Monday, September 3, 2012

Ask for extra sauce at Wings Tap and Grill

Wings Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon One pound of wings here is $8.18 (slightly less if you order more) and works out to be about 11 wings, or about 74 cents per wing. If this is too painful for you old timers who remember 25-cent wing nights in the '90s, you can try their Sunday night 47 cent wings.
This said, I don't want to make it sound like Wings is a pricey place for wings. It's just a sigh over inflation.

Wings has several locations, and the Burnaby one near Highgate is a sports bar style pub with patio and easy parking. I went on a late-ish Friday night and it was pretty busy. There's generous booth seating as well as round tables that can be booked for larger groups. If you're not into sports, you can go for one of the bigger against-the-wall cushioned booths that has two rows of seating between you and the TVs mounted above the bar.

There are many flavours of wings here, and with varying degrees of spiciness. Flavours like Greek, Chicago, Tokyo, Thai and others means you can assemble a wings-from-around-the-world experience if you wanted to. And besides, one pound of wings where between half and a third of the volume is bone (hey, that's just the truth) means you probably need three to four pounds of the stuff to be full if you're eating just wings (and two pounds plus tax plus tip comes out to about $20)..

I went with Bula Fiji (chopped chilies and garlic), and Canadian Maple (maple syrup with a hint of bourbon). One dip for free with your order, but this seemed a bit silly to me because the wings are already supposed to be flavoured, so I gave that option a pass.
For drinks, I opted for an orange juice. $3.65! Argh!

  • Bula Fiji wings
    • Deep fried wings + cold condiment = lukewarm wings. That's just reality and nothing the server can do about it. Don't expect piping hot wings here.
    • This came lightly tossed in the "rub" -- a wet mix of chopped up chilies and raw garlic. With so much red and whole chili seeds you'd expect this to be spicy, but I had whole teaspoons of just the rub and it barely registered. And it's on the upper third of the Wings "heat-o-meter"!
    • Garlicky, but not overwhelmingly so. A safe choice if you like garlic but don't want to stun anyone with your breath afterwards.
    • The main problem with this order is that the chopped up chilies and garlic fall off the wings. And without it, you get just deep fried chicken (done without any flavoured batter, so the result is tasteless chicken). Watch for this and maybe ask for a spoon as well to get at the condiments.
    • Curiously, the order came with a pile of the chili-and-garlic rub in a clump. I had my suspicions at the time about a lazy kitchen, but I wasn't sure and kept it to myself. In any case, even after those ran out, I still had a half order of wings, only now without anything to go with them. The waitress came to check on me, and I was basically embarrassed to explain that there wasn't any more flavour to my wings. She offered to bring more of the Bula Fiji rub plus utensils to get at it instead of having to use my fingers or trying to scoop it out with a wing.
    • Anyway, this turned out to be quite disappointing, but it might be because my spiciness-resistant palate that can handle hot curries found this really bland.
  • Canadian Maple wings
    • This was my second order and attempt number 2 to get something interesting out of the menu. I didn't want to do something safe like honey garlic, and the idea of a hint of bourbon here was intriguing.
    • The wings came really hot this time. Definitely hot enough to still be crispy on the outside. Problem was, of the 8 wings I had (out of 11), only 3 had just a HINT of maple syrup taste to it. Either the kitchen flubbed this or their standardized portions on condiments were really cheap-ass. Either way, it was profoundly disappointing.
    • The server came to check and maybe because I was really disappointed over the last few outings and had built-up frustration, I gently explained that I gave it a really good go (sampling 8 out of 11 wings) but the wings were basically flavourless. She offered to get me more of the rub they used on it (DOH! -- Why did I think of that before?). It turned out the dry rub was a fine, sweet powder that the wings are tossed it. I guess maybe they didn't use enough of it. And it's sort of hard to tell how much you've used because it dissolves very quickly on contact with the wings. Anyway, I put a goodly amount on each of the remaining wings, and that kind of salvaged the order.
Overall the flavours are interesting, but definitely don't be shy about asking for extra rub or sauce or whatever on your wings to make sure you get enough on each wing. It didn't cost any extra.

I was very surprised when the bill came because the server had spoken with the manager about my disappointment and she managed to get one pound of wings taken off the bill. I was startled and asked her if the difference would be coming out of her pay. She insisted that it wouldn't, and that the restaurant had a small fund set aside for situations like this. I put down a 30% tip for my very attentive and considerate server.

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