One of America's proud contributions to the flavor canon is the trinity of spicy Buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and celery. It's such a classic combo that it offers a perfect opportunity for chefs to play around with it. If you're a fan of spicy Buffalo sauce, here are seven spots around town that offer some fun options.
Before you start playing around in the Buffalo and blue sandbox, you need to start with a benchmark. The Buffalo wings at Lower Haight's Wing Wings are an excellent place to start. They use free-range California chicken, so the meat has great flavor. Order your Buffalo sauce wings regular or hot (wing master Christian Ciscle uses Frank's RedHot sauce as the base for authenticity, and then adds extra spices, sugar, pimenton, and more), and start dunking 'em in blue cheese dressing. Bonus: Wing Wings delivers, and is open late!
The Corner Store
In a brilliant intersection of high meets low, this recently opened Inner Richmond restaurant has a wickedly good appetizer of sweetbreads in Frank's RedHot Sauce, served with a radish-celery salsa verde and blue cheese. Um, yes.
Craftsman & Wolves
That evil genius William Werner is at it again, making savory (and spicy) madeleines that have chicken dressed in Frank's RedHot sauce inside that you dunk into a smoked blue cheese dressing. While these are currently not on the menu (sniff), he plans to bring them back soon.
In a twist on the classic CPK BBQ chicken pizza, this Outer Richmond pizza place has a Buffalo chicken pizza that features Buffalo sauce on the crust, topped with oven-roasted chicken, crumbled blue cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, and red onion. Delivery, yay.
This casual joint in the Lower Haight has a trifecta of Buffalo and blue dishes on the menu: First is the Buffalo mac and cheese (so smart), and you could also get meaty Buffalo wings and blue cheese as an appetizer. And then on Thursdays, they do a New York Buffalo chicken finger sub.
Of course there are plenty of Buffalo sandwiches around town, but Phat Philly's spicy Buffalo cheesesteak version uses some mighty-fine chicken. You get an Amoroso roll filled with Mary’s free-range chicken, smothered in Frank's RedHot sauce, plus provolone cheese, and it's topped with blue cheese or ranch, with celery on the side (because with this sandwich, you really need your vegetables).
It's definitely time for a salad. (Although the Buffalo Chicken Cobb they make at this local brewery isn't a light one.) It comes with romaine, Buffalo-dressed chicken, crumbled blue cheese, smoked bacon, cherry tomato, avocado, egg, and yes, blue cheese dressing. Dig in.
Marcia Gagliardi is author of the weekly tablehopper e-column and book The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. Read more at tablehopper.com.