Winging it: The Library in the South Side

By: Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor

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(Claire Murray / Asst. Photo Editor) – Buffalo ranch and garlic parmesan wings from The Library

One place I never thought my hunt for Pittsburgh’s best wings would take me is a library. But fortunately, when I walked into The Library at 2304 Carson St., I was glad I didn’t have to use the Dewey Decimal System.

The bar and restaurant has a fun atmosphere that is perfect for watching the Pens or relaxing with buddies after you finish that 2,000 word essay. It is lined with TVs and, of course, books. The menu is creative and clever with many of the dishes being named after famous works of literature. It is organized into chapters, beginning with the “Table of Contents” (lunch), and ending with the “Epilogue” (dessert). Some of my favorite literary inspired menu names were: “Once upon a time in Mexico” (Tacos), “The Gunslinger” (A burger with chipotle aioli) and “Don Quixote” (chicken or shrimp served with toppings that can be rolled in tortillas).

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(Claire Murray / Asst. Photo Editor) – The Library located at 2304 East Carson St.

Of course my amigo and I were there for one thing only: the “Wings of Icarus.” They come in an order of 10 and have many options for sauces, but their most popular is the buffalo ranch. We got five of those along with five garlic parmesan. The wait time for the wings was longer than I expected, about 30 minutes, but it was reassuring to know the wings were being cooked to order.

We didn’t notice our waiter which was a good thing because we were just there to eat and even on a Saturday with a Pitt basketball game and a Penguins game we were seated and waited on right away. Another interesting offer is the All-You-Can-Eat wings, which runs Sunday through Tuesday. This deal gets you as many wings as you can eat for $12 and, although this is a per-person price, it will still be a good option, because you will not want to stop eating these wings.

Back to our wings, though. The cook on the wings made an impact right away. They were crunchy on the outside, but not overly tough. The meat inside nearly fell off the bone with each bite. The cook was almost identical on each wing. It was the closest I have had to a perfect cook.

The wings used were clearly high-quality and were fresh.

The meat was good and tasty even without the sauce. The wings were adequate in size and consistent. That showed the attention to detail of the kitchen had which was one of many reasons why the wings were so good.

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(Claire Murray / Asst. Photo Editor) – A menu from The Library

The buffalo ranch sauce had a really interesting flavor. It had the heat of the buffalo sauce, while the ranch balanced the tanginess of the buffalo and made the flavor more neutral. It was one of the better sauces I have had and I can see why it is a favorite of Library patrons. The garlic parmesan were not quite up to par. There was definitely not enough garlic flavor. The parmesan was freshly grated and was certainly noticeable. The harmony that this combination usually produces was not quite there. The quality of the wings made this sauce pretty good regardless, but it was nowhere near as good as the buffalo ranch.

The ten wings were $12, which is not very expensive, but certainly not the best deal I have gotten this semester. The Library had an impressive offering that is close to the top of the list. The buffalo ranch sauce was great and along with the wings that were so finely crafted it made for a meal that was a huge success.