Southside / SU Hill Opening Round: Game 1
(1) Swallow's "Hot" wings: 5
(4) Dorian's Gourmet Pizza & Deli's "Hot" wings: 1
This match-up featured two much anticipated wings joints going head-to-head. Swallow's (pictured left), which is a small tavern on South Ave that many people including myself may have heard of but have never ventured to before, brought some serious competition to the tournament with their hot wings. The standout, without a doubt, is their signature hot sauce which blends a bit of peppery spice, garlic, classic Buffalo sauce, and even a hint of an Asian chili sauce mixed in. Not only were they substantially hot, but it's a sauce I had never tasted before and was certainly a welcomed surprise. Dorian's, on the other hand (pictured right), were a slight let-down. Although the meaty wings were a good size and packed a punch in the heat department, its classic hot sauce flavor lacked depth, and more critically, their extremely soggy skins made them unappetizing after about half a dozen. While their tangy and chunky blue cheese and crispy celery was some of the best in the tournament, the wings themselves were no match for Swallow's. My mouth may have remained on fire and the sauce may not be classified as Buffalo despite looking like it was, but Swallow's easily took the match-up with tender wings, perfectly crispy skins, and a surprisingly bold and original flavor.
Southside / SU Hill Opening Round: Game 2
(2) Varsity Pizza's "Hot" wings: 4
(3) Chuck's Cafe's "Hot" wings: 3
Next up is Varsity Pizza (pictured left) taking on Chuck's Cafe (pictured right) in what would turn out to be a less than exhilarating match-up. Chuck's hot wings didn't have much going for them: a thin skin with no crunch, no heat (some of the mildest in the tournament), and a flavor that seemed nonexistent. While its one redeeming quality was its jumbo-style wings, Varsity's wings were able to pick up points where Chuck's could not with good chicken meat and a medium heat. Despite Varsity winning 4-3, I wasn't too keen on the flavor of the sauce, which was a bit thicker than usual Buffalo sauce, and they also suffered the same fate as Dorian's with a slight sponginess to them. While both Varsity and Chuck's may have been underwhelming, Varsity was able to move forward and take on Swallow's in the Southside / SU Hill Championship Game.
Southside / SU Hill Championship Game
(1) Swallow's "Hot" wings: 5
(2) Varsity Pizza's "Hot" wings: 0
Even though Swallow's wings were under-matched, it wouldn't take much for them to pull out a win in this match-up. Varsity's meat and wing size were above average and on par with Swallow's, but suffered a shutout in every other category. It's hard to fault Swallow's in any aspect with a great amount of uniquely flavorful sauce, peppery garlic wings that were some of the hottest in the tournament, excellent crispness, and an separate bin filled with chunky blue cheese and big pieces of fresh celery. No battle in this one. Swallow's wins hands down with completely original, spicy, and superior all-around wings and easily deserve the title of best wings in this bracket.
That leaves four places remaining: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que taking on Change of Pace and Nibsy's Pub taking on Swallow's with the winners advancing to the championship game. It should be a tight race. I'll put an actual bracket up this week on the blog with updated brackets and results. Make sure to check for the Final Four results and Pulled Into Syracuse's 2011 City Wing Tournament Champion which will be crowned this Friday.