by Steven Doyle
Wings are definitely the perennial fiery bar snack that can be shared by the basket, or devoured solo for a quick meal taken with a very cold beer or a soothing pinot noir. Dallas has their share of very good examples, and much more that are flat on flavor. The latter are of the frozen and pre-sauced variety; an abomination unto mankind. However, done well the wing can be spirited, imaginative, and definitely make you yearn for more.
A perfect wing has a delicate balance of tender white meat that oozes its own juices with a fine balance of sauce and very little decor. A bit of crudité and side of house-made blue cheese dressing is perfect. Some have elevated this combination, others take on an interesting ethnic twist. Let’s explore the better examples in the Dallas area.
Ten Bells Tavern: The wings at Ten Bells in Oak Cliff are among the very best the city has to offer. These are thoughtful, crispy and extreme on flavor. The sauce is more traditional with a Franks Hot Sauce base, and has a second saucing of blue cheese drizzle and cheesy crumbles. Worth the trek to Bishop Arts alone for this magnanimous dish.
Ivy Tavern: The wings here start fresh then are fried sans battering then given a choice of homey sauces. Our selection is always the traditional spicy. We order extra crispy with a light sauce for the perfect basket of wings that are large and meaty and pair perfectly with a draught of Community Mosaic, a delicious IPA.
WingBucket: The name makes us cringe a bit, but it definitely stands out as do their wings. The original location is in downtown Dallas, with more locations everywhere (Deep Ellum). There are at least twenty flavors to choose from, all concocted in-house. There is no separation of drum and flap here, you get the full wing. The flavors range from the normal Buffalo-style to more wacky concoctions such as peanut butter and jelly (it’s very good). For the more adventuresome folks, try the ghost pepper chile. While at WingBucket, sample their chicken and waffle sandwich.
Malai Kitchen: We love this West Village restaurant and do not dine here often enough. Each visit you will uncover a new gem that will have you singing praises for weeks. Like the chicken wings that are Thai chile glazed with a sprinkling of sesame seeds for a one-two punch of flavor.
Buffalo Wild Wings: Just kidding.
Bowl and Barrel: Somewhere there are a ton of quail scurrying about without the use of their legs, and we are all the better for it. The spicy quail legs are very meaty and spicy specimens found at Bowl and Barrel.
Frankie’s Downtown: This massive bi-level sports bar offers terrific food (the burger is genius) and has life changing wings.
Phat Matt’s Hot Wings: Look for catfish, a great burger, pork chops and delightful wings where the service might be wanting but the flavors never are. No web but located at 2541 W Ledbetter (other locations but this is considered the best).
Greenville Avenue Pizza Company: Pizza? Yes. Wings? Most definitely, and delivered until the wee hours for a very early morning fix. The wings are super crispy, super nekkid, and deliciously sauced. Definitely one of our favorite traditional wings in Dallas and East Dallas.
LUCK: One of our favorite beer-centric restaurants is located in Trinity Groves, and these boys know how to make a fantastic wing. First, it is the whole wing so no need to choose between flap or drum. Then with our LUCK they smoke the bird part for a perfect flavor.
Local Oak: Located in Oak Cliff, the restaurant serves up some interesting appetizers such as the bucket of bacon which we have raved about in the past. Their wing treatment is spot on crispy without too much sauce to mess up that pretty mug of yours.
Whistle Britches: Chef Omar will attempt to tantalize you with kicked up deviled eggs, a sinful sandwich and even his unholy mac and cheese. Try them all, and the crispy honey and soy wings are requisite. We also loved the wing/ waffle combo.