Saturday, 19 January 2008

The CROWN & DRAGON ~ Toronto, On

Yeah Friday!!! Work is done, time for fun! Plans were set in motion long before to get together with Nee & Razor once again, and I think we were all excited to do a wing review. (Please Note, due to security reasons, N&R will not be appearing in the blog tonight. But they are there. Really!) But how many places are there really left to review in Downtown Toronto? I did a quick scan via the Interweb, when I came across a pub I had not heard of, let alone for their wing prowess. The Crown & Dragon (C&D). I did some readings, and several people said to try their wings. So I sent out the call about this slightly North of Bloor pub.

Nestled in an office tower, Nee and I barely noticed this cozy little pub. Outside, they announced that they were the place to be for wings. We shall see. Inside, Rayzor met us in this traditional Canadian British Pub; dark wood panelling, sports and old-English paraphernalia, loud music and the game on TV.

There was a mixed crowd of young and old inside. Behind us the older crew had asked the waitress to turn the music down, mocking how they couldn't hear themselves talk. This is how I know I'm not old yet; I still can handle loud rock, but I'm not so young I don't criticize kids these days and how they aren't as good as we were when we were young.

Our waitress was "prompt and courteous" and very informative. I questioned her on everything from wing nights to most popular flavours. She said described her favourite (Honeycomb Heaven) as 'delicious', which is something Nee noted as a positive 'foodie' speak, rather than just 'good'. She mentioned Viva Italia, Dragon's Breath and Key West BBQ as some of the most ordered favourites amongst the wings. I want to note that I really appreciate C&D's menu for actually describing their sauces. Yes there are a lot of sauces with cute names, but C&D is one of the few 'big-sauce-list' places that actually tell you what you are ordering. Thank you.

Nee, not of fan of wings herself (we won't get into this. But she is more than happy to come out for wings with others, so ya.) ordered after much debate, the Dragon Club. Grilled, real chicken breast, bacon, cheddar served on francese bun made a standard sandwich into a gourmet delight. Nee substituted regular potato for sweet potato fries, that were STALKS, not sticks. They were massively crunchy and a wonderful flavour. An extra dipping sauce came out, which seemed to match the description of the Asian Heat wings, that Nee did not appreciate. I didn't mind it, but I wouldn't order it on my own.

Ray was just as excited about ordering wings, and we spent a bit of time strategizing the number, and the sauces. There was so much to choose from. We made a plan, trying to get the Game Night Special. We asked the waitress if there was a game on. She didn't know and asked us if there was. We didn't know. We tried to stress our curiosity was for the special not a game itself. She went to see. Apparently the Raptors were playing, but that we couldn't see the game where we were sitting. That's ok, as long as we get our wings.

2008 THE SCORE 3.0: CROWN & DRAGON ~ Toronto


Deep fried, baked, grilled, dusted,


$8.95 for 1lbs

$16.50 for 2lbs

$24.25 for 3lbs

$30 for 4lbs

Bigger Platters available, just ask


27 different flavours!!! We ordered:

  • Dragon’s Breath
  • Foghorn Leghorn
  • Holy Habenero
  • The Traditionals HOT
  • Key West BBQ

See HERE for other flavours



Hot was not (really a mild).

Dragon’s breath had a nice bite

Holy Habenero (the hottest) was nottest. Less hot than Dragon’s Breath


Large-Jumbo. While it seemed it might just be the dusting, the un-dusted flavours were big



About a 2, some wings and some sauces were wetter than others. Also, the dusting soaked some up.



A nice crisp texture



The chicken itself was good, and the sauces varied.



Veggies & dip (sour cream type dip)

You can add:
garden salad - $4.99

Caesar salad - $5.99

Orange & goat salad - $7.25



Normally they have wetnaps, but they were out so they said we could have as many napkins to compensate. No wing bowl and really only our eating plate to dispense bones.



3!!! Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday 1/2 price – bonus point for extra wing nights!

AND the Game Special: 2lbs of wings & 1 pitcher of domestic beer for $25 on Toronto game night (I have never been so happy for a Raptor game)



They serve Coke, but no free refills


Good – there is room for sauce improvement but it should only get better from here


Our first batch came out. Immediately I could tell this was going to be a good night. I wish I didn't have to take photos, letting precious seconds go by that weren't eating wings. First impressions: big wings with a bit of dusting. The chicken itself tasted great, but what about the sauces?

TRADITIONAL HOT: The traditional flavour is described as "medium or HOT buffalo style" with 1, 2, or 3 dragons indicating heat. 2 problems with this statement: Hot was not, "a mild at best" Rayzor said. Also, traditional Buffalo does not have breading on the wings. That being said, its mild flavour was nice, but I want something with waaaaaay more kick. Not just heat, the flavour was weak. But a tasty wing none-the-less.

KEY WEST BBQ: This sauce was also really weak. There was no lime, smokey or sultry hickory flavour to it all. Again, not a bad sauce, but there was nothing bold about this BBQ. Very mute taste that needed something to kick it up a notch or 5. Definitely for someone with no tolerance of heat. I like the concept, but hurt me just a little.

After we tore through the first 2 pounds, we decided it was only right to order more. And to get a good sampling we were going to really need 3 more lbs.

HOLY HABANERO: Deemed their hottest sauce, this 'salsa' slightly spread over plain wings was rated at 4 dragons. Let me tell you, not 4 dragons at all. It was sweet, yet it said it was supposed to be a "hot and smokey flavour". For me, the most disappointing wings. Not hot, not great, not much sauce.

DRAGON'S BREATH: My favourite wings of the night. Spicy, lots of flavour, and crisp. They mark it at 3 dragons, but this was the hottest wing we tried (a hot, no hot enough to be a suicide). The most hot, the most flavour. And they say they created it by accident, way to go.

FOGHORN LEGHORN: "That's a wing... I say I say that's a wing, son" Named after the Southern cartoon chicken, this flavour of wing is marinated, then baked then grilled. It tasted like a roasted chicken. I was not a fan of the texture of the skin, finding it not crisp at all, but it was a nice deviation from the traditional wing. More grilling would fix the framework of these , I say I say.

FINAL SCORE: I was pleasantly surprised at the Crown & Dragon. As Rayzor said, it was "worth revisiting", and I agree. They haven't been doing the specialty sauces for very long, so I think there is still room for improvement in the heat department, considering they advertise the wings outside as being "hot". But the size alone and the quality of chicken itself, the perfect deep fry and the numerous options, your sure to find a good one in there somewhere. It's good to see there are more places to explore wings in Toronto. Thumbs up.

PS: Thanks for the Restaurant Review book and Dinner ~ You guys rock!!!

The Crown & Dragon
890 Yonge Street, Toronto

Click HERE for more photos, dessert and the wing sauce menu

Click HERE to go to the 2010 Updated Review

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