Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There Will Be Leftovers 2: All You Can Eat Wings and Beer at Mudville 9 (food)

While most of my posts tend to be on fine dining, sometimes you just have to indulge your inner glutton. Because I can eat a lot of food in one sitting, I'm often on the lookout for AYCE places that offer good food as well as good value. In addition to having an AYCE special, Mudville 9 had already been featured in Serious Eats as their wing reviewer's favorite wings in NYC.

The deal is simple. You need a minimum of 6 people. 2 hours of all you can eat wings (any of their 11 flavors), fries, and all you can drink Bud Light for $28+t/t per person. You can also upgrade to their premium beer selection for $34+t/t. The premium beer selection includes Guiness, Stella, Brooklyn Lager, Hoegarden, Yuengling, Magic Hat, and maybe a couple others that I've forgotten.

The beer is served in growlers that hit the table two at a time. The timer for the whole thing doesn't start till the beer hits the table.

There are also celery sticks with real blue cheese dressing, and the seasoned fries were hot and crispy. They were excellent when brought out fresh, although it's unclear whether you'd want to load up on fries with wings and more beer coming.

The wings were excellent. Meaty and well fried just like the fries. The buffalo sauce was well balanced and not overpowering. However, my guess is that many would consider even the superwow not spicy enough for their tastes. The waitress originally got the plates mixed up, but it wasn't hard to tell the spiciness based on the color (redder was hotter).

Some of the sauces were a little generic in flavor and a little syrupy in texture, but we enjoyed them nonetheless. The sweet BBQ tasted to me exactly like McRib sauce, and I thought even the texture was similar. The Jamaican jerk had an interesting flavor, but none of the heat one would assume given the name. I actually liked the teriyaki, which had an almost tropical fruity soy finish.

The Thai flavor was interesting, with some of the sesame flavor coming through. The honey mustard was not as sharp as I would have liked. We went down the menu list in order, and these last three definitely felt like they were the heaviest of the bunch. We ended up circling back to the Buffalo wings, which were the consensus favorite of the group.

Final damage: A rather disappointing 33 wings and 5 pints.

Being in Tribeca, the bar was pretty empty by the time we were finished at around 9pm. Overall it was very civil, not particularly rowdy, and a very comfortable vibe. The crowd was not particularly old or young age-wise.

Service was excellent and friendly. They were excited to have us eat and drink as much as we could. Beer was refilled quickly and wing orders were taken whenever we felt we needed more.

These were some of the better wings I've had in NYC. The wings were meaty, and I'd definitely be back for the Buffalo, teriyaki, sweet BBQ (hey, I like McRibs), thai, and jamaican jerk sauces. Both the wings and the fries were fried really well.

They were nice and not stingy at all. The clock didn't start till the beer hit the table. They let us know when to put in one last order before time was up, and we were not rushed as we stayed for quite a while longer to finish our food and drink. We were also able to take whatever we couldn't finish to go, which is not something many AYCE places allow.

Let's take my 33 wings and 5 pints for example and compare it to other deals around the city. If you go to a place with a happy hour of $3 pints and wings that average out to 75 cents per, that would total out to about $40 before tax and tip. If you went to a place with 25 cent wings and $5 pints, it would be about the same $33. So compared to other bar specials around NYC, you save a bit, but it's not like humongous savings. However, the quality of food and drink here was far and away better than any other bar specials I've had in NYC.

How much you drink is really the key part of the equation. Some of the other guys in the group only had 20 or so wings, but drank 8-9 pints. For those guys, it's great value no matter where you compare it to.

Overall, it was a great time and I would highly recommend it with the right group of people.

Mudville 9
126 Chambers St
(between Hudson St & Broadway)
Manhattan, NY 10007

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