The French Creek Tavern

   April 20, 2010 4:57 pm    3

 

1614 French Creek Mina Rd in Clymer, NY can easily be missed with one wrong turn, but The French Creek Tavern is a gem.

After calling to make sure the kitchen was open before we made the half hour drive from Erie, we set off around 8 PM.  As a side note, driving through Findley Lake at night is almost as beautiful as going during the day.  After passing the French Creek General Store, we got to the tavern.  Because it was a Monday night in the middle of April, it wasn’t too busy.  The Tavern is a decent size with a bar in the front of the dining room and a game room in the back.  With the walls covered with posters, signs, and children’s art, it really has a local, welcoming feel.  We were greeted by the Pam, a 16 year veteran of the Tavern, who told to sit wherever we wanted.  Our server Liz, a 10 year employee, followed with menus and we looked through the wings as she got us our drinks.

Every location that I have eaten at previously had some extra flavors on their menu.  Flavors such as Herbie XX Cajun, Ugly Cousin, and Love Gurus need a little explanation when it comes to what their sauces are.  The French Creek Tavern sticks to tradition.  With nine flavors on their menu, their wings needed no deciphering.  Keeping with our four flavor pattern, we went with BBQ, Honey Mustard, Cajun, and their best seller, the Medium.  The other five flavors are Mild, Hot, Super Hot, Ranch, and Butter & Garlic.

The wings were all brought out in baskets with veggies and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese.  Even if you aren’t a bleu cheese eater, I highly recommend it.  Using a secret blend of spices, their homemade bleu cheese looks like ranch with large chunks of dry bleu throughout.  It was by far the most flavorful dressing I have used when eating wings.

Right off the bat, we could tell they don’t cut corners with their wings.  They all were large, crispy, and hot.  The BBQ and Honey Mustard wings are both smothered in Cattlemen’s.  Cattlemen’s Gold BBQ sauce, like I have said a few times previously, is my favorite Honey Mustard.  The tanginess of the sauce gives the wings just enough of a bite to mix with the sweetness of the honey.  Even dipping them in bleu cheese was delicious.  The traditional Cattlemen’s BBQ sauce was just as fantastic.  With the look of molasses, the thick and rich sauce went perfect on their wings.  The sauce is so thick, not only does it stick to the wings, it likes to stick all over your hands and face.  If the wings were tossed in the sauce so they received an even coating, they might not be as messy as just pouring the sauce over the wings, but that just comes down to personal preference.

I think it is fair to say that the Cajun wings were not only amazing, they were the best I have ever had.  I don’t know if they use home made Cajun seasoning or one from a store, but it was great.  You could taste everything in every bite; the onion, the garlic, the basil, the pepper, the cayenne.  Mixed with a little butter, the dry wings were not dry at all.  The spiciness of the Cajun made for an all around awesome wing.

Our server told us that the Hots were hot so that is why we went with the Medium.  She informed us that they were their best seller and were very flavorful.  A lot of restaurants use a typical hot sauce such as Frank’s RedHot and mix it with butter to make their “buffalo” sauce.  The Medium here was definitely packed with taste, much more than any store bought bottle.  Typically, I enjoy really hot wings as long as the heat doesn’t destroy the flavor and these got it right.  The wings absorbed this sauce almost to the bones and every bite was delicious.

As we started to finish all of the wings we ordered, I thought that we really should have tried the Hots.  I walked to the bar and had our server put down an order of them just so we could see how hot they were.  When they arrived at our table, they were covered in a thick, dark red, pepper sauce and were steaming hot.  They smelled and looked as menacing as wings can.  The first few bites were not too bad.  The heat was there, however  it wasn’t so intense that I wanted to stop.  After a few more bites, it started to set in.  It was a lasting heat, one that crept into your sinuses.  After a few more glasses of water, we polished off the final wings and cleaned ourselves up.

Liz and Pam were both fantastic and we could tell that they love what they do.  They took great care of us and you can tell they take the time to get to know their customers.

The exceptional wings (if not the bleu cheese) and the hometown feel of The French Creek Tavern make the half hour drive to Clymer, NY more than worth it.

Week 7, here I come.

Andrew – Beard vs. Food

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