Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Red Buffalo Wings & Pizza

Let me begin with the bottomline: Red Buffalo Wings & Pizza is one of our go-to places for weekend lunch-- child-friendly, relaxed, consistent food, and my son seems to like their stuff (i.e., the fries and spaghetti). I was initially sceptical about the place. I have often been disappointed by American food in this city. But this place didn't disappoint us. After trying the place for the first time we went there for about four straight weekends. We liked it that much.

The restaurant has a New York casual theme-- think Yellow Cab but with a red rather than yellow motif. There's a TV hung up there with its volume thankfully turned down, although I guess it would be turned up if there's a sports event. It is clean and fairly spacious, making it one of the more toddler-friendly places out there. The atmosphere is relaxed and service is impeccable-- very friendly and efficient. Food are served on disposable containers and utensils are of the plastic kind There's also free wifi (password is printed on your receipt), if you need to take food pictures with instagram and post them in real time because the world needs to see what you're eating right now but don't want to pay data charges.

As for the food, it's one of our favourties for two reasons: good quality/serving size and good price. Their iced tea (P55) is made from actual brewed tea rather than that despicable powder, and comes in a big tumbler. The fries (P85) are kinda like those you get at NY Fries and Dip with nice texture and with some skin on, but much more generous. The spaghetti with meatballs is pretty generous-- a good deal at P215-- with a pretty good Italian-style sauce (i.e., on the sour side); better than marinaras in some Italian restaurants, I should say. The mac-and-cheese side (P65) is not so bad too, although I think I can make it at home if I tried.There's a mandatory garden salad (P135) which is similar to those supermarket salads; ok, the vegetables are crisper. They also sell dips that supposedly go with the chicken but they're pretty expensive even at P25 because serving sizes are infinitesimal and they are nothing special, so I say skip them-- there are free Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, and Tabasco hot sauce anyway. And you really don't need dips for the chicken.

Ah the chicken, the glorious chicken. I'm not much of a chicken wings guy, but this managed to convert me. Five pieces of wings-- a piece is defined as either the "drumstick" part with the humerus or the "wing" part with the radius/ulna up to the phalanges-- costs P165; 10 pieces is P320; 20 pieces is 620. Flavours include the original buffalo wings (hot, x-hot, and suicidal), teriyaki, sweet heat BBQ, honey bourbon, and garlic parmesan. The American-style buffalo wings are pretty good and remind me of typical buffalo wings in the US with the spicy and tangy flavour profile. Quite similar to the Hooter's wings, actually (the chicken wings at Hooter's are actually pretty good, and not just because of the, um, ambience). But what we really like are the garlic parmesan wings-- the flavourings don't overpower the chicken, but you still get that good dose of garlic and parmesan cheese, which is partially melted on the chicken because it was sprinkled (tossed?) on just as the chicken left the fryer.

But beyond the flavourings what really sets Red Buffalo apart from other chicken places I've tried is the consistency of their frying. The wings are always juicy and flavourful and almost perfectly fried. Wings are pretty difficult to fry well because the drumstick part can dry out while the wing part can become rubber. But so far the wings here are always done well on each of our many visits.

[I'm dispensing with the scores since they need to be adjusted for inflation and my changing marginal propensity to eat at restaurants. And I'm too lazy to do it now.]

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