bronx Style Pizza’s “hot” wings: 3 points
The closest match-up to date pitted Shifty’s hot wings against Gianni’s hot wings.
While Gianni’s “dart” style wings, a mix of hot, garlic, and barbecue flavors, should not go unnoticed, their hot wings were barely edged out by Shifty’s. For the first time in the tournament, blue cheese actually had to play tie-breaker.
As a 4-seed, Gianni’s puts out strong competition with wings that have a great skin and a good balance of slight crunchiness covered in a very vinegar-based Buffalo sauce. Make sure you have napkins for these! While hotness and amount of sauce may have been in favor of Gianni’s, Shifty’s homemade sauce was slightly more classic and even contained tiny pieces of tomatoes and chilies hiding among the wings.
Shifty’s also boasted tender meat (5 out of 5 on my account) and were great bar wings overall.
Downsides of Shifty’s was a rather disappointing lack of heat (which was more like a strong mild) and a sauce that tended to dry out midway through the meal. Gianni’s weren’t bad for take-out and on this visit were a winning combo with their delicious sheet pizza, but Shifty’s takes the battle with larger and more consistent wings, tender meat, good flavor, and perfectly chunky blue cheese.
Winner: Shifty’s Bar & Grill
Northside / Eastwood Opening Round: Game 2
(2) Change of Pace’s “Hot / Extra Crispy” wings: 5
(3) Original Italian Pizza’s “Hot / Char-Grilled” wings: 1
Don’t let the lop-sided score fool you: both of these competitors faired very well and were above average in most cases. OIP was able to pull out perfectly tender char-grilled chicken coated in a hot sauce that had a great peppery flavor. Change of Pace was highlighted by jumbo chicken wings covered in an excellent and traditional Buffalo sauce with a lingering heat that, in terms of this bracket, was refreshing to taste. I’d do OIP again for take-out wings, but this one goes to Change of Pace. While their brand contained an above average amount of tendons, it’s hard to resist their classic flavor and what were otherwise perfect and traditional Buffalo wings in all other aspects.
Winner: Change of Pace
Northside / Eastwood Second Round: Championship Game
(2) Change of Pace’s “Hot / Extra Crispy” wings: 4 points
(1) Shifty’s Bar & Grill’s “hot” wings: 3 points
Shifty’s sure likes a close match-up, but it just wasn’t enough to surpass Change of Pace. Both even had excellent blue cheese (some of the best in the tournament) with a slight edge going to Shifty’s for a chunky style, which I’m a fan of. Honestly, I was hoping Shifty’s would bring the heat with their wings, seeing as how they come in various styles like fatal, xtra hot, and f-bomb, to name a few. But Change of Pace’s were actually hotter. Shifty’s great chicken meat and excellent homemade sauce flavor wasn’t enough to pass Change of Pace’s jumbo wings the contained a slightly crispy skin covered in a great classic wing sauce.
Winner and champion of the Northside / Eastwood bracket: Change of Pace
There you have it. Change of Pace will take on Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in the Final Four. Stay tuned for the remaining 2 brackets. And Pulled Into Syracuse’s 2011 Wing Tournament Champion will be crowned within the next couple weeks.
Josef Lorenz is a Syracuse resident and blogger who contributes bi-weekly to The Eagle. His extensive list of restaurant reviews are online at pulledintosyracuse.blogspot.com .