Most of my wing eating comes in the form of experimentation. I don't have a regular place that I go to for wings all the time. More often than not, I'm trying out somewhere I've never been before because I am exploring strange new wings, seeking out new flavours and different cooking ideas, to bodly go where no wing has gone before. That's how I came to try Pita Bell Kabab wings.
Pita Bell Kabab (PBK as I will call it), is located on Carling Ave in Ottawa's west end. It's housed in a strip mall with a hair salon, dentist, nail salon, and a tactical gear store. It's one of those malls for me I have driven past so many times and not stopped in or even realized what was there.
PBK occupies the far left end of the mall and from the outside, looks like a dive middle eastern take-out. Inside, I was quite surprised how wrong my expectations were. It's very modern looking, clean, and decorated with fancy chandeliers. It's still got a big take-out counter with giant menu board, but there is lots of seating for individuals and families.
Another misconception I had when I had about this place when it opened up was I assumed it was just another shawarma shop in a city of soo many shawarma shops. But it's not. While it is Middle Eastern, they are Turkish cuisine focused on charcoal grilling and kebabs. They don't even have shawarma! But shawarma in Ottawa is Lebanese eats, so of course it's not served here.
The place was really busy with both dine-in orders and take-out. The woman taking orders at the front counter seemed overwhelmed at times as there were lots of walk in customers as well as the phone ringing off the hook for other orders. I could faintly smell the scent of charcoal, and I could see the smoke outside from the chimney, so I was excited to try their charcoal grilled wings. I wanted to ask a bunch of questions, but the place was just too busy, so I just asked for the wings and to have it to go. I was told it would be about 9 minutes.
I took a seat and people watched for those roughly 9 minutes. Lot's of different people from construction workers, families, business guys all getting what looked to be pretty tasty dishes. When my wings were ready I slipped through the crowd of people ordering, people waiting for food, and the phone constantly ringing. The lady at the counter asked if I wanted a sauce with it - I asked what my choices were - she in the midst of packing other orders told me BBQ, honey garlic, hummus (hummus does not sound like a very good wing dip) and maybe another sauce. No hot option but I suspect they have hot and it's not as popular. BBQ sounded best to go with the charcoal grilled wings.
I grabbed my take-out bag and went to grab my drink - it's all Coke products, which I prefer, but they had no diet options at all. No Diet Coke, no Coke Zero. Weird. I headed out to the car and opened my lunch with excited anticipation. The wings came in those round Chinese food containers, with a big size of BBQ sauce, a fork and napkins. They smelled, really good.
The wings looked really good to me too. They had that charring on the outside that wasn't offputting/burnt looking, just good. You could see spices from the marinade and I was drooling from the smell and the look. The wings at PBK come in orders of 12 or 24 wings, and I went with 12. In that 12 I got 6 flats and 6 drums equally.
The wings were a bit on the small side in terms of length and were relatively meaty based on their size. The skin was crispy-ish for having been cooked over coals, which was a really nice texture.
The meat itself was very tender. It didn't pull from the bone very easily though, but this is a common issue with grilled wings. But so tender. I'm pretty sure these were made from fresh not frozen wings.
I started off eating the wings without the sauce to try them as they were. They were good. The marinade/seasoning was very tasty but mild. I couldn't identify the spices exactly, but it was salty & earthy. And of course, you have that smokey charcoal flavour that just tastes so rustic and good.
I also had the BBQ sauce that was given in a generously sized container. After eating several wings plain, I figured it was time to bring out the sauce.
The BBQ sauce was thick and poured in the viscous way I want when I have a BBQ sauce.
It was a dark sauce, a bit smokey, a bit sweet, but mostly savoury. It was good on it's own, but it paired really well with the charcoal cooked chicken.
Wow these wings were really good. There's a good if not slightly mild marinade on the chicken, that tastes great on the smokey charcoal grilled wings. It's great as is, but then I added the BBQ sauce and it just made these into a different delicious animal. Going forward I would do the same thing again - eat about half as they are, and half tossed in the sauce. The wings aren't big, but they are so very tasty.
Pita Bell Kabab
1846 Carling Ave, Ottawa ON