Sunday, April 30, 2017

Raleigh's Wing Fling Slings Humdrum Wings

Demo's Pizzeria was serving up a teriyaki and buffalo IPA wings at the Wing Fling at Raleigh Beer Garden.

By Dathan Kazsuk | April 30, 2017  
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

The Raleigh Beer Garden hosted for the second year in a row its Wing Fling Food/Music Festival on Saturday, April 29, in the back lot of its property. I went last year and thought the $10 fee was a steal to sample 2 different wings from 10 different downtown restaurants. So I decided to go again this year and see what year two has to offer.

Little did I know this year ended up being that sequel that couldn't hold its own to the original. In 2016 we paid $10 to sample from 10 restaurants – this year we once again paid $10, but for two less restaurants. Only 8 participating restaurants brought its wings to the game in 2017. Not to mention, we were there until 1:30 p.m. and Clouds Brewing was nowhere to be found. 

On the left is the ballot from 2016, and to the right is the 2017 ballot.

Here's my take on the wings we were able to sample that afternoon. Now I'm taking in mind that these wings weren't cooked in each places respectful kitchens and taking that into consideration – but only judging on what I tasted at the event with the means necessary.

Demo's Pizzeria

1. DeMo's Pizzeria | 222 Glenwood Ave., Suite 121

These were the first wings we tried that afternoon, and in my opinion the best of the bunch. The wings were cook almost to perfection (I like my wings extra crispy ... the only thing lacking), and the sauces were messy and full of flavor. If I'm not eating a 'dry-rubbed' wing, the sauce needs to get all over your fingers and mouth. There is a picture to prove it! The teriyaki sauce was perfect and so was the Buffalo IPA wings. An extra pat on the back for Demo's serving up two wings per sauce – guess that makes up for Clouds' now showing up when we were there.

DeMo's won first place in the Judges Choice for its wings for the 2017 Wing Fling.

Raleigh Beer Garden

2. Raleigh Beer Garden | 614 Glenwood Ave.
These dry rub wings looked great when presented to me, but after my first bite of the drumstick I couldn't go any further. The bite I took was super "chewy" and the inside still looked half cooked. I didn't even try the other wing – and the people sitting beside me said the same thing about their wings, so I wonder what was going on there. 

The Station

3. The Station | 701 N. Person St.

The wings at The Station were cooked to a standard I liked ... and they were good wings. I just wished there was a little more sauce to them. One day I'll have to go there and check out the restaurant because I've heard nothing but good things about its Banh Mi sandwich, Sloppy Joe and its Station Burger. 

Buffalo Brothers

4. Buffalo Brothers | 3111 Capital Blvd.
I like heat. And although these were honey jalapeno wings, they didn't have the heat I was looking for especially if you call them "jalapeno" ... but they did have a good flavor, and were cooked close to the way I prefer. Just look at that color of the sauce. They did a good job, in my opinion.

Carolina Ale House

5. Carolina Ale House | 500 Glenwood Ave.
Mixed feelings on the two different wings they had to sample. I really loved the dry rub wing! If you look at the photo above, it's the one on the left. Now I only wished it would have been a bigger wing. The rub was a perfect flavor. I could have had a whole plate of these. While the Carolina Spiced wing was a little too bland for my tastebuds. It has some sauce, but not enough to make me go back for seconds. But a pat on the back for that dry rub!

Hibernian Irish Pub

6. Hibernian Irish Pub | 311 Glenwood Ave.
Aww man ... now I'm disappointed. Look at that color. These honey buffalo wings were cooked pretty good, the color looked good, but the flavor was totally lacking. I was expecting so much more. Hibernian makes some amazing "Irish" food, and after these wings, I'm going to stick to its Irish fare. Love the pub, but going forward ... it's Bangers and Mash and a Guinness stout.

Wings Over Raleigh

7. Wings over Raleigh | 2900 Hillsborough St.
They offered three different sauces for its wings. I went with the honey buffalo and its Afterburner. Finally some heat. The sauce had the most "heat" flavor and I loved it, except one thing – the chicken itself was not good. Both my wings look like some deconstructed chicken. And the chicken skin on both my wings felt limp like a snake shedding its skin. For such a nice heat in the sauce I hate that the main part of this dish fell flat.

Even though I didn't like my wings as much as I did in 2016, this is a great event, and will probably be back again in 2018 to see what RBC and participating restaurants will be throwing my way! The more heat, the messier they are, the more I enjoy them – remember that boys!