After one of our wing nights we ran into a couple of Xavvi’s old friends and, because we have no shame, we started talking about the wing blog. Xavvi’s friend Stoney said he knew of a place that we HAVE to visit. We love getting recommendations but since it seems a lot of people like to rave about shitty wings we took that with a grain of salt.
He said that NY Boyz on Apache has the best wings you could get. He compared them to Teakwood’s, going so far as to say that NY Boyz blows them out of the water. That is a pretty bold claim considering that Teakwood’s has some of the best wings I had had up to that point. Regardless, we agreed we would give it a try.
When we looked up the location of NY Boyz it was hard for me to picture it. It is located on Apache Blvd near River Rd. I used to live about a half-mile down from there at University and River and the only thing remember at Apache and River was a condemned motel that prostitutes used to hang out at before it was shut down. Turned out NY Boyz was just on Apache just past the prostitute motel in a new building.
Walking into NY Boyz gives you the feeling you are walking into a storage closet. Metal racks full of all sorts of restaurant supplies cover one corner of the restaurant and shit is piled up against the walls around the rest. Where the walls do show through it is decorated with a New York icons and sports and anything else they could think to make sure you don’t miss their NY pride. It was like stepping in Curt Schilling’s nightmare. Warning: It is probably not in your best interest to show up here in a Red Sox jersey, assuming you don’t want to be physically thrown from the building.
We were greeted at the counter by what turns out to be the owner himself, Jordan. He really didn’t seem all that happy we are there but he wasn’t rude. More indifferent then anything else.
We tried to order ten Hot and ten Suicide wings but the Suicide wings are available by appointment only. They are a big deal I guess. We let him know we are writing a wing blog and asked what he recommended in addition to the Hot wings. He recommended Jordan’s Way, which is a sort of dry rub that you dip in the Hot sauce, so we ordered it.
He also expressed his shock that we had never been to NY Boyz while writing a wing blog in Arizona. It was as if that somehow completely invalidated anything we had done with the blog. He went so far as saying that any other place we had tried in Phoenix was “children’s wings” and called out a few Valley favorites by name so we knew who he was comparing himself to. He claimed that the only place that had better wings than his was Duff’s in Buffalo, NY, which is known for having the best wings in the world. Duff’s has gone toe-to-toe in taste contests with the originator the Buffalo wing, Anchor Bar, and come out on top. We walked away from the counter and I was thinking that these would either be the best wings we ever have or this place was going to be torn apart in the wing blog after all this talk.
We found a table near one wall while we waited for our order to come up. Money Train was playing on the TV above us for some reason. On the wall was the Wall of Flame and Shame, the winners and losers of NY Boyz Suicide Wing challenge, respectively. They also had the release each of them had signed tacked to the wall. The thing read like a real liability release but I assumed it was just a gimmick. The wall with the winner’s and loser’s photos was somewhat daunting though. The winner’s side was very sparse with just a handful of photos. The loser’s side was full of people looking like their lives had taken a turn for the worst.
When our order came up we made our way to the counter and I was thinking chances were low this place could live up to the hype. When I saw the wings I was encouraged. The were some of the biggest wings I have seen but they looked perfectly cooked instead of soggy looking like you often see with larger wings.They Hot wings were covered in a standard-looking Buffalo sauce but over those wings it looked magnificent.
We sat back at our table ready to dig in. The moment of truth had arrived. We went for the Hot flavor first. As I bit into my first wing it hit me that I would never experience wings the same again. These monster wings were just as perfectly cooked as they appeared. Perfect crispy texture on the outside with juicy meat on the inside. There was a ton of chicken on these bones as well. The sauce was good but nothing out of the ordinary. It was the wing itself that set this place apart.
I jumped into the Jordan’s Way style wings next. These were just as perfectly cooked. They rub on the outside didn’t add a ton of flavor but these were good with or without dipping them in the Hot sauce. If NY Boyz made a wing with no sauce or extra flavoring it would still be great.
My whole perspective changed. I began to suspect that the reason for the underwhelming decor of NY Boyz was so you wouldn’t have some kind of sensory overload after you bit into the wings. More likely, they just don’t care about the appearance of the restaurant because they are focused on making the best wing in Arizona (so far).
We finished the wings in no time and we were wishing we had more. Another customer nearby told us the sandwich she ordered was also amazing.
We talked to Jordan for awhile afterwards and he told us about the care that goes into selecting his wings. We also started talking about his Suicide Wing challenge. As far as Jordan is concerned there is no such thing as a hotter wing challenge then his. He planned on having the Guiness Book of World Records people come to out to test that idea. The sauce is made from an extract of the Trinidad Scorpion pepper, currently the world’s hottest pepper.
He told us the waivers he made people sign was not just a gimmick. He had had a lawyer write that up for him because that sauce was potentially dangerous. Apparently, people have gone to the hospital after eating this stuff.
At this point he asked me if I wanted to try The Toothpick. I was intrigued. Basically, The Toothpick is really just a toothpick that is dipped in the Trinidad Scorpion extract. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity so I signed away my life, err, the waiver.
As mentioned previously on this blog, I have a pretty formidable hot sauce collection at home. My current hottest is The Source which registers around 7.1 million Scoville units (the standard measurement for heat). Jordan told us this extra hit the 10 million Scoville mark. For some perspective, a standard Habanero is between 100,000 – 350,000 Scoville units. I can eat a little bit of The Source but can’t handle much. It really isn’t made to be used like a standard sauce.
He brought out the toothpick and it was dripping with a very dark red liquid. It looked and smelled a lot like The Source does. Looking at it I figured I knew what I was in for already. Part of the agreement to try this thing was Jordan got to film my reaction. Xavvi made a similar video.
I took the toothpick and inhaled the sauce. I even went back for more as I had missed a little of the sauce on the toothpick. So far, so good. It takes a minute to kick in. When it did it felt like the end of the world.
My mouth was on fire but I could handle that. The worst part was when it made it to my throat. I felt like it was closing off and burning up at the same time. I ran over to the soda machine and probably drank 5 or 6 full glasses of orange soda. I figured water wasn’t going to work. It took several minutes to feel like it was even manageable and I didn’t feel like a is in a barely concealed panic. That stuff was unreal.
I handled it much better than the staff expected. This was surprising considering how much trouble I felt like I had with it. According to Jordan, a few ASU football players had come in recently for wings and they instantly ran outside to throw up after trying the toothpick.
I made it all the way to our next destination before I threw up. Of course, the 6 glasses of orange soda could have contributed to that as well.
All in all, you can not go wrong hitting up NY Boyz for wings. They were far and away the best wings we had had up to that point, easily setting a new high for all wings that followed to measured against. Just try to avoid the toothpick.
Update 2/29/2012: We went back to NY Boyz just to enjoy some wings and discuss some things about the blog and we ended up talking to the new owner. The new owner’s name is Omar and he has worked at NY Boyz for over a year before he bought it. The quality still seems top notch and Omar seemed like a really cool guy so it is definitely still worth the visit.
NY Boyz Subz and Wingz
2070 E Apache Blvd
Tempe, AZ 85281
11:00am-9:00pm Monday -Thursday
11:00am-1:00pm Friday & Saturday
Sampled October 20th, 2011