BW 1

Back in high school, one weekend I went to eat at Denny’s with a group of classmates. One of them ordered Buffalo wings, and even though that’s exactly what the waitress brought him, he immediately sent them back, protesting, “Hey, these are chicken wings!”

I’m still baffled by his reaction. Did he really think there was some rare breed of buffalo, which not only had sprouted wings, but was being sourced for side orders at one of the cheapest restaurants in America? For everyone else at the table, the fact that we’d been attending San Dimas High for years and still hadn’t had any Bill and Ted-style time-travelling adventures had already hammered home the fact that life isn’t always filled with magic and wonder, but apparently our finicky friend’s dreams wouldn’t die so easily.

For that matter, shouldn’t everyone be able to get excited about a plate of chicken wings? The RocketNews24 team sure can, which is why we recently checked out a new Tokyo eatery, Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo.

The restaurant just opened up on July 29, which is when we stopped by. It’s conveniently-located just a two-minute walk from Otsuka Station on the Yamanote loop line that circles downtown Tokyo. Alternatively, wing fans can get off at the Otsukaekimae stop on the Arakawa Line, the capital’s last remaining streetcar line.

BW 2

Even before you enter, you can see that Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo is going for the Americana vibe, with its human-sized Statue of Liberty greeting patrons out front. Inside you’ll see iconic characters such as the Cookie Monster and Bob’s Big Boy.

▼ Although Wolverine is Canadian and the Smurfs were created in Belgium.

BW 3

BW 9

While Buffalo wings are the restaurant’s specialty, there’ re not the only food on the menu. While we were tempted by the tacos and salsa, we ended up starting off with a plate of the “curry of the day,” since we were curious to see what ingredients the chef had picked out to commemorate Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo’s opening.

BW 4

The 649-yen (US$6.40) plate came with cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and coconut-stewed chicken wings, which along with sprinkled cilantro gave it a Southeast Asian flavor. The eggplant lost most of its shape during the cooking process, but the chicken was amazingly tender, and the whole thing tasted so good we were happy to overlook the fact that it wasn’t anything like what we’d expect from the name or décor of Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo

▼ Our waitress Sayuka, seen here providing the “smile” portion of the restaurant’s name

BW 10

Still, the sign promised wings, and that’s what we were going to have next! The Buffalo wings come four to an order for 699 yen, and are served with blue cheese dipping sauce on the side. There’s also a selection of eight glazes you can choose from, which curry mustard being the mildest. From there, things get progressively hotter with intimidating names like Crime for the second-spiciest.

Naturally, the spiciest of all is called Punishment. Curious as to just how fiery it is, we asked the owner, Matsumoto, who smiled knowingly and informed us, “It’s basically death sauce.”

We decided to take him at his word and take our sauce selection down a few notches, settling on DB Habanero, which is made with American beer. Despite bearing the name of the powerfully hot chili, there’s actually plenty of sweetness to be found in it, and we could even see some hearty kids enjoying it. Of course, even we grown-ups loved it. Especially when mixed with the blue cheese dip, the combination of flavors is so good we thought we were going to pass out from all the chicken-induced joy we were feeling.

BW 5

BW 6

You can’t sit around eating curry and hot sauce without getting thirsty, so we were happy to find that Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo also has craft beer on tap. On opening day, they were serving Island IPA for 999 yen. With a citrusy aroma and all the hoppy goodness its IPA pedigree implied, it put out the fire on our tongue in no time. In fact, we felt ready to order another plate of wings, which would then of course necessitate another beer, which would have us ready for more wings…

You know what? It really is a good thing Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo is so close to the train station. We might not be able to walk very far by the time we leave.

BW 9

Restaurant information
Buffalo Wings & Smile Tokyo
Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Minami Otsuka 3-52-2, Hosaka Building 1st floor
Telephone: 03-5927-9727
Lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Dinner 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Website (Facebook)

Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]