Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review Roundtable: 3 Wing Circus!!!

Well, we are now deep into Football season and Hockey Season is almost a month old. And in my, and a lot of sports fans' minds, nothing goes better with sports than ice cold beer and chicken wings.  The wings can be buffalo, barbecue or simply salt and peppered.  But whatever is the case, an order of wings while watching the game at a sports bar or at home on the flat screen is good eating.

A typical foodie would head straight to the wing places, but why should you always go to Hooter's, Wingstop, Wing Zone or Buffalo Wild Wings every time?  I decided that rather than go to wing places, I i went to three places where I have eaten and I have reviewed in the past that are very good at other dishes, but also have good wings. So I hit up a Barbecue Joint, a Pan-Asian restaurant, and a Thai restaurant that I already have rated well: Pappa's BBQ, House of Bowls and Tony Thai.  Those reviews can be found here, here and here.

So without further ado, here are your chicken wing blueprints:

Pappas Wings
House of Bowls
Tony Wings
Pappa's BBQ slow smoked buffalo or BBQ wings:
Slow smoked chicken wings
spun in buffalo or Pappa's barbecue Sause
Only served Saturdays and Sundays
Limited Time only

House of Bowls "Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings":
Breaded and deep fried chicken wings
Seasoned with salt, pepper, chopped green onions 
Sold as an appetizer.  

Tony Thai "Tony Wings":
seasoned, breaded, deep fried chicken wings 
garnished with chopped green onions, cabbage & cilantro
covered with sweet and spicy Tony Thai sauce

Pappa's BBQ slow smoked wings are very tasty.  The wings are non-breaded, and have a smoke ring (pinkish tint) in the outer part of the meat.  The buffalo wing sauce tastes like Tobasco sauce mixed with butter and the wings are thoroughly covered.  The first bite is spicy and the smoke shows up in the finish.  The barbecue wings start off smokey, the sauce itself is very sweet--tastes like the sauce they use in their chopped beef sandwich and glaze on their ribs--but finishes with a strong note of black pepper.  They're both good and if the Pappas family would take my advice:  PUT THEM ON THE MENU FULL TIME.

House of Bowls wings are better if you do not care for spicy or saucy wings.  Although the wings are deep fried, the cooks clearly drain them properly as they do not have a greasy taste or residue when eaten fresh or after a short drive home.  The salt, pepper and onions dominate the flavour, but I did detect a hint of garlic and ginger in the seasoning as well, but it was rather faint.  The breading is crispy but not overly so and the wings are VERY MEATY, making this a good value for the price, in my opinion.

Tony Thai's Tony Wings are one of my favourite appetizers around.  But they are great with a cold beer, whether you like Sam Adams, Molson Canadian or Corona with them.  The breading is thick, but is very, very crunchy.  The sauce reminds me a bit of Mae Ploy sauce, but is a little thicker and spicier.  The veggies intermingled and garnished on them are well plated in the restaurant, but also travel well if you live close to one of the Two Tony Thai restaurants.  Of the four types of wings/three restaurants I sampled, these were the spiciest and had the most flavour.  Even without the sauce, the meat has clearly been marinated in a mix of seasonings that include ginger, garlic, clove, cumin and some others I cannot discern.  I would like them a little better if they had an unbreaded option, but as they are, they are still very good and a clear winner.

Each of these places had an order of 6 wings for under $8.00 and I had them side by side.  So my report card grades are as follows:

Tony Wings:  A+
Pappas Buffalo Wings: A
Pappas BBQ Wings: A
House of Bowls Salt and Pepper Wings: A-

So, enjoy Hockey and football season and give these three restaurants wings a try, or stay there and order a full meal with those wings as an appetizer!

And remember:
Eat Happy!!!
Zao an, Ya'll!!!

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