Bonjour mes amis!!!
Back in October I was in Montreal. My wife and I went to La Belle Provence - she had business there to take care of, but we were also able to do some non-business stuff as well. Montreal holds a special place for us, because that's where I proposed to her. Awwww...
So Monday morning she's off to work and I'm left with packing up the car, checking out of our hotel, and waiting for the call to come get her when she's done. She's also possibly having lunch out, so I planned on having lunch to myself.
Anytime I've been in Montreal and searched for wings, a chain of take-out wing places called Buffalo Bill's. Now there's the historical Buffalo Bill, who has nothing to do with chicken wings or the town of Buffalo, but this chain has linked the two together.
We stayed in old Montreal and the closest location was at Saint-Jacques. Parking was a bitch - it took me 30 minutes to find a spot, but that is how I find Montreal in general for parking. Before I went in the place seemed so much larger than I expected - I thought it was just going to be a take-out joint with maybe a counter or a table or two, but no, this was pretty big.
The place was disgusting. First, it was old inside and not kept up. Second, it was filthy. Everywhere. I went to the bathroom and then almost didn't. The tables were not cleaned off despite it being first thing in the morning and I might have been the first customer. At one point a guy came from outside and was cleaning the windows, but they didn't look any cleaner when he was done. I almost turned around and left, but decided to get the wings anyway. There was just no way I was going to eat my wings in the joint. Or think about what the kitchen might be like.
The menu was completely in French - so I had to use all the powers of my high school French to translate flavours, combos and pretty much anything. The older man behind the counter spoke English ( he was not French, but I'm willing to be French was the last of the languages he spoke) but was not friendly in helping me out the menu. There were so many choices of combos that it was all a little overwhelming.
Before going I had seen on their website that Monday was their wing day and it turned out that this was a Monday. It was not a coincidence, I'm just a good planner. But I didn't see this little fact despite all the posters, menu boards and advertisements inside the store. So I asked the man about it and he said yes it was and it was all day. Wings were $0.69 each. What was crazy to me is that the deal is "Take-Out Only" which is the opposite of how every other restaurant does wing night. Why not dine-in? Oh well.
With wings at that price, I decided I was going to do some sampling. I went with 4 different flavours, and thankfully, they labeled all the containers. That was sarcasm because they didn't label them all (see #4 was left blank) and I think they mislabeled 2. I ordered Spicy Honey BBQ, Spicy Honey Mustard, Hot and either 911 or Suicide. As you can see, I got Spicy HB_ (E? Q? was this the Spicy Honey BBQ?), Hot, then HBQ (Honey BBQ or was this spicy Honey Mustard? Or not spicy at all). Well it was going to be a surprise all around.
I'm going to make a confession here before you go on further; I didn't take notes on these wings, so I'm not 100% on this review what was what and how exactly they tasted, but what I know is that between the flavours, they weren't all that distinct.
The smell of the wings were great. I was pretty excited to tear into these wings. Since the wings were being sold individually, I was able to customize my size. I went with 5 wings x 4 different sauces. The wings were deep fried, then tossed in their various sauces. In retrospect, I wonder if the reason the flavours all melded together were because they used the same bucket to toss the wings in their sauces without cleaning it out each time. Hmmmm, I don't know.
The wings were a good size wing. I was expecting them to be tiny wings but they actually were pretty large in length. They were about a medium in the meat department. The wing meat was not that tender, which was disappointing. The wings were mixed in how fried and crispy they were - some were crispy, some were not.
As I said, I picked 4 different flavours, and this is my best guess of what was in each container. The only one I knew for sure was the Hot. I think. Also, I couldn't remember if I had ordered 911 or Suicide, or what the difference between the two were to begin with. My wife ended up joining me to eat these. She was starving and we gobbled them down in the car. She really liked them, but like me, couldn't really tell the difference.
SPICY HONEY MUSTARD
Looking back several months and not too sure in the first place (Spicy HBQ _) I'm pretty sure this was the Spicy Honey Mustard based on the colour being a little more pale compared to what I thought was the BBQ. I can't describe these particular wings now, but blindfolded I would not have known these were Spicy Honey Mustard. Not very spicy, no mustard flavour. It was good, but it was just sweet, sour and a bit spicy.
The hot was a simple cayenne based hot sauce - it wasn't Frank's I don't think. It was good, but nothing special.
SPICY HONEY BBQ
I identified these wings as the Spicy Honey BBQ because they were a darker colour but like the Spicy Honey Mustard, the flavour was pretty similar. Slightly spicy, sweet and sour.
9-1-1 OR SUICIDE
I don't know which one I ordered and I don't remember what the difference between Suicide and 9-1-1 actually was. Identifying these was easy (aside from no label) because this is what was left. The sauce was tastier than plain hot, and spicier. But it too was a bit sweet.
So these wings were not bad. A good size, and the sauces, while hard to distinguish, each had nice flavours. This location in particular was disgusting and I would not go back here, but I would be willing to give Buffalo Bills another shot. If I do go back, I would re-sample the Spicy Honey Mustard and Honey BBQ for sure. I would also try the 911 or suicide, but I need to find out what that is. The score isn't very high, and these might have been better than I scored them - but I still can't get over the state of the location. 7.5/13
Buffalo Bill's Wings
3171 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montreal QC (and other locations)