Reality Bites: WINGS

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Published  October 2015

antigravity_vol13_issue10_Page_08_Image_0001When I told friends that I’d be reviewing wings this month, almost everyone asked if I was going to Hooters (and everyone who asked also wanted to go with me). Y’all, just go to Hooters if you want to go! And then they all said, “But Tan Dinh is going to win, right?” You’ll have to read on to find out!

 

Munch Factory (6325 Elysian Fields Ave.) Munch Factory reminds me of a locally-owned Applebee’s, and I’m not even throwing shade. It’s a relatively cute little family restaurant that serves American classic cuisine, but they do it really well. I ordered the “Munchin Wings” with buffalo sauce (the only options were buffalo or barbecue and I think barbecue as a flavor is weird if you’re not actually barbecuing the item in question). The wings themselves were perfectly fried and the buffalo sauce tasted homemade, even if it wasn’t. The sauce was served on the side, so this could be a good option if, like me, you feel like flavored wings are usually too wet. 8/10 Instances of Accidentally Ordering Munchkin Wings Because You Read The Menu Wrong

 

Wing Snack (759 N. Claiborne Ave.) I was super excited to try Wing Snack: they have a solid reputation, are conveniently located, and have lots of options. I went with a friend and tried four flavors. There’s no point in telling you what they were, because they were unilaterally awful. All of the wings were soggy, dripping with sauces that tasted either like straight-up mayonnaise, or old vinegar. Making matters worse, they were slightly cold. These wings have literally no redeeming qualities—I can’t understand what people see in them! The much ballyhoo-ed Ghetto Punch tastes exactly like the overly sweet fruit punch that comes in gallons, and you only ever see at children’s birthday parties. No thanks, Wing Snack. No thanks. 0/10 Redeeming Qualities

 

Hooters (various locations) I’d never been to a Hooters before this, but I understood the concept, of course: busty ladies in ‘80s athletic gear serve you wings and beer. I know that it’s going to sound stupid, but I really struggled with going there. I was positive the whole experience was going to be uncomfortable and anxiety- inducing. But how could I talk about wings intelligently without even trying it? I invited a large group of friends who bravely accompanied me to the Hooters in Metairie. All but one of us were Hooters virgins. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. The décor is typical sports bar, but with bikini babe calendars strewn about. The waitress, immediately sizing us up as a table of folks who were absolutely not ogling her in any fashion, was polite but not “flirty,” which I’d read online was the Hooters girl thing. We did watch her expertly work over an overgrown frat boy in an all LSU ensemble. Here’s hoping he tipped her well for her time. There’s a good selection of wings, so I tried several types. The hot wings taste like hot wings everywhere taste—spicy and vinegary—but not much else is going on with them. “Hot” is never my favorite wing flavor. The chipotle honey were sweet and hot, which is way more fun than just hot. At first bite, I thought they were just sugary, but an after note of heat hit me, and didn’t let up. The naked wings are hella boring. On the downside, the French fries were cold and unsalted. I don’t think I’ll ever darken Hooters doorstep again, but I’m glad I conquered my fear, and ate some okay wings—even though I chickened out (pun intended) of buying a Hooters tank top. 7/10 Overgrown Frat Boys

 

Oxalis (3162 Dauphine St.) Oxalis is kind of fancy, and I figured I needed to throw at least one semi-“nice” option into the wing mix. I’m not entirely clear on Oxalis’ schtick: the menu has a couple salads, a few Asian options, a burger, popcorn, pickles, etc. What is their angle? Anyway, I ordered the Korean wings, which seemed like a promising twist on hot wings. I love Korean food and was expecting good things. Holy shmoly. These were hot and really sweet, overwhelmingly both at once. I couldn’t even finish the plate, as they tasted sort of like eating a mix of honey and chili paste that had been haphazardly slathered on otherwise milquetoast chicken. I’m a total glutton, so if I can’t even finish a plate of wings, you know it’s a bad sign. I’m giving them one point out of warm feelings about the atmosphere. This would be a fun and romantic date spot, just order something else. 1/10 Disappointed Gluttons

 

antigravity_vol13_issue10_Page_08_Image_0002ManChu (1413 N. Claiborne Ave.) Shout out to my coworker who always brings ManChu to our lunchtime meetings! ManChu wings are a New Orleans legend, and rightly so. No frills, perfectly fried, perfectly seasoned, and oh-so-cheap. I’ve never tried the barbecue flavor for the reasons I mentioned above, but the original flavor wings are so good it doesn’t matter. I wish there were more flavor options, but in the end, that’s all I can fault them with. They’ve also propagated my strange comfort food obsession with eating fried chicken wings on top of shrimp fried rice. 9/10 Frills

 

Winn-Dixie (various locations) I don’t expect much from $5-a-pound wings from the grocery store, and for the most part, Winn-Dixie wings aren’t much to talk about. I’m mainly mentioning these because the Teriyaki is surprisingly good: sweet, tangy, and with just the tiniest hint of spiciness (which is exactly what some old woman who was hovering near the chicken wings told me). If you need to show up to a potluck in 15 minutes, there are far worse things you could bring than a bucket of these babies. 4.5/10 Cute Old Ladies

 

Buffalo Wild Wings (various locations) My guess is that people don’t go to Buffalo Wild Wings for the décor—or for socializing with their friends, apparently. There’s literally a t.v. at every single booth, making conversation strangely irrelevant. So the wings must be banging, right? And, all things considered, they’re not bad. I tried the garlic parmesan, hot, teriyaki, and lemon pepper. I wanted Thai curry, but they were out! Garlic parmesan was weird: it tasted like a pasta dish, but on a piece of fried chicken. Hot tasted like hot. Teriyaki was very sweet, kind of soggy, but overall okay. Lemon pepper was the surprise favorite: it was actually complex! The first bite was almost nothing, just chicken, but as I kept going, the pepper started bursting, and the lemon was bright and exciting. I didn’t expect to enjoy these as much as I did. On a side note, don’t bother with the appetizers here. 7/10 Bursting Peppers

 

Tan Dinh (1705 Lafayette St., Gretna) Tan Dinh has three flavor options: garlic butter, lemongrass, or tamarind. They’re all great. The garlic butter is maybe the most traditional sounding flavor, but it’s not what you expect: visible bits of garlic are stuck to the chicken! The lemongrass is my least favorite, but I know I’m in the minority because whenever I go to Tan Dinh, at least one member of my party orders that option. For me, the lemongrass is just too overpowering. The tamarind is my absolute favorite, but then, as this investigation revealed to me, I apparently love the sweet flavors best! I guess I always knew that about myself, deep in my subconscious, but now it’s been brought to the forefront. Sweet, slightly spicy wings are the best! And the tamarind delivers like no other. The sweetness has a complexity that other wing sauces seem to lack. I think we all knew Tan Dinh was going to sweep this category, but I had to give the other places a shot, right? 10/10 Sure Things

 

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