new york buffalo wings & ribs / la mesa – san diego, ca

Last weekend I had a craving for some wings. I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been craving wings left and right. I also only like the “wing” part. I’ll eat a drumette if that’s all that’s left but I’d much rather eat the wing. You keep those drumettes to yourself and we’ll be good. I use Yelp a lot to find places but I always take the reviews with a grain of salt. Just because something’s popular doesn’t necessarily mean that I will like it so I’m always wary of Yelp reviews. I still use the darn thing though to find new places and just judge for myself. Maybe I’ll agree. Maybe I won’t.

Ho hum.

New York Buffalo Wings & Ribs is what came up as a nearby wing spot near Jake’s house. They claim to be the best in San Diego and I was surprised that I had never heard of them before. They have seven locations in San Diego and one in Tijuana. They boost that their food is fresh and never frozen.

New York Buffalo Wings & Ribs - Wing Variety Pack

[15 wings / $14.70]

New York Buffalo Wings & Ribs has a variety of wing sauces that you can choose from: Mild, Medium, Chiptole, Original Hot, Very Hot, Atomic Hot, Honey BBQ, Sweet and Sour, Teriyaki and Lemon Pepper.

We got Original Hot (left), Teriyaki (middle) and Honey BBQ (right) .

I grabbed a wing and dug in with the Original Hot first, dunking it in their vat of blue cheese dressing.


This probably looks like it’s just a little cup, but I kid you not, it’s like cream cheese container sized. Plenty of room for drenching your entire wing into the sauce.

The hot sauce wasn’t really anything inspired and didn’t taste much different than Frank’s Hot Sauce. It was highly vinegary, a bit hot (but not too much) and just okay. The outside wasn’t crispy and the inside of the wing was quite dry and tasted a bit overcooked. The wings were not pipping hot either, but tasted like they were at just above room temperature.

The other two sauced wings didn’t really fare much better. The teriyaki had a weird bitter aftertaste along with the same dryness from the first wing. Of the three, the honey BBQ was maybe the “best” but it kind of just tasted like store bought BBQ sauce was poured on top of the wings. No crunchiness. No delicious skin. Just flat and borderline rubbery. Everything tasted manufactured, dry, and incredibly unexciting to eat.

Breadsticks at New York Buffalo Wings & Ribs

[3 breadsticks / $1.29]

We ordered the wings a la carte so I decided to try the breadsticks as well. Bread is probably one of my most favorite foods ever – I love a good, freshly made breadstick… but that’s now what we have here. The breadsticks were cold with a Parmesan cheese dust on top. It was also dry – if a breadstick can be dry – and just unexciting to eat. If they served these hot and fresh I’m sure it would make an incredible difference but these tasted like maybe they were made a long time ago. Perhaps even in a galaxy far, far away.

Buffalo Chiptole Fries - New York Buffalo Wings & Ribs 

[buffalo chipotle fries / $8.49]

Due to the other mediocre food, I wasn’t expecting too much from this dish but thankfully it turned out to be the one enjoyable item that I liked. The french fries were actually hot and freshly prepared with bits of hot buffalo seasoned chicken tenders on top. The tenders were much juicier than their wing counterparts. There’s a sauce that’s drenched all over the fries (chipotle ranch sauce, maybe?) that packs a punch of flavor. The sauce helps tone down the spiciness level and since the fries were fresh and hot, this turned out to be the only tasty thing we had that evening.

Jake wants to come back to try the ribs but I’m feeling pretty skeptical on this one. Maybe we’ll come back and give it another shot sometime but I’m not really feeling the need to do that any time soon. Eating lackluster food makes me feel a little sad inside, like I spent money on food but I don’t feel really happy and satisfied with the food I ate. It’s like some kind of foodie depression knowing you could have had something better (or even made it better yourself) and you just can’t take it back.

New York Buffalo Wings & Ribs
7520 El Cajon Blvd
La Mesa, CA91942

New York Wings and Ribs on Urbanspoon

14 thoughts on “new york buffalo wings & ribs / la mesa – san diego, ca

  1. Sad your wing experience was so mediocre! I feel the same way about failed new restaurant outings, especially when everyone else on Yelp is in love. Makes me feel like that scene in Zoolander when Mugatu is saying that all of Ben Stiller’s poses are the same and no one sees it: “Am i taking crazy pills?!!”. Haha. Random reference of the day.

    When I was in college we used to go to Bub’s in PB every Wednesday for 25 cent wings. And I remember Dirty Birds being yummy too. Have you ever tried either of those? On the plus side even if you don’t like Bubs I guess in the end you didn’t spend that much money on wings…although finding a table was always annoying on 25 cent wing night. Ooh and they had really good free tater tots if you checked in on Yelp.

    1. Hi J.S. – Hahah, crazy pills, I love it! That’s a good way to reference it, I kind of felt that way looking over the reviews again on this place like “Does everyone see something I don’t?!”
      We don’t really go to PB all that often since it’s a pain in the ass to park and get there, but 25 cent wing night sounds pretty awesome (and free tater tots? whaaaat). I’ve also hear the wings at Dirty Birds were good, I think I saw a Thrillist article that talked about it (and other wing places). We went to a new place this week that had pretty good wings – I think good wings will be my new holy grail 🙂

  2. I just go to Wings n Things when I have a surprise wing craving – they aren’t the best (but also not the worst), but it’ll satisfy my craving. However, you and I can never go out for wings together since we’ll just be fighting over the wing part and a pile of drummettes will be left on the table.

    Sad food makes me sad. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    1. Hi Leanne – Wings and Things isn’t too bad. But yeah, it’s also not super awesome. We tried some wings I really liked during the Taste of Hillcrest at Empirehouse so I’ll have to go and give those another try. Ahh, another wing part lover! We’ll just order two sets and Jake can eat the dreaded drummettes. Some days you just have sad food. It sort of makes the good food a little better.

  3. I always only like the wing part, too, which works out because S prefers the drumettes! Haha. It’s too bad that this place didn’t work out though 🙁 I’m always sad after getting all excited about a place and it not living up to hype/reviews. +1 for Dirty Bird’s in PB!

    1. Hi Jinxi – Wing eaters unite! Or something! haha. That’s good that S prefers the drumettes – it makes for happier wing eating. Oh, another positive nod for Dirty Bird’s – thanks! I’ll have to check that one out sometime.

  4. That is a jumbo size blue cheese dip. I’ve never dipped my wings in the dressing/dip (even if it’s ranch). I also heart the wing portion of these things!! I usually nibble the skin off the drumette portion and then throw that portion back in the wing ‘pot’ for someone else to finish. Classy right 🙂

    That sucks the breadsticks were terrible. Would they have replaced them if you asked? Sometimes I feel alright asking but other times I just shrug and say it ain’t worth it. I still remember the golden days of Oscar’s garlic breadsticks.

    I don’t think you’ve tried Phoung Trang’s butter chicken wings yet? It’s still my go to fried wing in SD. OHHH – and they only serve the ‘wing’ portion! Totally forgot about that!

    1. Hi Faye – I only dipped the hot wings because they were a tad too spicy and the sauce “cools” them for my sensitive palate (haha). Funny about the skin on the drummettes – very, very uber classy, I promise.
      They might have replaced the breadsticks if asked but I just didn’t feel like bothering at that point. Mmm, yeah, Oscar’s breadsticks are the best (I haven’t been there in awhile – er, O’s American Kitchen, I should say).
      I have had Phoung Trang’s butter wings! I was trying to get Jake to go there recently but he wasn’t feeling a trip to Convoy. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there though (I did blog about it). Time for a revisit there! All wings, too! That makes me happy.

  5. Hi Mary — I’ve heard about this place too and wondered. Hubby LOVES wings — his favorite food, so we always are looking for great wings in San Diego. I agree with Leanne, our “go-to” is Wings-n-Things because we know what to expect. I do like the wings at the Sycuan Casino Sports Bar (and they taste better when there’s no tax and you get a 10% discount with a Players Card, haha). Anyway, sorry about the bleh wings and breadsticks, but I have heard great things about the fries you ordered. They do look yummy!

    1. Hi Janice – Wings n Things isn’t bad, their breadsticks are pretty decent too. I went there a few weeks ago with my co-workers and it wasn’t terrible – it was good, really – but not “OMG” good haha. Maybe I *should* do a chicken wing crawl to find the best wings in San Diego!

  6. I can so relate to that “foodie depression”! I always want to cry over it whenever it happens.

    Do you ever try the really lowly rated places too, to see for yourself? I know I shouldn’t go by the general public’s judgment on most things, but I cant help but to find myself a bit hesitant when a place has 2-3 stars. I mean even 4 starred places have disappointed, so it makes me wonder how bad the 2-3 place must be. If they have low ratings because of customer service/FOH issues (waitress was a bitch, busser took forever to clear table, etc.), but had okay ratings on the food, I’d be open to try..but if they talk about how chicken was served raw, something was spoiled, etc etc….I probably wouldn’t think twice. I care more about the food than the service..I mean, unless it’s some upscale place, then of course, the service counts a lot too.

    Haha if even one or two items that come out taste bad or meh, I, too, am hesitant to even try anything else also. It’s like..”eh people back there must have bad palates and/or lack cooking skills” so I don’t expect much with anything else.

    1. Hi Miss Kim – Foodie depression blows. Especially when you know you could have had something better! If it’s lowly rated place and on the cheaper side I’d maybe try it anyway. It kind of depends on what I’m in the mood for! I’ve gone to hole in the wall places that don’t look like very much and ended up really enjoying the food – so you can’t always judge a place by the looks of it, either! I do also care more about the food then the service, but really, really bad service will make me not want to visit a place again. There are also places that aren’t rated very high on Yelp that I have always enjoyed, so you just have to find people who’s judgement you trust for recommendations (ie: food bloggers!).

  7. Girl, you were craving wings because I suggested that WING crawl on your 100 list post! Now I’m just waiting for you to set something up hehe! Other tasty places I remember: Empire House (from Taste of Hillcrest), Miguel’s Cocina (honey glazed fire wings at Tequila Trail 2012). I don’t eat wings too often so now I’m counting on you (and random taste events) to find me the goods!

    I finally joined yelp in mid-may. I check the reviews for new places but find out for myself it it is worth it. I’m not posting reviews but I checked in a few times. Debating where I want to do something similar to Faye (add summarized content from blog and link to my site). Sounds like extra work on top of already time-consuming posts. I do have something good in the works… can’t wait to finish and post!

    1. Hi Lynn – You’re probably right 🙂 I kind of wanted to go back to Empire House to get the wings again but this was closer to Jake’s house. I doubt we’ll make that mistake again, haha. I have a Yelp account but a long time ago I posted my reviews and they took them down and told me I couldn’t link to my posts… I guess they have changed that but it made me a little bitter so I don’t bother posting on Yelp. Oh well. Can’t wait to see what you got in the works!

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