Best Wings
Le Zinc
139 Duane Street

As far as bar food goes, Sam DeMarco’s “Buffalo lollipop wings” at Merge and First are hard to beat. Thanks to some skillful trimming, each one is a plump and tasty mini-drumstick, no mere inkling of meat attached to a lot of skin and bone. For takeout, Kumquat, Clementine’s to-go annex, delivers reliably hot and tangy wings several notches above the competition. But the overall prize for piquancy goes to Le Zinc’s Chinese-flavored duck wings. Chef Michael Sullivan poaches the wings in Chinese red cooking liquid until the precise moment before the meat falls off the bone, dredges them in cornstarch, deep-fries them, and coats them with a blend of salt and Sichuan pepper. The results are deliciously spicy-hot, not hot-sauce-hot. Three meaty wings that make their chicken brethren look scrawny by comparison come with a delectable, fermented-black-bean dipping sauce, proving with typical downstate arrogance that Buffalo’s got nothing on TriBeCa by way of Chinatown.