Hello from Long Island once again. After a weekend spell in Syracuse, I’m home and ready to blog once more. But I owe it to you fine folks to do a little extra this week since some promises weren’t kept last week: I missed one day of blogging and the supposed guest blog from my girlfriend never materialized. (Oops.) So we’ll have a couple of extra posts this week. Today, we start with a favorite from the ‘Cuse days…
Just about everyone who goes to Syracuse University loves Chuck’s Cafe. It’s only an OK bar, though. I know people will jump out and defend this, but let’s face the facts here: there are only two reasons why people love Chuck’s. 1) It’s one of basically four bars on Marshall Street. 2) It’s cheap. Chuck’s has a grimy feel, even by bar standards, and it gets outrageously crowded at times. I like the place, but we’re not talking about an unbeatable institution here in most respects.
But there’s one area where Chuck’s is simply top-notch: the boneless tenders. These things are like manna from heaven.
I believe I can credit Scott Grodsky (he of the guest review for Drive) for introducing me to the boneless tenders. On first thought, any sane person would be slightly confused by the overwhelming desire to eat food from a place where you can’t see the wall because all of the Sharpie signatures. But with nothing to lose but my small amount of cash and my stomach’s health, I ordered a plate of the mild kind. (The tenders come in mild and hot versions: both are excellent.) The cost is something like $7.00 for a plate of something like 8 to 10 tenders. (My crack team of research interns will get you exact numbers as soon as possible.)
Technically, this food is labeled “boneless tenders”, but it has more of a wing than a tender flavor to it. It’s buffalo-style chicken that tastes a little bit hotter than its label every time, which makes the “mild” version well worth it. And they’re absolutely sensational. There is a ton of flavor to the boneless tenders with or without any extra sauce, though you do get a cup of ranch with them. They go well with any sort of beverage and are a classic bar type of food.
Are they the best in Syracuse? Well, Tully’s always gets raves for its tenders, and rightfully so, but Chuck’s is the winner here. Even if it’s not so much of a traditional style of tender, Chuck’s has more flavor and doesn’t need to be dipped in honey mustard for maximum value, as the Tully’s tenders do. Plus, as somebody who doesn’t drink much, it justifies the Chuck’s experience every time. Eat them.