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Good to the bone: New Times searches for the best wings in SLO

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Is there anything more satisfying than biting into a perfectly saucy, crunchy Buffalo chicken wing dipped in creamy ranch dressing? We think not. So Arts Editor (and wing enthusiast) Ryah Cooley and Staff Writer Karen Garcia (admittedly on the fence about wings) teamed up to find the best wings in San Luis Obispo, excluding chain restaurants. We included some classic Buffalo chicken varietals in our roundup, but also sought to think outside of the bottle of Frank's RedHot sauce with some more unique offerings too. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you better believe we ate every last wing that came our way, in the name of journalism.

Mo's Smokehouse BBQ

Mo's: 2 bones - PHOTO BY RYAH COOLEY
  • Photo By Ryah Cooley
  • Mo's: 2 bones

1005 Monterey St.

The order: Mo's Buffalo Hot n' Spicy Wings

Cost: $8.45 for eight wings

Ryah: These wings were breaded and overly chewy. I was hoping they'd be crispier. The sauce basically tasted like Frank's RedHot sauce and nothing else, so the vinegar flavor was overwhelming. The ranch dipping sauce was average, and our order didn't include carrots or celery. These wings made me sad, which is a first.

Karen: I'll definitely say that I started on this venture with wings as pretty low on my list of go-to appetizers. This order didn't help change my mind about that either; it was a saucy mess. With every bite the chicken didn't taste fully cooked, although there was no visible pink on the chicken. The sauce was just too much, and it felt like more breaded sauciness than chicken.

Our rating: 2 bones

Thai Classic

1011 Higuera St.

The order: Angel Wings (chicken wings stuffed with ground chicken, vegetables, and bean thread noodles)

Thai Classic: 3.5 bones - PHOTO BY RYAH COOLEY
  • Photo By Ryah Cooley
  • Thai Classic: 3.5 bones

Cost: $11.95 for two pieces cut into six bites

Ryah: These aren't wings in the sense that there are no bones. It's kind of like a breaded egg roll, but with chicken. It was better dipped in soy sauce than the sauce/cucumber salad it came with. Thai Classic gets an A for originality, but the pieces were small and the price high. I doubt I'd order them again.

Karen: It was an interesting concept to basically stuff ground chicken with veggies and noodles into a breaded roll. The sauce that it came with was a little too sweet for the wings in my opinion. I agree it gets high points in my book for its uniqueness, but I didn't care too much for the flavor. It was a good experience, but I don't think I'll be ordering that item again either.

Our rating: 3.5 bones

Creeky Tiki Bar and Island Grill: 5 bones - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • Creeky Tiki Bar and Island Grill: 5 bones

Creeky Tiki Bar and Island Grill

782 Higuera St.

The order: Teriyaki Wings

Cost: $12 for 10 wings

Ryah: The teriyaki sauce tasted like it was just soy sauce, but the wings were crispy and had just the right amount of breading. Our order came with ranch sauce, celery, and carrots. We gobbled these up.

Karen: For a nontraditional wing flavor I really liked the taste of these teriyaki wings. I agree that the sauce was a little more on the soy sauce end, but the taste was enjoyable with every bite. It was the right ratio of breading and chicken. OK, so I'm starting to teeter into the wing zone, but I'm still not entirely convinced.

Our rating: 5 bones

Mother's Tavern

Mother's Tavern: 5 bones - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • Mother's Tavern: 5 bones

725 Higuera St.

The order: Spicy Buffalo Style Wings

Cost: $8.75 for 10 wings

Ryah: The spice doesn't overwhelm the palate. These wings are good and crispy with a generous amount of chicken to enjoy with ranch dipping sauce, celery, and carrots. Plus during happy hour you can get four jumbo wings for $3.50, which is quite the steal.

Karen: The flavor was just the right amount of spice so I wasn't rushing for a glass of water to cool myself down. The breaded skin-to-chicken ratio was perfect in my book. There was plenty for Ryah and I to share. I could see myself ordering this again with a couple of beers and I'd be set.

Our rating: 5 bones

Oki Momo Asian Grill

2256 Broad St.

The order: Korean BBQ Chicken Wings

Cost: $6 for five wings

Oki Momo Asian Grill:  4.5 bones - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • Oki Momo Asian Grill: 4.5 bones

Ryah: These remind me of the chicken wings I ate at the Chinese buffet as a kid, in a good way. They have a nice crunch and a light flavor. There's no dipping sauce, which bummed me out, but I would still eat these again.

Karen: I definitely loved these Korean BBQ wings; the sauce that covered the wings was a mix of sweet and tangy. It had a really nice crunch but the breading wasn't too thick. I might be biased because I already like Oki Momo's menu so much, but I'll definitely be back for these bad boys.

Our rating: 4.5 bones

Lotus

1131 Broad St.

Lotus: 4.5 bones - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • Lotus: 4.5 bones

The order: Spicy Asian Chicken Wings

Cost: $8.55 for five wings

Ryah: This is a nice, meaty wing. The flavor is balanced with just enough heat and a touch of sweetness. They come with a cilantro dipping sauce and crinkle-cut carrots. Skip those. You don't need them. That sauce does no favors to you or the wings. To be fair, I'm really only into cilantro in my salsa and on my tacos though. It was fun to try new wings, but I'm still a (spicy) Buffalo girl at heart.

Karen: With the last order of wings, I reflect back on our food journey. I definitely think that I'll start ordering wings every now and then. I'll just be really picky about the restaurant I order them from. I also believe that I like the non-traditional wing flavors. This order of wings was really good; the sauce was nice and spicy. It did leave me with a burning sensation on my lips, but I'm not mad about it.

Our rating: 4.5 bones Δ

*All listed prices are before tax and tip.

Arts Editor Ryah Cooley gnaws every last bit of meat off her spicy Buffalo chicken wings. Contact her at rcooley@newtimesslo.com.

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