By Wesley Brown, Charles Matranga
Contributors to Hottytoddy
When we first began our search for the best Buffalo wings in Oxford, we had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. We figured there were only a dozen or so places that sold wings, primarily bars and casual restaurants. Upon further investigation, we discovered that nearly 30 establishments listed Buffalo wings somewhere on their menu. Without a doubt, the two most unsettling of these discoveries were Papitos and El Agave.
Papito’s Wing Review
Price: 8 wings for $7.15
As of this review, this was the most interesting Buffalo wing experience we have ever had. The wings were served naked on top of a bed of lettuce, forming a circle around a bowl of Buffalo sauce. They were equidistant from one another with a stick of celery separating each wing. The Buffalo sauce was in the center of the arrangement, so it was clearly meant to be the focal point of the meal. This is the way Buffalo sauce will be served in heaven if God had a severe case of OCD. Watching the waiter walk out with this display was a magical experience for us, like the feeling you got when waking up on Christmas morning.
The sauce tasted as if it came straight out of a brand new bottle of Frank’s Red Hot and, to be honest, we weren’t mad about it. There is a process and dedication to making quality Buffalo sauce from scratch, so unless you’re gonna go all in, we’d much rather enjoy the best sauce available in stores than a Buffalo sauce made with leftover ingredients.
The wings themselves were real underdogs in this story. They had a nice crisp to them, aided by the fact that there was no Buffalo sauce to make them soggy. They were also a decent size despite being listed as an appetizer. To no one’s surprise, the taste of the chicken was uninspired. It tasted like they dropped unseasoned chicken into the fryer and then tossed them on the plate.
The only Mexican food we got was the chips and salsa, and it was pretty decent. We aren’t salsa critics, but this salsa wasn’t our favorite. It tasted watered down and almost refused to stay on the chip. What we did appreciate is that the chips were super sturdy. This compliment only really makes sense when you compare these chips with El Agave’s chips.
El Agave Wing Review
Price: 8 wings for $9.89
If you thought going to a Mexican restaurant to order Buffalo wings was a crazy idea, imagine going to two Mexican restaurants to eat wings within 15 minutes of one another. After eating at Papitos, our wing crew went right across the street to El Agave. While Papitos was honestly a pleasant surprise, reality set in very quickly.
The waiter looked surprised when we asked for wings, and almost insisted we order actual Mexican food. The Buffalo sauce was average with a striking resemblance to the “Tyson Anytizer” wings you find in the freezer section of Walmart. Unfortunately, things went downhill from here. We picked up our first wing and our fingers quite literally sunk through to the bone. There was negative crisp to these wings. However, nothing compared to the experience of eating them. They were on the cooler side in terms of temperature and the sogginess was even more unsettling in our mouth. Imagine eating a wet sock microwaved on low for 11 seconds, but paying over $10 to do so.
Perhaps the most shocking part of this entire wing experience was asking for ranch dressing and being brought a single pack of Kraft ranch salad dressing. We were flabbergasted. When we set out to find the best wings in Oxford, we never thought we would be squeezing ranch onto a wing from a packet of salad dressing.
There are dozens of items on El Agave’s menu that are worth ordering, but Buffalo wings are not one of them. While anyone reading this review is undoubtedly saying, “No duh, why would you order wings at El Agave”, the fact that Buffalo wings were offered on an Oxford establishment’s menu clearly indicates the restaurant intends for people to order them. And if they intend their wings to be ordered, they are subject to the same level of scrutiny as Moe’s BBQ or Buffalo Wild Wings. In the words of Walt Disney: “Whatever you do, do it well.” If you decide to do Buffalo wings, please do it well.
El Agave’s side item was hands down the best part of this experience. Compared to Papito’s, the chips were razor thin, but the queso was absolutely delicious. We also ordered a personal favorite, the Fiesta Fries, that never fails to please.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Eating Buffalo wings with a side of chips and queso sounds like the recipe for a disastrous belly feel,” then you are absolutely right. We had to take a few meals off after this review, but we aren’t doing these wing reviews for ourselves. Shark Bite reviews wings for the people, putting our stomachs on the line so our readers don’t have to.