I am convinced far in the future, culinary scholars will look back on the late 20th century as a hallmark of innovative cuisine based not on the floating balloon desert at Alinea, nor the revolutionary Oysters and Pearls at the French Laundry, not even the spherical melon caviar from El Bulli. Oh sure, you’ll be able to find them mentioned in archived blog posts and YouTube videos stored in a vault somewhere in Siberia but no one will take them seriously as the iconic dish of their time. That distinction belongs to chicken wings.
And when these same culinary historians rank the greatest purveyors of ailes de poulet, they will surely include Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap on that list because the wings at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap are outstanding.
There’s plenty of food on their menu worth writing about. The grilled artichoke is perfect. The Titanic Truffle Tots are terrific. Their Sweet Potato Fries are swear-word-inspiring.
But it is their wings that will be studied by future generations. The ingredients of their sauce will become the Rosetta stone for a resurgence of wing preparation (probably by sentient robots, or wingbots) and instead of “wings” people will just call them Melnicks.
Can we just talk about the wing of the month, the Topical Citrus Zing, which is Jake’s Jumbo wings fried crispy then tossed in a house-made soy, ginger, and citrus sauce? Can we talk about how they garnish them with toasted sesame seeds and blistered Shishito peppers? Because we should talk about them. We should have long conversations about these wings, punctuated by inarticulate joy noises and involuntary squeals of delight.
Maybe wings aren’t your thing. Maybe you were born on a distant Godless planet or Canada, and you can’t eat chicken in which case a) how dare you, and b) try the burger of the month.
The Hawaiian Five-Oh is not only named after the greatest T.V. theme song ever recorded (don’t even get me started on the influence of the Ventures’ hit single, Hawaii Five-Oh and how it sparked a dance craze in Great Britain because I will throw down on the Hawaii Five-Oh theme song trivia and crush your trivia dreams. #MortonStevens #alsowrotegunsmoke) but is truly Hawaiian in its manic and reckless inclusion of griddle-cooked Spam. Yeah, sure, it’s got pineapples and butter lettuce and Sriracha mayo and it’s on a brioche bun and that’s all fine. But Spam is what makes this burger Hawaiian, and also what really makes this burger so delicious. It is a perfect summer sandwich.
Which you should order if you park your carcass at an outdoor backyard picnic table which is actually under the awning of their Veranda to watch people sidle up and down Superior Street. Or if you rent the Game Room, or the Keg room, or the entire bar if you have that many friends.
But if you don’t come from a godless distant planet (or Canada) then please, please, please do yourself a favor and be part of history and order the wings at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap.