Last Saturday Anthony and I were privileged to be invited, for our third year, to the annual Best Wings in Brooklyn competition hosted at Red Star Bar. This year we took a different approach and got a little clever in our presentation of each wing we critiqued. We wanted to give all contestants an equal chance to shine and to do that we needed to devise a way to put them all on a level playing field. Our skewer idea was a pretty cool way to do this plus, it allowed us to create the awesome “franken-wing” above.
The contestants were back in force this year with a few newcomers in the mix. As usual, the line extended all the way down Greenpoint Ave. curving around the corner to Franklin. That’s a long block and with the addition of some big boy wind gusts the wing loving line stood strong (500 deep at least) to get a FREE taste of Brooklyn’s best.
We thankfully tackled the competition and avoided the wind pre-doors allowing us a less crowded Red Star to chat, taste and shoot these luscious flappers. So without further preamble here are the contenders, our thoughts and, at the end, a video revealing our favorites.
One of the most memorable nights in recent years was the night I met Ron Darling. And I met him at Red Star! The stars are about to align again with Ron & Red Star and this time to benefit The Ron Darling Foundation, an organization dedicated primarily to juvenile diabetes research.
Red Start is hosting The First Annual metroBASEBALL Ambassador Awards whose honorees are Ron Darling and The Ron Darling Foundation; Jack Curran, the revered baseball coach from Archbishop Molloy HS; and husband and wife Phil and Denise Galasso, the the founders of the Greenpoint Little League. Brooklyn’s own Ken Dashow, the much-beloved Q104.3 Classic Rock disc jockey is also emceeing!
This is a fabulous event that’s going to showcase and honor people in our community. For just $150 – which is a contribution to a great cause! – gets you an open bar cocktail hour, a four-course dinner upstairs in Red Star’s private event space, autographs, and a special metroBASEBALL gift bag. Seating is limited to 50 people, so I would buy tickets now if you’re interested. This will have a lot of Greenpoint’s movers and shakers there.
There are also tickets for the cocktail party only. These tickets are $30 and include a 1 hour open bar, a meet and greet with Ron Darling, autographs and photos.
Red Star Bar and Forking Tasty are teaming up this Sunday for a semi-star studded Oscar party. FEBRUARY 27th, beginning at 7:00 pm. It’ll be more fun than watching from your living room plus their will be comics, red carpets and prizes but there are only 50 seats available.
Red carpet arrivals Wine and cheese cocktail hour 3-course dinner Drinks in their upstairs event space Prizes for Best Dressed and Best Ballot Picks Champagne toast to the Best Picture Winner
Award nominated comics Jason Saenz and Nick Turner (aka “Too Cool For School”) will handle the hosting duties, providing comedic commentary throughout the commercial breaks as well as doling out prizes for the evening’s trivia contest winners. We hope to see a bunch of you there.
Tomorrow, February 12, 2011 at Redstar Bar in Greenpoint. Doors open to the public at 2pm! This event is FREE! No cover, No charge for sampling the wings!
I realize last Sunday was a rough day for many of us. You might be saying to yourself, “I can’t gorge again this weekend.” Of course you can but that isn’t much fodder for swaying your decision so I thought it might help for you to read a bit about last years delicious chicken arm madness. Many of the same players are back in the ring to defend or uncrown so research carefully and make sure you hit your prospective favorites first.
Let’s get to a few contestants. It’s a long recap so if you want the full run down from last year pop over here. We’ll start out strong, drop in the middle of the pack and then close with my favorite traditional entry.
I loved this crew. They were chatty, smiley and super happy. Their wings…totally broke the mold. In the restaurant the selection is ridiculous. You can choose from Ginger Buff, Trini Tamarind, Bajan Merry Mango, Island BBQ, Chili Cilantro, Spice Island Rub and Lava. They served Ginger Buff with Lava Sauce. I screamed, cried and then hit seconds. Nothing like a traditional wing BUT they did it right. They started with a meaty wing that was not too big. This was smart because there was so much flavor that too much meat would actually kill the flavor profile. I know, I never use big cooking words like that, but here it was necessary. The lava sauce on top was a nice break from the blue cheese and complimented the Ginger spice wonderfully. So, turns out I was not the only person who though this way. They took first prize. Nice work ladies. I’ll be by the restaurant really soon for more.
Wings from a BBQ joint always peeks my interest. Off the bat they were a talkative team. I love that. Lots to say about the wings, the competition and their restaurant. Their entry was definitely of the BBQ realm. A saucy entry that had a spicy yet sweet BBQ sauce on it. I loved it but yearned for that taste on some pork. A rib, brisket some pulled shoulder, anything, would have held up to that sauce better than a wing. Let me be clear, I loved the taste. It was the wing that fell a little short. I will say, they did something no other team did. They served the whole wing intact. Still connected at the joint I needed to change my eating approach to devour this morsel and I enjoyed the challenge. I am dying to head down to Carroll Garden’s and try some of their pork creations. I am sure they will not disappoint.
I don’t have one note, memory or story to tell about this wing. I guess that says it all. So, let’s move on. Ohh, wait…they were best dressed. Doning Valentine’s Day red chef coats they were the cleanest and most professional looking of all the teams.
They were from Flatbush Ave. and entered with a jerk wing.. No blue cheese dip, just straight up Jerk. This Trini team kept it real West Indian style. A sucker for jerk chicken I reveled in their wings and reminisced about Mr. Biggs roadside jerk spot in Negril. An absolute must every time I am in the birthplace of Bob Nesta. A good non-traditional wing but a little small and dry when I got to the meat. Jerk holds up much better on a leg or thigh so I suspect a trip to Flatbush is in order.
After about 2 hours I had made my way around all the tables, once for pics and a second time for eats. With a belly full of 28 wings and a memory card full of 280 photos, I gulped down the rest of my pint and slipped through the now shoulder to shoulder crowd and out the front door.
As food competitions go, The Best Wings In Brooklyn Competition had a good showing. Two hours in and there was still a line outside Red Star. Considering the G train was broken and the temp was hanging around a windy 25 degrees, I’d say Brooklyn takes their wings pretty seriously.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a tasting at Red Star to try out some possible fresh menu selections from their new Executive Chef, Walter Donadio. First off, I confess, I don’t exactly have the palette of a restaurant critic. And to be honest there were a few things that I had never even tasted in my life on the menu – pork bellies?! The only thing I knew about pork bellies I learned from Trading Places. But I was SERIOUSLY impressed and loved every single item I had. Every. Single. Item.
Red Star is a local Greenpointer owned establishment, so it’s always been near and dear to me since I love when locals do great things in the neighborhood. When Red Start opened it was instantly filled a void. We have lots of bars in the hood that show sports on TV, but none that had so many screens, a great selection of beers, so much room and such delicious food. It was exactly what we needed.
The tasting menu was filled with interesting selections like mac and cheese infused with truffles and the most delicious bibb salad with butter lettuce, bleu cheese, apples and this honey-ginger vinagerette dressing that I want a bottle of for my own constant consumption. The blue crab salad that they’ve made before for special events was really nice to see as an option to be permanently added, too.
Chef Walter was an awesome guy, too. Which only makes sense since the owners, the manager Eric, Nick the events guy, the bartenders and wait staff are ALL really wonderful. Service there is always great. I think it’s really great that they’re upping their game. While they are still going to be the spot to go to watch the games and catch a burger and a beer – now they’re looking to be the spot to go to take your girlfriend for dinner and drinks. Or when your parents visit and don’t want to deal with the pretentious Williamsburg joints.
Go over and friend Red Star on Facebook to find out exactly when the new menu will be available and while you’re there, might be wise to make your reservations for Super Bowl Sunday – they’re filling up fast!
Red Star is hosting the 2nd Annual Best Wings in Brooklyn Competition Saturday February 12th at 2pm. If you went to last years you know it was a packed out success. Plan to show up early this year to get in.
Will Crown Heights’ “SUPER WINGS” be able to defend their title? Maybe Greenpoint’s “RED STAR” gains the upper hand this time around? What about perennial favorites like Park Slope’s “BONNIE’S GRILL,” or Williamsburg’s “BUFFALO CANTINA”? Can they draw the crowds and help sway the vote in their favor? And how about “KETTLE BLACK” and “YELLOW HOOK GRILLE” making the trek all the way north from Bay Ridge to “THROW THEIR WING IN THE RING” with the best of them! They’ll certainly be ready!
Needless to say, make sure you save the date, people, as last year’s event had lines out the door all afternoon, with nearly 700 participants. Not only that, we’ll have a variety of local brews on hand to help you wash down your wings.
Once again, it’s free wings all day, from 2:00 pm onward, and this year’s event will also serve as a fundraiser for the terrific folks at the FOOD BANK FOR NYC.
2nd Annual Best Wings in Brooklyn Competition RED STAR 37 Greenpoint Avenue
I am going away for a week and won’t be blogging cause, well, I’m going on vacation why would I want to blog?! But feel free to still email me and keep me in the loop with anything interesting going on in the hood.
I am leaving you with some good stuff that I would be checking out if I was here.
The Brooklyn Flea is starting this Sunday! Yay! I have been waiting patiently for this and though I’m bummed I’ll be missing out on the inaugural week, I am comforted that there will be many more.
Brooklyn Based did a nice write-up on some of the participants and what to expect. This is going to be fun and I will be there the next Sunday with bells on!
Closer to home, Jan & Aya opened last weekend and Elaine Perlov mentions that there are treats to be scored on weekends. Golden Twinkees and tea towels – yum!
Speaking of openings Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is open again after a shaky Summer last year. Thursday through Sunday 3-9pm. I never got a chance to check them out last year but I’ll be regular this Spring and Summer.
This Saturday there’s a Sam Adams promo at Red Star – $3 pints and giveaways. And you can catch the Met game in hi-def. Score!
Brooklyn Brewery tours is something I’ve always wanted to do but never get around to it. Every Saturday with one every hour at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Jeez, and I still have not found the time to go? I’m a loser.
Well, that’s all I got. Try not to miss me too much. See ya in a week!
This weekend was such insane debauchery that most of it can’t even printed. Too personal, too illegal and probably too boring not knowing any of the people. Or even worse reading it and knowing the people involved… Eeek.
So, Sunday night watching the game at Red Star, and what a game it was! Giants in the Super Bowl baby! Anyway, as always it’s a good night at Red Star. Saw more friends I haven’t seen in fifteen years or longer. But the cherry on top was Ron Darling chilling watching the game right at the bar!
Towards the end of the night I am outside smoking a cig when Ron Darling and his friend were coming out to leave. I said hello, introduced myself and Ron Darling tells me to give him a hug! It was freaking awesome. My sister came out and we four chatted for about a minute and Ron Darling even asked me for a cigarette. Swoon.
About a minute after that a silver Nissan Z came whipping around the corner of West onto Greenpoint Ave. It was one of those peel-out sounding screeches, only this guy couldn’t maintain control of the car and he crashed head-on into three cars right in front of CoCo’s.
Me, my sister, Ron Darling and his friend went running over to help get this guy and his girlfriend out of the car. Both airbags deployed and thankfully they were both alright. Ambulances, cops and fire engines were there in two minutes. Which for the record, the paramedic was freaking HOT – if he or anyone he knows happens upon this, he should know how sexy he is.
Anyway, the driver wound up getting arrested and there were a ton of people outside of CoCo’s taking pictures so if anyone’s got one let me know and I’ll post it here. It was the most insane thing I’d ever seen.