In the interest of full disclosure I personally know the owner of the Essex Street Pub and have been friends since playing little loop football on the West Side together literally 40 years ago. I taped an episode of the Moran-Alytics Podcast recently here with Joe Yerdon from The Athletic and while most appreciative for the hospitality, I told Macky (the owner) I would be fair to any listeners and readers by providing a completely unbiased review. So on that note—about them wings and other stuff…..
PROS: There’s so many things about the Essex Street Pub I’m in love with. For starters it feels like I’m in the heart of the West Side every time I’m around. Between Rhode Island Street so close to the bar sidewalk, a fire station just a few buildings down and tons of people walking by , you feel an energy just sitting on the patio. Inside is a comfortable, cozy vibe with friendly people, old school charm and good drink prices.
At this point it’s probably getting obvious I’ve failed to mention anything about their wings, seeing this is primarily a wing review so me say this—the BBQ, Jerk and Maple all had good flavor to them, particularly the Jerk, which I enjoyed far and away the most. I also love single orders here coming in six wings instead of 10—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted wings but not 10 to eat by myself. I wish more places did this—six is perfect.
CONS: I got to keep it honest with the readers and Moran-Alytics Podcast listeners— you’re probably not going to like these. There’s no fryer at the Pub so the wings are baked. Essentially that prevents the wing from getting any significant crisp most wing enthusiasts crave. I’m not a huge crispy guy personally so that doesn’t always bother me, but these are really not crispy—to the point they verge on tasting like six small chicken fingers on a plate.
QB COMPARISON: Kyle Orton. Undeniably fun but not everyone’s cup of tea.
OUTLOOK: Of all the places I’ve been to this could be my biggest conundrum when it comes to wings, because on hand I hate how not crispy (dear even say soggy) the wings get but on the other I really enjoyed the actual flavor of the sauce immensely (at least two of three flavors—not a big Maple fan).
If you’re a serious wing goer looking to find the best of the best I’d suggest skipping this spot. However I’d be remiss and doing the Essex Street Pub a big disservice if not mentioning the Mexi-Cali Nachos, Chili, Essex Plate (beef brisket) and especially the Macky Joe sandwich come as highly touted eats.
Combine that with the above described character and pleasantness of hanging out at this Pub and you got a huge winner—just not particularly with the wings.