Buffalo Wild Wings – Wildmessages.com

Last week I was contacted by someone at Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant (or rather, their agency) telling me about a new promotion that they are running.  Yes, people actually find this site and want me to tell all of you wonderful readers about things.  Apparently I’m an influencer.  That makes me quasi-somewhat relevant in some manner.  I think.

I wasn’t going to give them a plug at first, but then I checked out the site and it is pretty cool and who am I to stand in the way of encouraging more hot wing consumption?? Check out wildmessages.com, and if you wind up going there, let me know how it is… there is one a few hours away from here and I’m going to try to get there to try it out sooner rather than later.  I’ve never had them, so I can’t vouch for them, but one would hope that they are good, since, you know, it’s what the restaurant seems to be based around!

Boneyard Barbecue – Seekonk, MA

Recently tried the new Boneyard Barbecue & Saloon in Seekonk, MA.  The entire experience was a disappointment, which I chronicle in my Yelp.com review, but of course, here we’ll just be discussing their wings.

The wing selection looks promising: over 20 sauces, some of which sound extremely interesting.  Several of them are marked as "award-winning" sauces as well.   After much consideration, I went with an order of wings in their "award winning and "signature" house sauce and an order of tenders in their buffalo ranch sauce, a combination that is usually a favorite of mine.

Let’s start with the wings: fairly large in size and well cooked.  But coated.  Ugh.  Why serve coated/breaded wings when you’re going to cover them in sauce?  You just end up with soggy skin and soggy breading.   The sauce itself was very interesting though – it starts off sweet and ends with a healthy dose of heat.  I wasn’t able to quite place the sweetness – I think there was some honey in there.  Possibly some mustard contributing to the heat as well, which would help explain the delayed heat.  It is a remarkably complex sauce on an unfortunate choice of wings.

The tenders were also coated, but it appeared to be in a different manner than the wings and they held their crunch a LITTLE bit longer than the wings.  However, the sauce wasn’t nearly as much of a hit as the house sauce, primarily because the "ranch" portion of "buffalo ranch" was underwhelming, leaving it tasting more like just a toned down creamy buffalo wing sauce, rather than adding a deeper dimension of flavor.  I detected a distinct mustard tone to the sauce as well.  Arizona Ranch from Quaker Steak & Lube these ain’t!

Like all the food at Boneyard, the wings left me disappointed but not completely horrified.  They weren’t undercooked or bad tasting… they just aren’t executed very well.

RATING: 2 out of 5 stars

Hard Rock Cafe – Orlando, FL

The Hard Rock Cafe is obviously closely related to Planet Hollywood, at least in concept – take a part of pop culture and exploit it in a restaurant setting, creating a destination venue.  However, not only has the Hard Rock had greater success in America and Internationally, but the restaurants simply execute their themes and food better than Planet Hollywood.

Case in point: their wings… the HRC Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings with Classic Rock sauce came as part of the Jumbo Combo we shared at our table.  While not the best wings I’ve ever had, they blew the Planet Hollywood wings away.  They have a more interesting sauce with a greater depth of flavor and a pleasantly light smoked flavor to the meat.  More sauce and crispier skin would have made them better, but they were satisfying as is.

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars

Planet Hollywood – Orlando, FL

Planet Hollywood is a weird chain that has struggled through the years and has only a few left in the United States – only five of their 18 restaurants are in North America.  Apparently people elsewhere are more obsessed with Hollywood than we are, which is scary considering how obsessed American are.

Anyway – as one of our appetizers, we got buffalo wings.  Nothing to get excited about here.  They weren’t bad, but they weren’t particularly crispy, unique tasting, or different in any way.  The skin wasn’t very crispy and the sauce was more hot than flavorful.  If I ever went back to Planet Hollywood again (and based on the average meal we had and the sheer chaos of the restaurant, I can’t say I’ll be rushing back), I wouldn’t get them again.

RATING: 2 out of 5 stars