Address: 3301 Richmond Street Philadelphia, PA 19134
Web site: www.byrnestavern.net
Price: 12 Pieces for $7.25
Tracy’s Overall Review: After an almost year-long hiatus from wing reviews I wanted to go someplace good. Site visitors and people IRL have raved about Byrne’s wings so it was at the top of our to-do list. When I got there and sat down I noticed a few red flags. First the price, it was higher than average — ok if the wings are great, but still a little weird. Also you had to pay extra for celery and bleu cheese dressing. That is just strange especially when the price is already high. Third they kept the wing tips on, something I don’t like, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
When the wings came out, and we took our first bites, a few things hit us right away. First they were warmish, but not hot. It was like they were made earlier and then put under a heat lamp before serving. This made the wings tender, but not crispy at all. Also the wings seemed to have a light coating on them, not good. The size of the wings were inconsistent. Most were small, a few were medium, but some were mutant small. You know the kind…the bone has a tiny, weird chunk of meat on it that doesn’t even look like a wing. If a tiny mutant wing is going to count as one of your 12 in a serving then that is just uncool. However, the sauce was tasty, if the wings were decent sized and prepared better it would have been delicious. I think the most disconcerting thing was both Scott and I, and our co-worker that came with us, all had stomach aches soon after getting back to the office. That’s a little disturbing.
Scott’s Overall Review: Walking into Bynes had the aroma of good wings, so my hopes and appetite were up. When we sat down I kind of felt a bit uncomfortable, the dining area was a little small, cold and I felt like we were getting the fish eye. Paranoia and chill aside, I was ready and optimistic that the wings were going to be good. We ordered the wings and no longer then 10mins later they were promptly served. At first glance they looked a little skimpy, but the smell and color was there. I reached for the first wing and it was cold to the touch. The second wing was cold and kind of mutilated. The wing looked like the chicken had compound fracture and then was fried. The sauce was really good, just needed to be a little hotter which is why it makes this review so hard. I mean, I think these wings could be really good. I just think that this was a lack of effort. It was like we got the bottom of the pantry and the cook was hungover from the night before. The sauce is good and I think there is potential. The wings just need to be a little bigger, not mutilated, a little spicier and at least luke warm. If they step it up a little bit I would go back.
Authenticity: The wings had some kind of very light coating on them. Scott thought maybe cornstarch with spices. Not authentic. Also the tips were left on.
Wing size: Mutant small to small to medium.
Sauce: The sauce was not bad. It could stand to be hotter, but it was tasty.
Accouterments: You had to pay extra for celery (60¢) and Bleu Cheese dressing (25¢). Our pal and coworker, Pearson, who was with us on this wing trip, described the Bleu Cheese dressing as having a glossy sheen. It also had a yellow-ish hue. Despite it’s apprearance, it still tasted decent and had a good number of bleu cheese chunks in it.
Atmosphere: Byrne’s is a long-established Port Richmond institution. The old, historical photographs on the walls are great. It was homey and unpretentious with its wood wainscoting and standard-issue Irish Bar decor. The people weren’t exactly warm and friendly, but the service was fine. It can’t be typecast as a stereotypical Irish Bar, because they are known for steamed crabs which always gives a place a Chesapeake Bay vibe. Plus they serve Cannolis. I think the disconnect between the glowing reviews we’ve read and heard vs our experience can be explained by below average effort going into these particular batches of wings. The sauce was good…if they used better sized, non mutant wings, got rid of the coating and fried them up fresh and hot they would have been good. Oh, and they need to not do whatever they did to them to give us all stomach aches.