Saturday, August 1, 2009

178 Different Chicken Wing Flavors At The Butcher Block Restaurant, Bar...

Photos By Jeff Skrenes

Here's a great scam: go into a restaurant and order a meal. At the end of the meal, casually mention you are a blogger and ask for a copy of the menu to take with you. For the blog, you know.

Out of nowhere, more entrees will appear, and creme brule for dessert! The owner will come to your table to tell you about his hopes, dreams, and special items not on the menu...the ones you are eating, right now, like Almond Joy Chicken wings (top photo) and Incredible Hulk wings, (bottom photo) which are get their color from green curry and the spice...well, it sort of smashes its way out of nowhere, on the second bite. My favorite was, however, the "white trash" wings which were dipped in mashed potatoes.
Oh, wait. What's that you say?

Um, yeah, I guess that's right. I actually AM a blogger.

OK, so I guess it's not REALLY a scam to accept all this free food. Never mind.

The Butcher Block Restaurant is in "Nordeast," which I consider part of the Johnny Northside beat, click here for their website. 

The "Butcher Block" name might make you think the establishment is very meat-oriented, and certainly it does feature stuff like "carpaccio," which is "raw beef with arugula, permesan, lemon and olive oil." Also, one of the four co-owners is described as the "master butcher."

However, the menu also features vegetarian items like chickpea eggplant falafel. Some other menu items include...

...the homemade lamb burger, grilled octopus, homemade potato gnocchi, and Tuscan chicken liver crostinis. However, the most amazing aspect of the menu is "Ali di Pollo," a collection of 29 different chicken wing flavors. According to co-owner Darin Koch, who is also the chef, there are actually 178 different chicken wing flavors, but not all of them are on the menu. I'm not sure what is required to access the other flavors...apparently, it is enough to know the other flavors exist and to ask the server what "off menu" items are available.

I had the mango curry yogurt wings, as well as something called the "kitchen sink," which I was told required some degree of courage from the diner and may vary from night to night. So of course I had to order THAT, because I have a reputation to uphold. The "kitchen sink" came randomly garnished with fries, vegetables, a stray noodle or looked like a delicious automobile accident. As for the mango curry yogurt, it was mellow and flavorful.

However, it was the secret menu items--Almond Joy and Incredible Hulk chicken wings--that were the real show stealers. Plus such an extensive, secret list of wings makes me want to start at A and work my way to Z, just to say I ate the encyclopedia of chicken wings and lived to tell the tale.

Regular readers know I can get a bit obsessed with lists...especially lists of properties known to be involved with mortgage fraud rings. Well, I can grow obsessed with other lists, as well. Here are the 31 known chicken wing flavors at Butcher Block, which consists of 29 "listed" flavors, as well as the two "off menu" items we were offered. (Almond Joy and Incredible Hulk)

If anybody learns of other flavors...please use the comment threads to post that info.

Thanks, and now here is the list.

Sweet or Spicy BBQ
Franks Red Hot Buffalo
Honey Mustard
Spicy Mustard
Maple Brown Sugar
Lemon Herb
Country Fried
Szechuan Hoisin/Plum
Hoisin BBQ
Thai Peanut
Sambal Chili
Strawberry Balsamic
Carmelized Onion Balsamic
Salsa Verde
Blackberry Red Wine
Green Coconut Curry
Mango Curry Yogurt
Coriander Cumin Lime
Harissa Hungarian Paprika
Cranberry Chili
Kitchen Sink

Off-Menu Items

Almond Joy
Incredible Hulk
White Trash


Johnny Northside said...

Two comments refused which compared the food to unappetizing things.

Johnny Northside said...

One comment refused with racist content.

Anonymous said...

But you already published the one unappetizing comment, about medical research or whatever????

Anonymous said...

Wow! It's getting awfully censored up in here! 3 comments refused in one thread!

JNS, why don't you just tell us what you'd like us to say/think??

Anonymous said...

Johnny, as a "refused" comment (not the racist one), I hold fast to what I perceived as a horrible example of bar food and/or abdominal distress

Anonymous said...

But you will greenlight this comment:

That's two guy's and a lady you dumb ass jerk! Who da fuck do you get off on by calling people Hookers.

If anybody is a pimp, your broke ass is a Pimp!

You need to go find you a fucking Job!

I can't wait to get a hold of your public records, you fucking coward!

July 31, 2009 10:49 PM

All I said was the food looks like something in a medical text....

Jeff Skrenes said...

I've only had the falafel, the lamb burger, and these wings. Although I was there the night before and the chef came out with some other non-menu items (deep-fried turkey gizzards, which were good but the calamari at Victory 44 WAS better in terms of deep-fried deliciousness, and a quail burger which made me weak in the knees).

I can see how one would make derogatory comments based on the appearance of these photos, I guess. But trust me: this food is AMAZING. And it's priced reasonably (lamb burger is $10, and most entrees are in this range), plus the kitchen is open until 2 a.m.! So you can go out dancing somewhere, slip out at 1, and still get a gourmet meal at excellent prices.

Places this great deserve our business, I think.

Johnny Northside said...

In regard to approving comments...

I approve the vast majority of comments. But when I put up a picture of some very delicious food and somebody just has something nasty and gross to say...I don't find that a substantive remark. Just like I didn't find the nasty and gross remark about my very lovely friend to be substantive or worth publishing. So many rejected remarks are, indeed, an anomaly. I'm surprised there are so many nasty people talking about a nice restaurant. WTF?

In regard to the "hookers" comment...

That other comment you hold up as an example was nasty, but it was substantive. Somebody is arguing whether the hookers were really hookers and, in effect, saying I am not so perfect myself. I may not like the remark, but it was substantive so I approved it.

In fact, my policy of getting on the blog and SAYING when a comment was rejected and why is rather unique in the blogosphere, I think, and I only do it very rarely. Lately, though, it appears certain individuals are determined to figure out what the boundaries are and force some kind of statement.

You should speak to me through your attorney and not anonymously on my blog. You know who you are.

You know who you are.

Search Engineer said...

Wow great trick.
The dish looks good
Thanks for the writeup Johnny

Anonymous said...

Darin Koch got fired for stealing chicken wings good luck elsewhere pile

Linda50 said...

I never would have thought that someone would come up with 178 different chicken wing flavors. It looks like they utilize almost every cusine known.

Anonymous said...

Where is the list of 178 flavors?

Johnny Northside! said...

I wish I had all the rest of the flavors to list. I would suggest contacting the Butcher Block restaurant directly.

If you get the list, please come back and post it!

Jeff Skrenes said...


I went to the Butcher Block last night with former fellow NoMi resident Bryan Thao Worra, who used to "hold court" at the place. They no longer serve the lamb burger or my favorite beer pairing, Widmer pale ale. And now instead of 178 chicken wing flavors they have three.

They said the change was due to the fact that when they stopped being open up to or past bar close, no one was ordering the items. I think the reason is they lost the chef who made them, because when BTW and I would go there before, the chef would always come out and talk with us about what we liked or didn't like in the meal.

So we had our last supper there - delicious but overpriced pasta - and ate a dessert platter with sad resignation. It will be the last time either of us go to that establishment.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to comment that the chocolate chicken looks good after some serious smokin'..all that shit looks good...

Anonymous said...

Its sad. You actually encourage people to scam resaurants. And what happens when you dont get free food? Bad review? You are exactly what is wrong, and why all chefs despise you. Go be a chef for a week. Understand why you and your fellow yelpers do more harm than good