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Candlelight Inn

519 Central Park Ave., Scarsdale, NY - (914) 472-9706
Posted By Michael Stern on 1/31/2010 9:12:00 AM
One of the swankiest towns in the United States, Scarsdale is best known to the population at large for the Scarsdale Diet, whose creator, Dr. Herman Tarnower, was killed by his mistress, Jean Harris, leading to a media-circus trial that lasted two-and-a-half months starting in late 1980. To lovers of chicken wings, Scarsdale is more famous for the Candlelight Inn, an extremely non-swanky bar that makes a specialty of Buffalo wings in degrees of hotness ranging from mild to Chernobyl.

There is a large menu of other things to eat, including nice-looking hamburgers and decent French fries (here known as Freedom Fries), sandwiches and wraps, but wings are the main attraction, and it was wings that I and two fellow foodies sampled at lunch: hot, teriyaki and barbecue. They are big ones with a lot of meat, arriving with the drumette and bow still attached to each other, ten double pieces in each small-size order. We all agreed that the barbecue wasn't too interesting and the teriyaki wings were alright, but hot was compelling. In fact, hot wasn't really all that hot (next time I'm going for extra hot), but enough to generate a pleasant lip tingle; and I was most impressed that they deliver an energetic pepper flavor that was independent of the heat. Candlelight wings have formidable crunch to their skin and are big enough that the juicy meat is easy to retrieve in satisfying strips and pieces. Paper cups of blue cheese dressing (or alternative ranch) provide the classic creamy balance and celery stalks are a crisp veggie respite from all that succulent, fat-imbued chicken skin.

The place is tiny: a small bar room with overhead TVs and an attached dining room with about a dozen tables. We arrived at 1:30pm and were seated promptly, but at peak mealtimes or on game days, the Candlelight wing wait is legendary.

House policies of special note: cash only, no reservations (sign up on the wait list when you arrive), local delivery available; and the kitchen stays open until 3am.

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Scorecard

3 - Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Wings (small order)
Freedom Fries
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Hot, but not too. The choices are: mild, hot, extra-hot and Chernobyl. I'm going for extra-hot next time, but Chernobyl is scary. (A dining companion rhetorically wondered why the super-hot ones weren't named Indian Point after the local nuclear plant.)
"Hot, but not too. The choices are: mild, hot, extra-hot and Chernobyl. I'm going for extra-hot next time, but Chernobyl is scary. (A dining companion rhetorically wondered why the super-hot ones weren't named Indian Point after the local nuclear plant.)"
Michael Stern





Barbecue-flavored wings are pretty, but would benefit from a more exciting barbecue sauce.
"Barbecue-flavored wings are pretty, but would benefit from a more exciting barbecue sauce."
Michael Stern


A close view of a sauced wing gives some idea of why wings are so popular. The irresistible combo of chicken fat and fat used to fry it -- both contained in every chewy-crunchy bite of skin -- is so well abetted by the hot glaze in which they are enveloped.
"A close view of a sauced wing gives some idea of why wings are so popular. The irresistible combo of chicken fat and fat used to fry it -- both contained in every chewy-crunchy bite of skin -- is so well abetted by the hot glaze in which they are enveloped."
Michael Stern


With a specialty of chicken wings, Candlelight Inn knows its way around a fry kettle. While these crinkle-cuts are nothing surprising, they are expertly cooked to a point of addictive crispness. Gravy is available, as is cheese, but I wouldn't want to minimize these spuds' good crunch. (Note: this bowl arrived brimful, but I forgot to take a picture until halfway through.)
"With a specialty of chicken wings, Candlelight Inn knows its way around a fry kettle. While these crinkle-cuts are nothing surprising, they are expertly cooked to a point of addictive crispness. Gravy is available, as is cheese, but I wouldn't want to minimize these spuds' good crunch. (Note: this bowl arrived brimful, but I forgot to take a picture until halfway through.)"
Michael Stern


The sign-up sheet determines who is next in line for one of Candlelight Inn's precious tables.
"The sign-up sheet determines who is next in line for one of Candlelight Inn's precious tables."
Michael Stern


This is the sort of restaurant you could pass by dozens of times and never even wonder if it's worth going in. The rugged plainness makes it all the more appealing to the connoisseur of unpretentious eateries that serve something special.
"This is the sort of restaurant you could pass by dozens of times and never even wonder if it's worth going in. The rugged plainness makes it all the more appealing to the connoisseur of unpretentious eateries that serve something special."
Michael Stern



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