Still feeling rudderless on the bar-food scene in Dallas, last week I asked Aters to help me find the city's best chicken wings. I asked that they be crispy. I asked that they be sauced in Frank's, and I ask that they be served with a side of baseball on a television.
Almost 20 chimed in, touting Angry Dog, Pluckers, Wingstop and others, but username Mhigbe's comment stood out:
Bryan Street Tavern. Blue cheese (don't bother with the ranch - too much dill).
It was the "too much dill" part that made me want to take a closer look. Scratch dressings are a sign that a restaurant at least cares. That's really all it takes to make a decent chicken wing.
So on Saturday, I stepped into Bryan Street Tavern and stood motionless waiting for my sun-scorched retinas to adjust to the dimly lit bar. There wasn't a soul inside. Good sign. I wondered if Mhigbe was screwing with me.
Jenny was working the bar, sporting a green UNT t-shirt and snacking on a salad. Pandora's Alt-rock station seeped from the speakers. The world cup of softball was playing on TV -- close enough.
I ordered six wings with both ranch and blue cheese, just because I was curious. I ordered them extra crispy, because I always do, and I ordered a Guinness to wash them down.
Chelsea Thomas was throwing some wicked under-handed heat when I heard my wings drop in the fryer through the stainless-steel kitchen door. The oil hissed and popped violently. Minutes later my wings arrived.
Bryan Street sauces their chicken appendages in a Frank's based sauce that they can't resist doctoring up a bit, and they don't mess it up. The wings are crispy (when you ask for them that way), and the blue cheese is is thick and full of chunks of funky blue.
I didn't try anything else (I was on a serious, meat-coma-incuding wing tour), but I talked out the menu with the bartender. I'm inclined to return when I have the time.
And how about that ranch dressing? Just as Mhigbe says, it is heavy on the dill, but there are a whole lot of chives, too. I loved the stuff, but not on my wings. Perhaps it would be a perfect dipper for those deep fried mushrooms that make me salivate as I type this.
Good job Mhigbe. Maybe there's something to that Facebook page devoted to wings she was hawkin' in our comment thread.