Buffalo wings are at their best when eaten by the dozen, accompanied by cheap beer and football. But lately, we’ve noticed a number of new, more adventurous, wing riffs, um, taking flight around town. Maybe it was Andy Ricker’s game-changing fish-sauce version at Pok Pok Ny that set off a mania for Asian-inflected wings — and we’re also seeing jerk preparations and traditional pub-grub versions, amped up. As far as we know, nobody’s getting sued over any of these.
Ginger Lollipop Wings
Where to get them: Bia
These sweet and gingery wings arrive on a no-frills (okay, kind of frilly) bed of lettuce, but it’s the roadhouse bar setting — with a funky wooden roof deck — that really make them worth chomping into.
Where to get them: Cocktail Bodega
At Matt Levine and Co.’s brand-new bar, chef Roble applies curry spices to his fowl and then slow-cooks and sears it, giving it that ideal tender-inside crispy-outside texture. A tamarind dipping sauce plays up the Indian flavors.
Hickory-Smoked Jerk Chicken Wings
Where to get them: Ducks Eatery
Executive chef Will Horowitz takes his wing preparation seriously, brining the appendages overnight in fish sauce, Jamaican yellow curry, palm sugar, and limes, then slow-smoking them over hickory and painting on house-made jerk sauce.
Jerk Chicken Wings
Where to get them: Kingston Hall
Jamaican cool kids in the sixties were presumably not too cool to dig into chicken wings. Here, they’re rendered jerk-style, naturally — wash down the spicy version with a Pussy Galore (muddled pineapple, papaya, lemon, and simple syrup with Maker’s Mark).
Where to get them: Lake Trout
The vintage-Baltimore-inspired joint throws just about everything on the brief menu into the deep fryer, and wings are no exception.
Chongqing Chicken Wings
Where to get them: Mission Chinese Food
In typical Chongqing style, deep-fried wings are served atop a heap of fiery red chilies. In Danny Bowien style, the highlight of the dish is the bits of crunchy yet melting fried tripe, so delicious we’d order extra as a side if we could.
Ike’s Fish Sauce Wings
Where to get them: Pok Pok Ny
If you haven’t heard praises sung for Andy Ricker’s remarkable fish-sauce-and-sugar-marinated Vietnamese-style wings, you’ve surely been living under a 1998 copy of Zagat Survey. Pok Pok Wing on the LES may be dunzo, but we found the wings tastier in Brooklyn, anyway — the advantage of being able to cook them on gas.
Where to get them: Pork Slope
Dale Talde takes spicy-making liberties with wings at his badass new bar, using not one but three heat-adding agents. Turns out, all-natural fowl that’s coated in rice flour and then fried tastes pretty excellent when sprinkled with cayenne and dipped in in a sauce of smoked garlic, Sriracha, Frank’s Red Hot, honey, and butter.
Where to get it: Yunnan Kitchen
“Mala” refers to the numbing spicy sensation brought on by the Sichuan peppercorns in which these steamed wings and drumsticks are tossed. The special is offered most nights, though arrive early or Yunnan is apt to run out