Saturday, August 16, 2014

Eating Out: Fresh Brothers in Newport Beach

By Dru Chai

I love buffalo wings. Whenever I'm at a restaurant or bar, I always look for buffalo wings on the menu. And yes, I'm that guy who goes after the drumstick first. One of the things I look for in a good chicken wing is the texture -- Is it soggy or crispy? Is it meaty or skimpy? Sometimes, you have to sacrifice one over the other and it's a major let down.

I recently checked out the grand opening of Fresh Brothers in Newport Beach, the chain's first location in Orange County. They have a dozen LA locations under their belt, and I knew they served pizza, but what really intrigued me were the "pizza AND wings" part of their tagline. I immediately dove right in.

Fresh Brothers' buffalo wings comes in various flavors, and I tried both the sweet chili and the "super hot" flavored wings. The sweet chili wings had an ever-so-slight kick finish, just enough to offset the overall sweetness. The sauce reminded me of this popular sweet chili Thai sauce, used most often as a dipping sauce for egg rolls or spring rolls.

As spicy food lover, I knew that I had to see what the "super hot" wings were all about. There's no habanero or ghost chili, so the Scoville scale rating isn't off the charts, but the wings give off a slow burn. I liked it -- especially paired with bleu cheese (or Ranch dressing, for all you bleu cheese haters). On a spicy scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hottest -- I'd rate these wings at a 6.

What I liked about Fresh Brothers' buffalo wings is that they're baked, not fried. Surprisingly, there was a good amount of exterior crisp to the wings -- obviously not entirely super crispy if they were deep-fried. But hey, it's a bit healthier. I also liked how the wings were meaty, and not the super skimpy and boney kind. I don't want to be eating skinny chicken wings, that's for sure.

Another one of their popular appetizers are the meatball sliders. The meatball is super tender -- made with a blend of beef and pork, topped with crispy mozzarella cheese, sandwiched in between a King's Hawaiian sweet roll. The crispy cheese is what sets this apart. Crispy cheese is awesome. This world needs more CRISPY CHEESE.

Fresh Brothers' standard pizza reminds me a bit like Pizza Hut or Domino's, which isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on your taste buds and audience. But there's definitely a lot more variety and choices in customizing your pizza -- like gluten-free, thin crust, vegetarian options, etc. Options are an absolute must for a family or large kid party where everyone is picky. And with wall-to-wall TV coverage inside, everyone is sure to find something good to watch as well.

Fresh Brothers
1616 San Miguel Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92625