Wings Reviewed: Buffalo Wings
Genre: Place Known For Wings
Overview: Confession: I read this terrible review of Jim Edmond’s new restaurant, The Precinct about a week before my visit. So I may be a bit biased coming into this wing review. But they were positive about the chicken wings, in their otherwise scathing write-up:
…The chicken wings, for example, were plump and juicy. The black-pepper puree version had a sweet Asian-style glaze, spiced with ground peppercorns. The garlic-parmesan wings, however, were a touch bland and would have benefited from some seasoning.
There was hope! Also, I was excited about the place anyway. I’m a big Cardinals fan, and the fact that the place was run by Jim Edmonds is appealing. But let’s get to what I experienced. This is going to be a bit of a mini-restaurant review as well as a chicken wing review, because the place is new, and people might want to know about it.
My wife and I went out around 3:45 PM on a Saturday. While I assumed it would be pretty dead, there was a decent crowd there, and the bar was pretty full of people watching the Blues game. The place is a big open room with tall ceilings and generally looks like a sports bar. It’s decorated with a lot of police officer themed things, and is dubbed “The Safest Bar In St. Louis” due to its location near the (not yet open) relocated St. Louis Police Headquarters.
We were greeted by a man who was seated at the bar when we walked in, and looked like a patron. He was friendly and casual as he sat us at a booth. We got our menus and drink orders taken quickly. They have 10 beers on tap and 6 were local. Not too bad.
Also a good sign: They have a small menu. It’s 1 side of a sheet, and it’s only got ~30 items on it. I love small menus!
Service went down hill after our drink orders were taken. The host/patron/manager dude who seated us and took our drink orders left. On the way out he told us “the bartender will get you your drink soon.” That wasn’t very true.
When she came with our drinks, She also took our order. We got an appetizer, the garlic parmesan Potato Bat, described as “Fried Potato On a Stick.” It was served spiraled, and long, kind of like a never ending potato chip. Unfortunately, it being cylindrical and much too large for the basket it was served in, in rolled off the basket and onto the table when the waitress delivered it. Whoops! I said it was fine and ate it anyway. It was burnt at one end and undercooked at the other, but the middle was actually pretty good.
My wife had chicken strips, and they were passable, assuming you like chicken strips that were clearly taken out of a box in the freezer and dropped in the deep-frier. She had them served with the Garlic Parmesan sauce – it says “with choice of sauce” – and this was a bad choice. The sauce looked weird and was not of a consistency that lent itself to dipping. This sauce may be fine on wings (I didn’t try it), but it’s not a good choice to serve with chicken strips.
By the time it was all said and done, I think we had 4 or 5 different servers, half of whom were wearing Precinct shirts, and the other half who were not wearing anything that might identify them as employees. The manager/hostess/patron dude who greeted us at the beginning eventually come back, and continued to be possibly too friendly, sitting down uninvited at many tables including our own. His intentions were good, but it came off a bit weird,
Anyway, the Precinct offers their wings in 5 sauces. The “Black Pepper Puree” sounds the most interesting, but as is customary with the Wing Review, I review the Buffalo sauce first, so I can’t tell you if it is actually good or not. Wings cost $9 for a pound. My pound had 8 wings. Wings are served with celery and your choice of blue cheese/ranch. I ordered blue cheese for my wife, but it never showed up. Oh yeah, also, we didn’t get silverwear/napkins, and when I asked, we only got 1 set for the 2 of us. Cool?
BAD • FINE • GOOD • GREAT • BEST
C’mon… when you devote that much of your menu space to wings, and your website headline says “Beer and Wings”, and you have a Wing Challenge, you should probably have good wings. These weren’t bad, but they certainly aren’t something you should build a menu around.
The wings were served moderately undersauced, and with grill marks that look suspiciously fake to me. The wings weren’t exactly soggy, but they certainly weren’t crisp. I suspect if they had been properly sauced, they might have been downright soggy though, so maybe the undersaucing wasn’t such a bad move.
Now let’s talk about this sauce. I ordred “Buffalo” sauce, and I got something that would be called that by 0% of the wing eating population. While my wife disagreed, I would say that there was no Franks-type hot sauce involved in this buffalo sauce. It didn’t seem like there was any butter either. To me, this tasted like a Carolina Mustard BBQ sauce. I’ve had mustardy buffalo sauces, like the ones that Sybergs is known for, but these weren’t like that. This was a mustard BBQ sauce. I thought they may have put the wrong sauce on my wings, but there’s no sauce on the menu called Carolina BBQ, so I guess this is just what their buffalo sauce is. Weird. I can confidently say that they weren’t too spicy, I guess?
Underneath the weird sauce and the not crispy or soggy skin with potentially fake grill marks was a pretty decently cooked chicken wing. The wings were, as the RFT describes them “plump and juicy”, and in the end, those are probably the two best words you could use to describe these wings.
If you’re at the Precinct (a place I wouldn’t reccomend going to), and you order wings (which, despite being underwhelming, were probably the best food I ate there), I would reccomend the Black Pepper Puree sauce, despite having never tried it, or the Stop Resisting sauce, despite having no idea what that might be. My guess is something pretty hot. You’ll have to tell me how they are, because I’m not going back to try them out.
Visited at 3:45pm, 02/08/2014, 1900 Locust Ave. 63103