My wife and I were up north visiting some old high school friends, and they decided to meet up with us at a place called 16 Prospect Bistro, conveniently located at 16 Prospect Street. Nicely snuggled in downtown Westfield, this little spot felt like it belonged abroad rather than in New Jersey. The scenery placed me in a European cafe, a live jazz band threw me to New Orleans, and they carried wings… which took me to Buffalo. But are they any good? Well, the server said that they are well sought after, so I ordered up some and continued with my conversation of times past with some good friends.
The wings come in either a six, twelve, or eighteen count and only have one sauce… So what you see is what you get. And at first glance, I was happy with what I got. Just like the rest of the ambiance, the wings were elegantly served on a square plate and looked great. The chicken was large, and with one bite I could see the juices flow as these things were not only meaty, but tender as well. But with that bite came an unexpected surprise. The sauce carried with it a huge kick-in-the-face of lemon. So much so that any heat or pepper flavor that this sauce had was masked, or at least dulled, down to slight traces. And, it wasn’t just lemon… It was more of a candied version that reminded me of those “Lemonheads” candies that I ate in high school (which I suppose is fitting given my current situation).
I travel a lot looking for great wings, and the one thing I seem to notice is that many places put all they have into the sauce and the chicken falls by the wayside. 16 Prospect did almost the opposite, unintentionally. Their wings were not only tender and juicy, but the breading was fried to perfection. It is this reason alone why I would go back to get more. But, in the end it was the sauce that left me disappointed as I love the peppery flavors of a traditional sauce and all that lemon seemed to mute that. I finished the plate and could’ve had more, but I feel they need to tweak the sauce recipe to mirror the success of their fried chicken. Then, and only then will these babies go from “hey, these things are pretty good” to “oh, hell yeah!”
16 Prospect Wine Bar & Bistro
16 Prospect Street, Westfield, NJ 07090