A couple of weeks ago I went on a personal field trip out to Etobicoke. See I live right downtown Toronto, and I live where I work, so I only see downtown Toronto. But I love taking little adventures and because I knew nothing about the West End, I jumped on the subway and went exploring. Eventually I went to the Montgomery Inn Museum, a cemetery and checked out some historical murals. This was a cool little area with some interesting stories. But the first thing I did when I got there was go for lunch. Which means I went for wings.
A place called Wingporium has got to be good, right? Found in a mall plaza, I didn't know what to think of the place.
Inside it looked like a standard pub. I had the freedom to sit where I wanted, but the best seats for taking well lit pictures in private were taken. So I went with well lit by the window seat. It was pretty quiet inside - a few couples, and individual old men. My waitress was Ana, who was also the bartender. I was worried service was not going to be good because she was the only one on deck, and she was talking a lot with a patron at the bar, she took care of business efficiently and friendly and she was able to answer my wing questions.
Questions like the banner for the Wall of Flame. If you can eat Wingporium's hottest wing, the Black Mamba, you go up on the Wall of Flame (physically and on the web). I asked how many the "Commander" had eaten, and Ana thought it was around 46. That's impressive - if not for shear quantity. I did not try the Black Mamba, so I can't comment on the heat level.
I was ready for wings with my giant roll of paper towel, my bone bowl and moist towlette. Now I just needed the wings. Fortunately, they did not take long.
Wingporium has 88 flavours of wings, which makes for choosing a good flavour overwhelming. I mean I want tot try some classic flavours, but I also want to try something a little crazy. So I tried to do some sampling.
"lightly dusted and sauced, however you may also have them . . .
- non dusted
- naked with sauce on the side
- sauced, then grilled (add $1)"
I decided that I would stick with their way of doing them with the lightly dusted and deep fried. I went with one order of Buffalo Style, one of dry Dill Pickle and a side of Bubba's Backfire.
The size of the wings were decent: they ranged from Medium to Large in length. They were relatively meaty and relatively tender. They were deep fried perfectly with skin that was crispy and tasty. There was a little crackle every time I bit in. So good.
This sounded as classic as possible next to Hot. I actually asked Ana what the difference was between Hot and Buffalo Style - and she said Buffalo had butter added to it. Well that sounded just right.
This was a great sauce. It didn't taste like your standard Buffalo sauce - the hot sauce had more depth to it with chili's and peppers mixed in, but the butter made for a rich layer to the taste. It wasn't that hot, but the flavour was great.
This flavour is wacky if you haven't had it before. I have, and have made it myself, so it's not crazy. But who ever first decided to put popcorn seasoning on hot crispy wings was a genius. For this to work well, the seasoning has to have a lot of flavour. Fortunately, these did.
The dill seasoning was zingy, sour and tart. My mouth was bursting from that sour burn that strangely works well with the salty crispy chicken skin. They also really coated the wings well; some places that do this do it lightly, but you need to go big and bold when doing chip flavours.
To try one more sauce, I went with this spicy BBQ flavour. BBQ is one of my possible go-to flavours that I felt would round out my hot/dill round up. It was a good BBQ, a savoury sauce with a bit of sweet, but not that 'spicy.' I would get it again, but then again, there are a lot of sauces to try again.
I was really impressed with the wings here. I was worried this place might be a mass-produced wing joint, but it felt like they really care about their wings. The meat itself was good - the skin was perfect with the dusting and the deep frying. The sauces were quality - Buffalo & Bubba's Backfire were both good. But I found the Dill Pickle to be irresistible. Wingporium does some awesome wings. I just wished Etobicoke wasn't as far away as it is. 8/10
1000 Islington Ave, Etobicoke ON (Toronto)