Romeo's Donair Pizza
Romeo's Kebab House
*These are all the possible names for the same place.
I don't know which one is the real one.
Back in April I decided to grab some lunch and quell my curiosity at the same time. I've seen for years Romeo's at the Merivale Shopping Fair strip mall, but never even really thought about checking them out. It had never really appealed to me before, nor had I ever heard anything about it before. I figured at best I find a hidden gem, and at worst, well let's not worry about that.
Right from the start I was confused by the name and what exactly kind of eatery this place was. I mean I saw one name on the sign out front, another inside, another on the take-out menu, and other's online. The place was called Romeo's, so that suggested Italian to me (it's a pizza place after all). But I also saw that it was a 'kebab house' and because most pizza places in Ottawa were Lebanese run, I figured that this place must be as well. But then I went in and it was an older Asian couple running the joint. I just couldn't assume anything about this place!
Inside the place felt like a small diner or an old fish and chip restaurant. The place was quiet with only one other guy eating inside, but people came for take-out orders while I waited for my food. There were booths and tables for dine-in, a big menu board at the back of the place, and stuffed/mounted fish all over the walls.
I saw chicken wings on the big menu board, but also in the home-printed take-out menu's. There was no info about the wings like sauces or cooking style, except for the price. The lady came to the counter and took my order and I asked how I wanted my wings. I asked what were my choices and she said Hot, BBQ, and I think Medium and Honey Garlic but I didn't hear her clearly.
I took a seat and it didn't long for me to hear the tell-tale sound of chicken in a deep fryer. After about 10 minutes I heard the wings come out and they had my order in a paper bag. I got it to go and headed out to the car. I opened up the bag and found napkins, a container with sour cream, and a wing smelling styrofoam clam shell container.
Inside, I found some good and bad looking hot wings.
You can apparently order any number of wings, but you have to get a minimum of 12 at $0.91 a piece (or $10.92 by that math, of $10.95 according to the take-out menu). I just went with 12. As mentioned before it came with sour cream (oh Ottawa) and a bunch of napkins.
The wings were not very big. They were a small for sure, and they were pretty scrawny in the meatiness department.
The chicken was also tough and the chicken's bones did not pull apart easily. The skin on the wings was crispy at least.
Many of the wings skin was torn before frying, and other pieces had burnt blood. It was really clear these wings were of both cheap and low quality and from frozen.
The wings were kind of wet - enough that each wing had sauce on them, but not enough to have any dripping or pools at the bottom. They were using a classic cayenne-based hot sauce, which is fine enough but nothing special.
I actually ended up dipping my wings in the sour cream. It slightly improved the flavour of the wings, but the flavour wasn't so much of a problem as the texture of the chicken.
Look, sometimes you find a hidden gem and sometimes you just find a rock. I was not impressed by the wings at all. Big pass. Tough, crappy cheap wings with just a little bit of sauce that were decently crispy. But I have no desire to go back and try anything else, let alone the wings. These wings were no Juliet because there was no love here. 4.5/14
1580 Merivale Drive, Ottawa ON