Downtown Opening Round: Game 1
(1) Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's "Wango Tango" wings: 4
(4) J Ryan's "Hot" wings: 0
As a 4 seed facing a 1 seed, J Ryan's wings (pictures on the right) put up a good fight against Dino's heavily favored Wango Tango variety (pictured left). A zero in the score shouldn't imply that J Ryan's were bad by any means. They were delicious and fared surprisingly well. They were just no match for Dino's smokey, spicy, and sauce slathered chicken wings. J Ryan's were above average in most aspects despite the sauce having had no indication of Frank Red Hot (which may have been blanketed a bottled brand). Regardless, they still had that great Buffalo-style flavor. If you love crispy wings, look no where other than J Ryan's as these were the crispiest I've ever had. But Dino pulled out the stops with an amazing skin that was slightly charred and had enough crispness to balance the chewiness, a lingering heat that makes you want to eat more, and some of the most tender chicken wing meat ever.
Untraditional, yes. But for perfectly crispy and smokey wings, Dino doesn't mess around.
Downtown Opening Round: Game 2
(3) Syracuse Suds Factory's "Fiery" wings: 5
(2) Bull & Bear Pub's "Hot" wings: 2
Somewhat of an under-matched 2 and 3 seed match-up pitted Bull & Bear's hot wings (pictured left) against Suds' Fiery ones (pictured right). For what it's worth, J Ryan's probably could've beat either contestant, but alas, this is what happens in a single-elimination tournament. Since Bull & Bear's wings were advertised as "Award Winning!", some serious competition was expected, but they were certainly the weakest among the Downtown seeds as there was almost little to no Buffalo flavor, or any flavor, going on. Its generally small wings were topped with sliced pickled jalapenos, which were a nice touch and added some much needed heat that was nonexistent otherwise. I'd consider Bull & Bear's wings slightly below average bar wings in most aspects as they picked up a few points where Suds could not. Despite being served on the cold side and a sauce that could've been a notch hotter, Suds Factory's Fiery wings did well. It's jumbo-style sized wings had an excellent skin that was not overly crispy and was perfect on my account. There was a slightly odd flavor to the sauce that was lingering, leading me to believe that it may have been a less than higher-end bottled brand. Suds' main downfall however, was that the meat was incredibly dry; which had it not, and had the sauce had a little more kick, they certainly could've been considered excellent wings.
Overall, Suds' fared better and could probably even do really well in other cities that aren't in Upstate NY.
Downtown Second Round: Championship Game
(1) Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's "Wango Tango" wings: 6
(3) Syracuse Suds Factory's "Fiery" wings: 1
Despite the lopsided score, Suds' are decent wings. But with dry meat, a slightly odd flavor, and blue cheese that was tangy but a bit watery, it never really stood a chance against any 1 seed and its great skin just wasn't enough to overcome Dino's perfectly balanced wings. Dinosaur indeed brought its "A" game: covered in a spicy and smokey barbecue sauce, with a lingering heat that makes you want to eat more in each bite, and a good blue cheese that doesn't cloud its wings.
If my entirely cleaned plate of with Wango Tango wing bones soon thereafter wasn't any indication, these are delicious.
Stay tuned for the remaining 3 brackets, the Final Four, and Pulled Into Syracuse's 2011 Wing Tournament Champion which will be crowned later this month. Also, I'll add an actual bracket sheet at some point before the Final Four.