THE BITE: We’ve covered Buffalo wings previously on The Bite, but we’ve never taken on “Famous Buffalo Wings” before. So today, we head to the outer reaches of Sheepshead Bay for the “best Buffalo wings on Staten Island. ” No, we didn’t actually go to Staten Island, we drove over to Marine Park. Confused yet? Hold on. It gets worse. I’ll try to explain it as clearly as I can.
So here’s the scenario: I’ve been craving Mexican food, and except for our gregarious publisher Ned’s super secret Mexican take out counter, I didn’t know where I could find decent Mexican food in the area. I asked a few readers for recommendations and, much to my surprise, Didi’s was the response.
Didi Fresco Tortilla, 2972 Avenue U, is housed in Didi Chinese restaurant. We have a few “Chinese/Mexican” take out places in the ‘hood, and frankly, I haven’t been impressed by the food at any of the joints I’ve tried previously. But, if a couple of Sheepshead Bites readers were recommending Didi’s, how bad could it be? You guys haven’t steered me wrong yet.
I was here for Mexican food, but as soon as I saw that Buffalo wings were on the menu, I knew I had to try them. Buffalo wings, along with real barbecue and soup, are one of my favorite foods. So, even before reading the rest of the menu, I ordered a small order of wings ($4.95 – eight pieces served with celery sticks and blue cheese).
I’ve worked some commercial kitchens in my day and I’ve learned some of the tricks of the trade, but at Didi’s I learned a new one; their wings are pre-cooked. The counter girl removed a take out soup quart-sized container of wings from the refrigerator, picked out eight wings bare-handed and dropped them into the fryer. Okay, I would have expected a glove, but I hoped the heat of the oil would wipe out any bacteria or fecal matter placed inadvertently on the wings by my lovely counter lady. I said a quick prayer to Saint Macarius, the patron saint of cooks, for protection.
Didi’s serves their wings sans breading, which, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, is the only way to serve true Buffalo wings. The pieces of wing were pretty average in terms of size. The sauce was an interesting take on traditional Buffalo seasonings, but with a definite Chinese take-out touch. I couldn’t quite place it, but if I had to guess, there was a trace of five-spice powder in the mix, giving the wings a slight licorice aftertaste. There was some heat to the wings, but not really enough to break a sweat. Which is a real shame; sweating is part of the true Buffalo wing experience.
Sadly, here in the Bay, I haven’t found the quintessential Buffalo wing. We do have some decent wings, and I’d put these wings in the “decent” category, but they are a far cry from Brooklyn’s best. And if they are truly “Staten Island’s Best,” as they claim, well then, Staten Island must be a terribly sad place.
And “What about the Mexican food,” you ask? Well, let’s just say that my quest for decent Mexican food in The Bay remains unfulfilled. Maybe I should just seek the grail.
Didi Fresco Tortilla, 2972 Avenue U, (718) 368-0180.
The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.