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All about TVs, beer and politeness

SANTA FE, N.M. — You might well ask why any self-respecting restaurant reviewer would waste column inches on the likes of a vast national franchise like, say, Buffalo Wild Wings.

First, that question assumes more self-esteem than I may possess. And second, even the most casual reader will have noticed by now that I am not a “food writer” or “food critic,” but someone who loves restaurant-going and acknowledges that food is an important part of that experience, but is not the only thing and sometimes not even the most important matter.

To answer the first question; To review or not to review? Why not? Our editorial motto has always been something along the lines of “None shall lack opportunity!” And if we are to live up to our “small D democratic” ideals, we cannot discriminate.

The Buffalo Wild Wings television ads during the recently concluded NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were cute and seductive.

And what with all the sports events on recently and the NCAA men’s finals Monday night, we decided to head on over, and glad we did.

To be sure, the main draw at BWW (or “B-Dubs” as they annoyingly call themselves) is adult beverage plus televised sports, two of the staples of our diet, and evidently we are not alone. The place is jammed for the finals already in progress and you can hear the TV broadcast from the parking lot. Inside, two vast rooms pulse with activity, kids running around, shouts and cheering, and with every television of every size tuned to one thing only – The Game – the effect is positively North Korean.

Having been in a BWW only once before, we vividly recalled that the beer was cold and when told “Thank you very much,” the lovely waitress replied “You are very welcome.” I doubled her tip for not replying “Not a problem.”

Monday night, almost a decade later, when the lovely waitress brought me my pint and was told “Thank you,” she replied “You are most welcome.” The only place we have heard the proper response to “thank you” in almost a decade has been at two “B-Dubs” approximately 750 miles apart.

Again, we digress, but only to put off the inevitable, unavoidable mention of food. How does one begin? Well, the waitresses’ manners were far superior to the fare. To whit, the Crispy Jumbo Shrimp ($10.95) were neither crispy nor jumbo, but rather a plate of little brown things sort of stuck together in clumps. With cocktail sauce.

How about six boneless chicken wings for $4, the big special? How can you go wrong? Even with Asian sauce glaze and blue cheese dip, you can. Perhaps 6 wingless bones would be better? Finally, unable to eat much so far (but another pint for the second half, please), we went for some Street Tacos ($6.95), three mini flour tortillas with cubes of dry “garlic-tossed” grilled chicken, house-made pico de gallo and a startling spicy southwestern ranch dressing.

A foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of small minds, but it is the bread and butter of megacorporations. Just ask McDonald’s, or B-Dubs. Deliver the same product every day, from Jakarta to Jersey City, bad or good, and you got a gold mine.

The voice of the people is the voice of God, as the Whigs once said in Latin, and B-Dubs has it goin’ on. Ok, so the food is not so good. Who cares? The pints are perfect, there’s more sports on more TVs this side of a casino, and the waitresses know how to reply to a “Thank you.”

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