Restaurants & Bars

California Wings Bakersfield

"Buffalo" Wings in Bakersfield, preliminary review of new place: Wingspot


Restaurants & Bars California Wings Bakersfield

"Buffalo" Wings in Bakersfield, preliminary review of new place: Wingspot

bakersjoe | | Sep 2, 2006 05:00 PM

Located on Gosford, just north of White Lane in a strip mall of course. (For those unfamiliar with Bakersfield, all we have is strip malls.)

FIrst of all, I want to clarify that I have never set foot in this place. We ordered from them for lunch where I work. We are a group of close co-workers who order lunch together several times a month. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on the wings, and it is telling to note the backgrounds of the various commentators:
black guy from Montana
white guy from San Francisco
Chinese guy from Tennessee/Atlanta/LA (me)
Egyptian guy from LA
white girl from Napa

Second, let's put this in context. Bakersfield, while a great place to live, work, and raise a family, is chowhound purgatory. Other than Basque food, don't expect world class standards for food experiences. The attitude around town, is "we're lucky to have decent (fill in the blank) food here."

This is part of my ongoing California Buffalo Wings Quest:

Let's go...

Hint: don't try to ask for delivery. The first time we tried to order, they were so rude on the phone, the black guy wondered out loud whether they were racist. Unfortunately (fortunately?), the white guy had the same experience on a different day.

So somebody had to go pick them up. We were told the wing options by cellphone. I cannot remember them accurately, because I dismiss anything that sounds like Hawaiian barbeque wings or whatever. When I heard "atomic" I said yes 50 of those will do.

(1) WING SIZE: slightly on the small side, but consistent. White guy thought they were too small. Black guy thought they were good.
(2) DRUM/WING RATIO: perfect 50/50.
(3) COOKING/TEXTURE: All the men agreed that the skin was under-fried and soggy. The meat texture was good, no overcooking. Of course when you under-fry, you are less likely to overcook.
(4) FLAVOR/SAUCE: Excellent. Somehow we didn't get atomic, we got mild (service error), so they were not nearly hot enough (Egyptian guy complained vociferously). Even though they weren't that hot, they had the strong sinus-filling aroma, yet without relying too heavily on garlic. It's hard to balance good taste and minimal aftertaste, but they executed superbly in this regard.
(5) DRESSING: The bleu cheese sauce was outstanding! Good texture, with a few chunks. Flavor was perfectly in balance with the mild wings. I consider ranch sauce inappropriate foil for authentic Buffalo wings, which are already sour, but it was offered. I was the only one who wanted bleu cheese.
(6) SIDES: No celery was received. Was this another service error or a flaw in the menu?

I will have to return for the confirmatory experience. Questions to clarify:
(1) Can you get extra-fried wings? (And get them without overcooked meat?
)(2) Will "atomic" wings be hot enough without aftertaste overkill?
(3) Will the bleu cheese balance properly with the "atomic" taste?
(3) Is celery available?

In summary, they were enjoyable "Buffalo" wings flavored with some finesse. Overall, the minor elements were above average, especially the bleu cheese dressing. But the fatal flaw was the under-frying. Eating a well-flavored Buffalo wing with mushy skin is like sitting in a Ferrari with no engine. A good experience but kind of hollow.

Napa girl liked her wings that way though - mushy and mild, with ranch dressing. (Exactly my complaint about the typical California wing. Evidently you native Californians prefer your "Buffalo" wings this way. I'd call them Cal-Buffalo wings.) If she could only hear the Ferrari engine growl...

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