After getting a recommendation from Kevin Marsh to visit the Country Tavern at 8107 Perry Highway, I entered them into my poll. The voting was a back-and-forth tie until just before I walked out the door. Amanda and I drove down Route 97 around 6 o’clock last night. If you aren’t looking for the Tavern, you will drive right past it. The driveway is just north of the Presque Isle Downs and Casino entrance and from the outside, it might actually look closed. When we got there, only a few patrons sat at the bar and one table was occupied with a family eating some wings as well. We picked a table and our server, Amy, brought us some menus. I decided to do things a little different this week. Instead of choosing my own wing flavors, I told Amy that she and the cook could select their four favorite/best flavors for me. This made the wait to eat even harder. I was excited to see what they chose.
When the wings arrived, they all smelled delicious. My four sauces were Butter and Garlic, Honey BBQ Cajun, Buffalo Cajun, and Honey Mustard Horseradish. I started with Butter and Garlic. Typically, I stay away from most dry wings. The seasoning either doesn’t get down into the meat or just falls off when they are picked up. These wings were just the opposite. The butter sealed in the heat (temperature, not spice) and the garlic was perfectly strong in every bite. The garlic flavored the butter so even if the garlic fell off, it didn’t lose any taste. Dipping these in ranch elevated their flavor, but they were just as fantastic without it.
I moved on to the Honey BBQ Cajun. The first wing I picked up from this basket pushed me away from them altogether. Somehow, it didn’t get an even coating of spices and sauce and was almost all Cajun. The spices were extremely overpowering and I couldn’t even taste the chicken. I figured that I would at least try a second one and I am glad I did. The BBQ sauce was nice and sweet. When evenly mixed, it gave a great balance to the Cajun seasoning. The sweet start had a little Cajun heat at the end and made this sauce just right.
When Amy told me that there was another Cajun blend, I was hesitant. The Buffalo Cajun wasn’t anything like the last one though. The buffalo sauce reminded me of the Hubba Bubba wings from last week. I enjoy the vinegar flavor that comes from most bottled hot sauces, but this one was more flavorful due to the Cajun spices and didn’t have that vinegar bite. I would actually have liked these more if they had a bit more heat, but they are still a good choice.
Last, but not least, were the Honey Mustard Horseradish. I am a huge fan of horseradish. The honey mustard wasn’t too strong and really let the horseradish flavor shine through. I think it was horseradish powder instead of fresh horseradish. They were delicious wings, and, like the last ones, they could have used more heat and fresh horseradish would have done that for sure.
Not only were the wings cooked perfectly and covered in tasty sauces, the price was great. For 35 wings, it was only $14.95. Thank you to Amy and the cook for the great choices of wing flavors for me and Amanda, and a special thank you to Kevin Marsh for the location suggestion and for reading my blog.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food