Saturday, 5 July 2008

WILD WING RESTAURANTS: Ottawa




There's a chain on the prowl and it serves one thing: wings. Wild Wings, in fact. This Canadian born chain of wing-themed restaurants are spreading across the province, with many more on the way. The Ottawa Citizen even did an article on WINGS , trying to find the best in the capital, (HERE they really liked St Louis, which gives me doubts to their judging ability) and specifically one on WILD WINGS, discussing how they serve Canadian chicken that is not frozen, and done quite well in their opinion.





I actually checked out the Donald location here in Ottawa about a year ago - but the photos, the review info and more have been lost. So, I had to pick up my boots and head back. But this time, I went to the South Ottawa location. Hidden in a small plaza in the middle of suburban homes, this place was pretty busy on a Friday night, but not so busy that I felt awkward siting solo.

The decor inside has a wild west saloon theme to it - wood paneling, cowboy memorabilia - but even a neon palm tree that sits in the middle of the eatery (you can see it in the photo below) doesn't seem out of place in this tacky but fun environment. It's family friendly (with a lot of the patrons I noticed they had small children/babies) but the young and elderly come here to for wings and beer too. Flat screens are all over showing various sports events, and the staff, at least my waitress Dominique, was very friendly, attentive, and willing to answer any questions I had.




This chain is truly about wings. At each table is a tool box caddy stuffed with everything a wing eater needs: roll of paper towel (as much as you need!), wetnaps, wing bucket, ketchup/vinegar/salt & pepper for fries and even a couple of bottles of hot sauce in case the sauce on your wings isn't enough.

The two sauces at my tables include Lime Ricky, and Arizona Heat. I was going to do a sauce review on these sauces, but A) I don't know if they are commercially available for purchase, and B) They weren't that great, so I didn't bother.

The Lime Ricky's first ingredient was lime juice, which definitely came out in the flavour, but begs poorly for a hot sauce. The taste was basically a lime-Tabasco sauce. As for the Arizona Heat, it was a Tabasco and butter flavour. I wouldn't use either on wings. I wouldn't really use either for anything to be honest.


But enough of these bottled sauces, on to the wings!

2008 THE SCORE 3.0: Wild Wing ~ Ottawa (South location)

STYLE:

breaded, deep fried

PRICE:

$8.98 for 10 (one flavour)

$17.36 for 20 (one flavour)

$24.98 for 30 (one flavour)

$32.58 for 40 (two flavours)
and on and on . . .

SAUCES:

101 flavours to choose from – I had

  • Ketchup chip
  • Wild
  • Bubba’s Backfire

1/1

HEAT:

For all the ‘warning flames’, wild wasn’t that hot

SIZE:

large

2/3

WETNAP FACTOR:

Wet for the sauced wings

2/3

CRISPINESS:

Very crispy, good crunch

3/3

FLAVOUR:

Good – but each sauce is different

2/3

SIDES:

Veggies, no dip, and veggies didn’t come with every order despite menu saying otherwise

.5/3

CLEAN UP:

Paper towels, wetnaps, wing bucket - everything

3/3

WING NIGHT:

No – but lunches are $4.95 for 5 wings & fries

.5/1

OTHER:

Patio, hot sauce at table, free refills on Pepsi

TOTAL:

Lots to choose from, but lacks in personal touch with bottled sauces

14/20






So the chicken itself. The wings are all pretty uniformly large in size. According to the article, these are fresh wings, and I'll be honest, they were meaty, white and cooked well making me believe they are fresh. The breading added a nice crunch to the wings. They weren't the biggest, but they were done well. They also came out piping hot - so much so I had to wait for them to cool down to try. So they could be cooked right, lets see about the sauces.


WILD: These are billed as their hottest wings at 6 flames - but they were not the hottest I've had by far. Its a drier heat - in that they don't really strike at you, but burn long and slow. The flavour was ok, but it really didn't hit what I wanted in a 'suicide' wing. Not a great flavour, not a painfull heat. The sauce was also not very wet - I almost get the feeling that they don't think I (or people in general) could handle it and didn't sauce it as much as they could have.



KETCHUP: This is one of their "Feeling Chippy" chip flavoured seasonings. The wings are deep fried naked, then tossed in the chip seasoning. Now I love ketchup chips, and Dominique personally recommended these. So did I like these wings? Kinda. The concept is great, but the flavour turned out to be really weak. There was lots of ketchup 'dusting', but the plain (but tasty) wing itself overpowered the seasoning. But a winning idea for sure.



BUBBA'S BACKFIRE: This is one of their 'Frankenstein' mixtures of various other sauces combined together - this one being BBQ & Frank's Extra Hot. This was a good wing flavour to end the night off with, partly because they were very saucy, but I love a good spicy BBQ. Sure the sauce was pretty generic (you can make it at home, plain BBQ and Frank's Extra Hot!) but it was good.


FINAL SCORE: I'm happy to see not only a Canadian chain rise up, but one that is wing focused. My complaints are: bottled sauces instead of making their own, inconsistency of side veggies (and no dip), and no wing night! (how can you have a wing place and no wing night?). The pros: well cooked wings, lots of flavours to choose from (even if they are commercial sauces), and you gotta love the wing accessory caddy. So definitely worth checking out, but will never replace a great local non-chain wing. 14/20




Wild Wings Restaurants
3320 McCarthy Road,
Ottawa (South) and other locations
wildwingrestaurants.com



Click HERE to go to an update on sauces

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live nearby and recently saw this location featured on Undercover Boss Canada. This location is closed now and with good reason. Don't get me wrong, it was fine when it opened but with the constant menu changes (for the worse) and deplorably rude service, that's what happens.

It's too bad really because the food was alright but I noticed there was never anyone there after some time. That's what happens when your entire staff consists of airhead teenagers with zero customer service experience that think it's okay to bring their bad attitude to work. Hope the CEO keeps things in check or I won't be the least bit surprised when the other locations close.

Lord of the Wings said...

@Anonymous - I hear you. It's unfortunate, and I saw that episode just today - I think it speaks volumes about the franchisees in general. Too bad.

Ethan Smith said...
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