Binga's does have breast-meat tenders (their version of "boneless" wings). They are inferior to the real thing. The white meat gets too dry, and the "skin" is a thick, stiff amalgam of fat and breading. Only the juicier dark meat can stand up to a proper fry, and eating wings properly means confronting skin and bone. While you can eat the drumettes somewhat daintily, the wing itself requires abandonment to the experience. You scrutinize the glistening bumpy skin for a point of attack. You can't know what combination of bone, gristle, fat, and meat your teeth will find. On subsequent bites you must poke out the best bits between the bones from underneath with your finger, or engage in some truly primal sucking.
It's good stuff, and for the eater the side dishes are an afterthought. Properly so at Binga's, where we found the sweet potato mash far too bourbon-sweet, and a tomato-cucumber salad watery and mealy. A simple and crisp red slaw was the best side dish, and there was something sharp and compelling about the fried pickle slices. There is something compelling about the combination of Binga's and the Stadium as well. It's like going to a wedding where two oddballs somehow discovered in each other the perfect mate. Here's to many weird years to come.
Brian Duff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BINGA'S STADIUM | 77 Free St, Portland | $1 per wing | Visa, MC, Amex | 207.347.6072
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