After some griping about the lack of food options in parts of Rensselaer County (see my recent post on The Sushi House), I have decided to make more of a concerted effort to try local establishments that might be flying beneath my radar. A perfect example is The Towne Tavern in Averill Park. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, and the name conjures images in my mind of lackluster bar food. Yet a few people have insisted that this place is worthy of a visit, so I decided to give it a try.
We arrived on a recent Saturday night to find the place absolutely packed. Reservations would probably be key for anyone considering stopping by for a weekend dinner. The interior is really nicely done with wood paneling, lots of taxidermy, and various old blacksmith type objects decorating the walls. The menu is packed with burgers, barbecue, sandwiches, pasta, and steak entrees. They also had an unexpectedly interesting craft beer menu, lots of wine by the glass for affordable prices, and a sizable list of specials (including some giant steak and prime rib options).
Admittedly, this was supposed to be a full dinner review, and we did thoroughly enjoy our meal. But I found that afterwards, when I was thinking about writing this post, all I could focus on was the wings we had for an appetizer. They were some of the best wings I’ve had in a while.
Yes, these wings are a little over-sauced. They are basically swimming in a soup of delicious hot sauce. But the real star quality here, in addition to some of the barbecue items on the menu, is the smokey taste in the meat. The wings are cooked in the smoker before being fried, which gives the meat a really unique taste and keeps it tender and juicy. The skin was cooked to a perfect crispy texture, and the sauce in the hot variety was a good heat level without being overwhelming.
I don’t typically go for unusual wing flavors, especially when trying out a new place, but The Towne Tavern has a number of sauce choices for those looking for something different. In addition to their various barbecue sauces (maple bourbon sounded particularly good), notable options include buffalo garlic parm, honey chipotle, and spicy bacon ranch. Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning can probably guess that I had to try the spicy bacon ranch wings (I literally cannot say no to bacon).
These wings were also great. The sauce had the same kick as the hot wings, but with a creamier base from the ranch and big chunks of bacon strewn throughout. They were also maybe a bit too saucy, but in general they had a great crispy bite and a really lovely smokey taste.
I’m glad to have found another place in the area that has some quality food, and we’ll certainly be back to try more of the wings. I will note that the wings aren’t much of a bargain (more than $9 for an order of ten), although Sundays are apparently reduced price (down to $7.50 for ten). Price aside, The Towne Tavern’s wings are still among the best I’ve had recently, and perhaps the best I’ve had in the Capital District.
Open to suggestions on other must-try wing spots in the area!