There is nothing quite as delicious as that perennial bar snack, the chicken wing. The tiny blasts of tender flavor can be jooked up in all sorts of seasoning and impart whatever imaginative smack the cook wishes to present. However, the sad state of affairs with this particular chicken part is that in recent years the wing has been relegated to frozen pre-cooked and pre-flavored masses of disappointment. There are, however, several terrific places in Dallas to find the chicken wing in its natural glory, made fresh and from scratch and coated with as much imagination as the bird can stand. Enter WingBucket.
Owned by Nhat Ngo who is a second generation restaurant owner, and is personally on his fourth attempt at creating something successful. As the saying should go (at least in Ngo’s case) fourth time a charm. Ngo comes from a family who specialized in pho, and has restaurants across DFW. What his family did for noodles Ngo wishes to do for chicken.
You may recall Ngo from Oak Cliff’s Lucky Smokehouse which was located on Davis. He was in a partnership that went south, resulting in the operation being dissolved. He lost plenty of cash in the ordeal, but learned some valuable life lessons that led him to wings. The first location for WingBucket is nestled in downtown Dallas at 1200 Main Street. The operation is set up to be duplicated, and several locations are already selected and will open shortly. Huzzah for wing eaters everywhere because Ngo knows chicken.
Ngo flavors his full-sized wings with everything from standard housemade buffalo sauce, to more inventive sauces such as peanut butter and jelly (don’t giggle, the flavor is bitching good). We plowed through a majority of the flavors recently and enjoyed them all. Some hot, some not so hot, but all thoroughly delicious. Stand outs include Margarita Chile, General Tao’s Teriyaki, Sriracha Madness and the latest flavor that is more of a rub, Sour Cream and Onion. The latter is a homage to the potato chip with the same name, and super good.
We all need our dipping sauces, especially for the hottest wings, such as the ghost pepper version, and we really enjoyed pairing the scratch made Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch, Cucumber Wasabi and the Sriracha Ketchup. There are more traditional flavors such as bleu cheese and regular ranch, but who needs anything regular when dining on large haunches of bird parts.
The deliciousness does not stop with the wings. You will want to enjoy the many sides offered as well, including the fried green beans (our favorite). Again, made fresh in house. These beans have that fresh snap and crisp crust never found on a frozen product. The extra crispy sweet potato fries pair very well with the above mentioned sriracha ketchup. The sweet potato fries are very light, very airy and very crisp. We also adored the garlic Parmesan fries.
Salads at WingBucket are flavorful and filling, too. They can be made with their chicken tenders which can be fried and given the wing sauce treatment, or cooked on the grill. They also make this insane chicken and waffle sandwich which is a must try. Oh, once you visit, plan on spending the next several weeks exploring this menu. It’s that good.
Currently the WingBucket is BYOB, but will soon have a beer license and offer some local crafts along with some of the more traditional national favorites. In addition to offering brews, you will be able to order wings and 12 packs of beer for delivery. This will prove delicious for shut ins on a Saturday night, and hotel dwellers here on a lost weekend. You will also be able to walk in up until 1:59am and grab beer to go, which is incredible or this section of under served Dallas.
“We want to franchise this, and our objective is to have at least 5 or 6 corporate locations. I believe if you really want to franchise these things you need aco-packing plant. Since we make everything from scratch in-house we need control on quality. And the last thing I want is our cookbooks floating around. These are original flavors we are offering and totally unique to the industry,” said Ngo on our visit.
Look for another location opening very soon in the Plaza of America’s food court, possibly in December. A location in Plano has already been scouted, along with Frisco.
Check out the very crave worthy whole section wings at the Wing Bucket this weekend. I have written myself into a frenzy, and am heading downtown now for a round of the spiciest wings, plus that killer chicken and waffle sandwich.