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The Frugal Forager: Buffalo Wild Wings offers tasty decadence, friendly service

The Frugal Forager: Buffalo Wild Wings offers tasty decadence, friendly service

Buffalo Wild Wings and Bar is a magnet for sports fans. Between games, it’s pleasant, if cavernous .

I don’t know why I am so predisposed to dislike sports bars, because the last few I’ve visited have been nothing short of pleasant.

That includes Buffalo Wild Wings, in Clifton Park, next to Chipotle and sort of in the mall, which is under so much construction that it’s hard to tell what’s in and what’s out. You’ll find it.

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar

WHERE: 22 Clifton Country Road, Clifton Park. Phone 371-9464. www.buffalowildwings.com.

WHEN: Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight, Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

HOW MUCH: $36.23

MORE INFO: Children’s menu. Wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express. Take-out available.

Mom and I visited for lunch, salivating over thoughts of crispy wings and perhaps some fries. While we enjoyed the wings, I am happy to report that you can find other tasty stuff, and extra-nice service, too.

Much as I like the place, I wouldn’t go near it if there were an important sports event on. Between games, it’s pleasant, if cavernous. You can hardly see the bar behind the wall in the back of the dining room, which is important to some people, I suppose.

Big TV screens

The dining room is arena-like, not by coincidence, and hung with jerseys and flat screens of various sizes. “I didn’t know they made TVs that big,” said Mom. Most of them were tuned to sports channels, but we heard only the mix of soft rock and easy-listening background music.

The high ceiling is painted black to hide naked infrastructure, but the carpeted dining room keeps things from getting too noisy. There’s a sea of tables in the huge room, with cozier spots along the perimeter. We got one near the window.

They were happy to see us. Delighted, in fact. I don’t know what their corporate policy is, but it involves hiring the nicest people imaginable. We checked out the big, floppy laminated menus, which offer almost every kind of unhealthy food there is. But I am here to praise Buffalo Wings, not bury it, and it’s certainly OK to eat this stuff once in a while.

I must tell you about the steak and potato flip, described as a kind of sandwich: “Seasoned steak and mozzarella cheese topped with french fries, Southwestern ranch dressing, and our signature Honey BBQ sauce — all sandwiched between our flatbread pizza crust.” Wait, there’s more: “served with tortilla chips and salsa. $8.79.”

There are plenty of starters and snacks, burgers, ribs, wraps and sandwiches, in addition to the wings and “boneless” wings. There were quite a few salads to choose from.

Wings for openers

We started with an order of wings, of course, $8.99 for a full dozen, something you don’t see much anymore. There were 20 sauces. How to choose? The server offered up her favorite, Asian Zing, so we split the order between that and regular old medium.

The wings didn’t disappoint, especially the sweet-hot, sticky Asian Zing wings. They were crispy with juicy soft meat and just enough sauce.

My idea of wing seasoning is melted butter with varying amounts of hot sauce. Buffalo Wing’s medium-level sauce was thick and opaque and tasted right, but lacked the spirit of the real thing. Of course, we enjoyed them anyway.

We were offered a lunch menu that featured the most popular items served up in a basket with fries for an inexpensive price. There’s a soft taco salad, wings, and slider-type sandwiches called slammers. Mom ordered the pulled pork slammers and fries ($6.79). I got the blackened chicken salad ($7.89) off the regular menu.

Our meals came out before we were halfway through the wings, a fact that husband Eric later appreciated. “I can keep them warm for you,” said the server, of our meals. We looked at the crispy fries and decided not to wait. I was glad we did: we would have polished off all the wings.

Mom’s pulled pork sandwich was delicious. “Sometimes pulled pork is greasy, but this is just right,” she said. The sauce soaked the soft rolls and she ended up eating it with a fork, but didn’t mind. We both liked the shoestring fries, which were warm and crisp and salty. “This would taste good with a beer,” Mom said. I’ve never seen her drink a beer.

How was the coleslaw? “It looks better than it tastes,” she said, but they weren’t stingy with the portion. It couldn’t have been that bad, since she ate most of it.

Chicken and more

I liked my salad and would order it again. Although the chicken looked dry, it wasn’t, and the blackened seasonings amounted to a crisp, tasty crust. The Romaine and iceberg lettuce mix wasn’t bad, and there was lots of everything — chopped tomato, finely shredded white and orange cheese, seasoned croutons. I didn’t finish the chicken, which I could cut with just a fork, but I ate everything else, and I liked it enough that I forgot to put the dressing on.

Three different employees came by to check to see that we were satisfied with our food, and I’m sure they would have jumped to rectify any problem. Aside from getting rushed, the service was friendly and attentive. I wonder if restaurants rush meals at the lunch hour as a policy.

It was hard not to like the young server, who asked if we were spending the day shopping together and made friendly small talk. We passed on desserts, of which there are three: cheesecake, apple pie and chocolate cake.

Friendly farewell

With tax, two big Diet Cokes and kind of a big tip for the extra-nice server, the tab came to $36.73. We left, not too stuffed, satisfied and happy. An employee held the door for us on the way out and wished us a good day. Our final experience was a friendly wave. Buffalo Wild Wings made us welcome and fed us well. Too bad there’s only one in New York, but we’re fortunate that it’s here in Clifton Park.

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