Central BBQ (Downtown)

Central BBQ
147 E. Butler Ave.
Downtown
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 672-7760

Dear Central BBQ,
I am so excited that you have joined the downtown dining scene.  Your new restaurant is just gorgeous with it’s polished concrete floors, sparkling open-view kitchen, and self-serve sauce station.  However, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the smoked wings. They shrunk!  I mean seriously, a standard dinner roll should not be larger than a whole chicken wing (see picture bellow).  I sure hope your chicken vendor is not charging you full price for these wings, because otherwise you have been robbed my friend.  Also, I have to tell you… the wings at your Central Ave location are consistently great, but these downtown wings were a little dry.  Maybe it’s the size of the wing that caused the dry-out, because I would be willing to bet they were prepared with the same amount of cooking time as a regular-sized whole wing would require.  Thus, it would make sense that they may have been unintentionally overcooked.  This is just a suggestion, but please don’t be so stingy with the sauce.  I ordered the hot wings and I felt the need to ask for extra sauce since there was hardly any sauce on my wings at all.  The smokey flavor was there but no heat.  Kudos to the employee who offered to take the wings back to the kitchen so that they could be sauced again.  I declined because I didn’t really see that as necessary seeing as how I could easily dip my wings in the side of sauce she gave me.

Regrettably, this introduction to your downtown location left me disappointed.  Chances are good that if I ever visit again I will order something else for fear of a repeat experience.  I sincerely hope that your Central Avenue location is producing the same great wings they have always served.  I’ll have to check on that soon.

Regards,
Hot Sauce

P.S.  The ribs were awesome!

Rating: **

Smoked Hot Wings from Central BBQ Downtown Memphis

Disappointing smoked hot wings from the new Central BBQ downtown location. Look how small they are! They were also dry and needed more sauce.

 

Slider Inn

Slider Inn
2117 Peabody Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 725-1155

I went to Slider Inn for lunch today and I’m sadden to report that my visit left me disappointed. Keep reading…

I had a lunch date and the weather was beautiful, especially for mid October.  The sunshine and mild temperature demanded patio dining.  So, while deciding where to have lunch, we considered only restaurants in Midtown with patios.  I have been a fan of Slider Inn since I attended the grand opening party a little over a year ago.  They have a great patio and I had enjoyed the wings before… Wings on the patio at Slider Inn sounded like a fantastic idea.

For $6.99 you can get six hot wings served with celery and a choice of blue cheese or ranch dressing.  I chose blue cheese, of course.  Only weirdos eat hot wings with ranch dressing, right?  When our server (who was awesome by the way) brought my wings to the table I was immediately disappointed.  I had ordered wings here on a handful of occasions and the wings have always been good; not outstanding, but good.  This time, however, I could tell they were not up to par.  The chicken wing sections were very small and I could hardly detect an aroma of pepper.  You can see just how small the wings were by comparing them to the celery in the picture below.  I could also tell, just by looking, that the skin lacked the slight crunch that I look for in a good hot wing.  So, were my visual observations correct?  Yep, one hundred percent correct.  The meat was cooked but the skin lacked any crunch at all.  The sauce was buttery, too buttery for my taste, and had almost NO heat.

The hot wings I ate today were not the same wings I had enjoyed at Slider Inn in the past.  I’m going to give these wings a two-star rating for now with the hope the quality will be back to standard on a future visit.

Rating: **

Hot Wings at Slider Inn

Disappointing hot wings at Slider Inn

Best Wings of Memphis

Best Wings of Memphis
2390 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38112
(901) 458-7711

As a Chicky who is obsessed with hot wings, how could I resist a visit to a joint named Best Wings of Memphis?  I Stopped here on a Friday around 12:30pm, and man was it packed!!  I was hungry and I started to worry that I would have to endure a substantial wait. Turns out, these guys know how to handle the traffic.

They have about 7 to 10 sauce choices including mild, honey hot, and lemon pepper.  I ordered 4 whole wings hot with blue cheese dressing.  I only had to wait about 10 minutes before my order was up.  Although there are tables inside, all orders are packed and bagged take out style.  I opted to take my wings home since I was by myself and it was a short drive back to my house.  I’m not sure I could have found an unoccupied seat in there anyway.  I figured the crowd was a good sign and I was sure I was about to eat some awesome wings.

So, how did they taste?  Interesting.  The first thing I noted was the unexpected sweet… and then the heat.  They were hotter than some wings I have had around town but not hot enough to cause pain.  Personally, I don’t like my hot wing sauce the least bit sweet so I have to stick with two-star rating for this review.   Had there not been sugar in the sauce I would have bumped it up to three, possibly even four stars.

Rating: **

Hot wing from Best Wings of Memphis

Best Wings of Memphis? For “hot wings” the sauce was way too sweet for this chicky.

Frida’s Mexican Restaurant

Frida’s Mexican Restaurant
1718 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 244-6196

My good friend text me on Friday afternoon and invited me to join him for margaritas at Frida’s Mexican Restaurant on Madison.  Margaritas sounded like a great idea but I was also hungry.  I got online and looked over the menu before leaving the house.  I had been there once before but I couldn’t remember if they served wings.  Guess what?  They did!  So, I grabbed my jacket and headed out the door determined to try the wings.

Frida’s is new a restaurant that opened right around the corner from my house.  I went there on opening week and I was more impressed with the interior transformation of the space that was once Zennie’s than I was of the food.  The food wasn’t bad, I just thought that it could have been better.  Now, if I was to discover some awesome wings at Frida’s that would change my whole opinion of the place.

When I walked in I found my friend sitting at the bar already enjoying his first margarita.  I ordered a drink and began inquiring about the wings.  The bartender, a super sweet young guy named Matt, said that the wings were pretty good.  I asked Matt how the wings were prepared and that’s when I learned that Frida’s serves their “spicy wings” with home-made hot sauce on the side.  The menu reads, “Meaty wings dipped in our special hot sauce for a zesty start to your meal.”  Sounded interesting. I ordered ten at $6.99.  Not a bad price.

The wings came out with the sauce on the side just like Matt had said they would.  Basically, I got ten totally naked and fried chicken wing sections spread out on a large plate with a bowl of hot sauce in the center and a few pieces of celery.  They aren’t served with dressing, that’s an extra 99 cents.  “Meaty” is a bit of an exaggeration, as these wings were of average size at best. The flavor the sauce reminded me of Cholula brand hot sauce that you can purchase at any grocery store.  I would have preferred a more traditional preparation with the wings tossed in sauce but that didn’t stop me from eating them.  Dipping the wings in the sauce, and then the dressing, and getting it to my mouth without messing up my dress proved to be a bit of challenge.  Overall, these wings deserve a two-star rating.  They were not bad, but I would not order them again.

Rating: **

Spicy wings at Frida’s.

Spicy wings and home-made hot sauce at Frida’s

 

8oz Burger Bar (Wing Review)

8oz Burger Bar
Horseshoe Casino
1021 Casino Ctr Dr
Robinsonville, MS 38664

Thursday night the boyfriend and I made a trip out to Tunica for a little gambling.  He had eaten just a few hours prior but I hadn’t eaten all day and was in need of some nourishment to fuel up for hours of table play.  Since I was hungry and he was not, we decided to skip the buffet and try the 8oz Burger Bar.  I figured I would just get a burger and toss the bun until I noticed that they had hot wings on the menu.  Eight bucks for six wings and dressing, no celery, is pretty steep but considering that we were at a casino the inflated price was expected. I ordered mine with blue cheese and grabbed a table to wait.

The cook delivered the wings right to my table, which I thought was nice.  The pepper-spiked aroma of the sauce invaded my nose in a way that led me to believe these wings would be super hot. I asked the cook how the sauce was prepared and he told me that it was nothing more than bottled Louisiana Hot Sauce.  According to the company website, Louisiana Hot Sauce “is the original cayenne pepper sauce of Louisiana, with an eighty year reputation for quality and perfection.”  Pretty uninspired choice for hot wing sauce if you ask me.  As it turns out, the wings were not as hot as I thought they would be.  The wing pieces were on the small side and a bit overcooked.  Even though these wings were not great, It was a decent choice for a quick meal before hitting up some games.  Next time however, I will stick with the burger.

Rating: **

Wings from 8oz Burger Bar Tunica

Wings from the 8oz Burger Bar at Horseshoe Casino, Tunica.

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Casino
777 Beach Blvd
Biloxi, MS 39530
(228) 384-7625

I rarely eat at chain restaurants but occasionally my travels leave me with few options.  In this case, I was staying at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi and I lacked transportation.  Of course, I could not pass up the opportunity to try the hot wings which are listed on the menu as “smoked.”  Hard Rock Cafe is one of those restaurants that attaches cutesy names to wing flavors with some kind of theme.  There are three flavor choices; classic rock, heavy metal, and tangy bbq.  I guess the people over at Hard Rock Headquarters couldn’t figure out how to tie bbq to rock and roll.  I went with the classic rock.

My first impression was that these wings and not been smoked because they lacked to coloring associated with chicken that has been smoked.  Was the Hard Rock Cafe trying to pass off standard deep fried wings as something more unique?  The thick sauce emitted and aroma that didn’t indicate smoke either.  The flavor was interesting.  There was a hint of smokiness but I believe it was added to the sauce and not in the preparation of the chicken, as the menu would suggest.  I’m not convinced that the smoke flavor was from actual smoke.  It had an artificial aspect to it that I found rather distracting.

One of my friends ordered a chicken club that looked fantastic and another had grilled shrimp that I tried to steal off his plate when he wasn’t looking.  Next time I find myself at any Hard Rock Cafe, I will pass on the wings.

Rating: **

"Smoked" hot wing from Hard Rock Cafe

So-called “smoked” wings from the Hard Rock Cafe in Biloxi, MS

The Half Shell

The Half Shell
688 S Mendenhall Rd
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 682-3966

Half Shell gets major points for serving a full menu at hours when other restaurants in the area are no longer open. Monday through Saturday you can order anything you desire until 2am. On Sundays the kitchen closes at 1am. This how I ended up at the Half Shell in the first place. Where else am I going to get hot wings in east Memphis at 11:30 on Sunday night?

This was my first visit to Half Shell and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the variety of items on the menu. Oysters, salads, sandwiches, and entrees galore. Something for everyone… even late. I already had my mouth set for hot wings (go figure) so that’s what I ordered. For $8.25 you get 12 wings, half flats and half drummies, served with celery and home-made dressing.

The wing pieces were disappointingly small. The flavor was good and the heat was mild. I prefer wing sauce that is a bit hotter. The blue cheese dressing was really great, and for me, it actually made the mediocre wings a bit more enjoyable. I would visit Half Shell again but I would order some thing other than wings. A salad with home-made blue cheese dressing, perhaps

Rating: **

Wings from the Half Shell