Cider House Barbecue & Pub – Waterbury, VT

I have reviewed the Cider House twice on Yelp now, and it has been one of my favorite places to dine since moving to Vermont.   However, for a long time, I found myself wishing that they offered some sort of chicken wings.  Much to my pleasure, they have added it to their menu, and I hope they stay on there for a long time!

These are very simply some of the best wings I have had in a very very long time.  They are slightly smoked, and then fried, so you get a great combination of smokey barbecue-ness and crispy fry-ness.   The wings are meaty and juicy.  In addition, they get extra points for the hot sauce being on the side, allowing you to dip – not only does that allow you to control the heat level, but it keeps the wings crispy.

The chipotle buffalo sauce is bold, offering a spicy kick mixed with fresh and slightly smoky pepper flavor.  It is one of the more complex and interesting buffalo sauces I’ve had.

The wings come with the usual blue cheese dressing, which is good if not exceptional, and some celery and carrot sticks.  However, none of that matters, since the wings are so damn good!   The Cider House has now become a go-to place for BBQ, southern food AND wings in my book, and is well worth a special trip for any of those.

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars!!!

Barley’s Smokehouse – Columbus, OH

Needing a welcome respite on a three-day marathon business trip, I chose Barley's for some good beer and food.  The beer was indeed good, and the food was good overall, though the ribs were a bit dissapointing (see full review here on  The highlight of the visit, however, were actually the wings. 

Billed as their "famous grilled wings" I simply had to get them and chose to go with their buffalo sauce.  The wings were delicious – lightly seasoned and then grilled enough to get some flavorfull char, with all of them being juicy, tender and surprisingly crispy.

But a well-cooked wing is only half the battle, right?  The sauce is the other half, and it is here where these wings really stand out.  At first taste, I was worried that it was going to be another round of sweet BBQ sauce being passed off as wing sauce.  Then I tasted the garlic… then the heat hit me.  It is a late heat that allows the other flavors to come through and when the heat does come, it is just the right amount.  The heavy hand with the garlic in the sauce (visible pieces int he sauce I believe), was a nice touch.  It was an intersting and flavorful sauce and would love to get my hands on the recipe!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!

Kowloons – Saugus, MA

I am a sucker for sticky sweet, salty and spicy teriyaki wings (or ribs, or chicken, or even a burger), and on my first trip to Kowloon’s mega restaurant, I enjoyed some of the better versions of this style of wings that I’ve tried.  Called “Saugus Wings” named after the location of the restaurant just north of Boston, they are similar to a number of other wing sauces I’ve enjoyed, but this was heavier on ginger than the garlic.  Chan’s in Woonsocket does a very similar sauce, but much garlicy, and I make my own that are loaded with garlic and Chinese five spice, which adds a nice sweet and savory taste to them.

The wings were perfectly cooked and dripping with a sweet, gingery, soy-based sauce that coated the wings (and your fingers, and your napkin, and anything else it came into contact with) heavily.  They were excellent, but I felt like there was another layer of flavor that could have enriched them some.  As I said before, often these sauces tend towards the garlic side of things, and this sauce leaned more towards ginger.  Replacing the ginger with the garlic wouldn’t have been right, but a bit more garlic or five-spice would have made them perfect.


RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars