First stop on my Birthday Feast for 2011 was the Tara Inn. I have heard about this place and its good wings for a long time, however it being out in Scarborough, I have never been able to get out there to try. But since I was headed to Ottawa and had a car, I decided now was the time.
There are actually two Tara Inn's: I don't know which came first or how different they are. The one I went to is on Kingston road, dead centre of a strip mall. It has its own patio, but it was too rainy on this Thursday for anyone to enjoy. I went inside and was surprised at how empty it was. The restaurant was split with the main bar on a lower level to the right, and the 'dining' area to the left.
I tried to make eye contact with the waitress/bartender Melanie, but she was tending bar where all the other patrons were sitting. I went to the left for some solitude and to be able to review. I sat in the big front window. I waited for a few minutes, concerned that I wasn't seen, but eventually she did make her way over.
Before long I had a beverage, and then shortly I had my post-wing clean up. Wing bowl, napkins, moist towelettes, and something I have never seen a wing place do, but all should, a tooth pick! How many times have I had a little piece of chicken stuck in the teeth and wished I had a toothpick. Now I just needed my wings.
The wings come in an interesting ordering pattern. You can order wings either by the number (5, 10, 20) or by pound. I don't know why, but there it is.
Above is a glorious order of 10 wings that they split into two sauce orders ( a lot of places won`t split). The wings were nice and wet, with more of the sauce prevalent on the BBQ than the Hot.
On the side were celery sticks and some ranch to dip. Crunchy celery. Bottled ranch.
The size of these wings were impressive. These were jumbo wings. I mean long, big wings. Sometimes when a place has jumbo wings the chicken is mutant and rubbery and not good. Not here my good friends, this was a well cooked wing. And crispy skin. Deep fried to perfection.
I went with hot as a good base sauce. The hot was traditional cayenne based hot sauce. The sauce absorbed into the skin but the wings did not get soggy.
The taste was bang on for a good hot wing. Nothing crazy - just good. Hot was not, sadly.
Contrary to what I wrote in the above picture, this was a Hickory BBQ. And boy did it have a hickory smoked flavour.
Dark, smokey with a hint of sweet. This was a good BBQ sauce.
Killer stuff? Not so much. But it did have a nice kick. It was a different sauce from the regular 'hot' - more vinegary, but much more peppery. The taste was ok - but I wasn't too keen to do extra dipping.
THE SCORE: I had heard the hype about the wings, and I was not disappointed. Jumbo crispy wings in tasty sauces. Hot was good. BBQ was good. Suicide, spicy but not great. And there were quite a few flavours to boot. If you want near perfect wings, Tara Inn is the place to go. A great way to start off my gluttonous weekend. 8.5/10
The Tara Inn: Irish Pub & Restaurant
2365 Kingston Road, Toronto (Scarborough) ON