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DINING: Buffalo Wild Wings offers lots of flavorful sauces

February 16, 2009

Buffalo Wild Wings made a fresh foray into downtown late last year, moving into long-vacant at 7 E. Washington St.—just a block north of the Maryland Street location another franchisee gave up on in 2007.

What a difference a block makes.

The new B-Dubs (951-9464) is much more welcoming than its predecessor, in large part because of the seater/ greeter stationed near the door. And it's a big space, so there's rarely a wait even on 50-cent wing day.

Inside, the décor runs to the traditional wing joint: no-frills seating and enough flat-screen TVs to make concentration difficult. Most feature some sort of sport, but a few are dedicated to diner-participation activities like trivia and Texas Hold-Em.

The menu is standard fare. Wings dominate, naturally, although other forms of chicken and a few other meats also offer a bit of variety. We tried a little of this and a little of that, starting with the obvious.

Our visit just happened to be on a Tuesday, when wings are 50 cents each. We ordered a dozen ($6 instead of the usual $8.99) in two flavors: Spicy Garlic and Asian Zing. Aside from a service glitch or two (our wings were delivered without napkins, utensils or anywhere to dispose of the bones), it was an expectedly solid choice. The wings were crisp without being crunchy and covered in sauce but not drenched. Our requested napkins came in particularly handy with the sticky Asian wings, but the mess was well worth the pleasant sweet and hot flavor combo.

Next up were the Grilled Chicken Buffalitos ($7.99), a somewhat healthier just-as-tasty choice: Two flour tortillas were filled with grilled chicken strips, lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream and wing sauce (I picked hot); tortilla chips and a shot of salsa came on the side.

Our final item was neither fried nor chicken—risky for a wing joint, I know. Nevertheless, the Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8.99) was a success, with mounds of hickory-smoked meat drenched in any B-Dub's sauce (we followed the server's advice and got honey barbecue). Yum. Less successful were the French fry-like Buffalo Chips served with the sandwich. The potato coins were soggy and bland—not a good combo.

There were few surprises on our trip to this old standby, but we did learn something: When trying several items that each come with a flavorful sauce, less is more. By the end of our experiment, our taste buds were begging for a break.

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