Last week, Goodfriend Beergarden and Burger House announced a new menu was in place. Owners Matt Tobin and Josh Yingling worked with chef Eric Salome, who used to work at the Omni Hotel, to develop new menu items that include a number of new burgers, a changing seasonal salad and a cheese board. Other menu items were refreshed, and there are new cocktails, too. It's like our old, favorite beer and burger bar in East Dallas went on vacation and came back with a tan.
There was one more change I found after pouring over the menu on a recent visit. Beer is making its way as an ingredient into many of the dishes. And in addition to the cheesecake with beer in its crust, and hot dogs wrapped in pancakes with beer in their batter, there are chicken wings coated with a sauce that's laced with beer. It's these wings, though, you're really going to want to pay attention to.
I consider myself a hot head. I nibbled on a Trinidad scorpion chili at Zest Fest, and I ate wings at Bryan Street Tavern meant to cluck me up. I have no intention of ever pulling off my own personal Man Versus Food with capsaicin-times-infinity, but I like spicy food. So when I was given the choice between mild, sweet and spicy sauce for my wings, I didn't think twice. I'd had the wings at Goodfriend a couple of times, and while they have always had a bite, I found them manageable.
But this most recent batch had me backed into a corner. I don't normally enjoy breaded wings, but the cooks here always manage to get that coating crispy. The problem is that breading hangs on to even more of the sauce. The hairs in my nose withered, and my eyes watered when the plate arrived. After finishing my second wing I wondered if I was in over my head.
I can't remember the last time I didn't finish an order of wings, and this plate only had eight. I barely finished half of them. I resulted to taking tiny nibbles from each chicken appendage just so I could say I'd "eaten" all of them. Combine this with the fact that I'd hardly eaten all day and I was starving, and maybe you'll believe me: These are pretty hot.
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The bartender told me the sauces change now and again as they incorporate different beers, so expect a lot of variety for your own wing experiences. You might get something you can barely handle, or you might end up with spicy wings that barely warm your palate. Just be careful. And think twice about that annihilator burger topped with a sauce made with scorpion and ghost chilies. Considering how innocuous the spicy wings sounded, this burger sounds downright dangerous.