It’s not uncommon for restaurants to close eventually, although it’s usually sad when they do. With the evolution of a typical customer’s tastes, a change in the surrounding neighborhood, and general interest, some places unfortunately don’t last. They close and people move on. What’s very rare is when a restaurant re-opens. What’s far MORE rare is when it’s doors open again…23 years later. Wings ‘N Things did just that.
I recall going there when I was a little kid. They were located on Sherbrooke St. West near Oxford (there was also one in Dollard), but I was too young to remember much about what used to be. From what I can recall, I remember enjoying the mozzarella sticks, stuffed mushroom caps, and my mom loving their ranch salad. (Ranch dressing is something you really don’t see on restaurant menu’s anymore; I would love to see more restaurants bringing this classic back.) How could we forget, of course, the infamous buffalo wings drenched in a red sauce. Since I was just a kid at the time, I had the sweet sauce, but now my taste-buds have matured, so spicy is the way I’ve gone throughout the years that followed. The big question I had when I went back to Wings ‘N Things, was how much of the restaurant is present from 23 years ago? Is there a little bit of nostalgia left?
Located literally off an alley on Royalmount near Decarie, the original logo hangs on a sign outside while the bright yellow interior shines through the windows. The decor is pretty simple: a take-out counter in the front as soon as you walk in, and about 10 bar stools for those who feel like eating in house. Even though most of their orders are take-out, I decided to stay in with a few friends to maximize my wing consumption. I came with a buddy I catered with, Darren, and fellow food bloggers ShutUpAndEat.ca and both members of FoodieDateNight.com. We were greeted by one of the original owner’s sons, Brahm Mauer, who runs the day to day grind. His other business partners include Dan Vigderhouse, Steve Merling, and head chef, Chef D Saks. The menu, which has been modified from the original one from over 20 years ago, is designed to support a more take-out centric eating experience. I really don’t see it since all the flavors varied from interestingly unusual, to finger licking good, and with over 20 varieties to choose from, sharing was the way to go.
I really liked the sweet, sticky, and spicy Thai chili wings. With a little hint of lemongrass and overlying heat from the small bits of chili, these wings were a favorite among us. The general tao ones were also nibbled on pretty quickly. Like good western Chinese food, I think it’s only appropriate this flavor drenches a wing. Order these if you can. The chili-lime ones were great as well. There’s a salty, tangy, spice coming off these little guys, which are one of the few flavors that aren’t dripping in sauce. Instead, they’re spiced, giving them a slight crispiness. The one letdown were the Jack Daniels wings (yes you can read it at Jack Dagnals…it’s ok). I was really looking forward to them, but they were not our favorite flavor. One of us said it had a faint cough syrup taste, which I agreed with and couldn’t get out of my head after the bites that followed. It tasted like the sauce was reduced a little too much and not all the alcohol was cooked off; however, I’d try them again for curiosity purposes.
For me, three kinds stood out among the rest. For a classic wing experience, the good ol’ medium heat buffalo wings are a sure bet. As familiar as the taste was, these were one of our favorites. Glistening with that bright orange color, these babies packed quite a punch with just the right amount of sweetness, vinegar flavor, and spiciness. The Parmesan Garlic wings were plain delicious. Dusted with a generous sprinkle of salty Parmigiano Reggiano, bits of chopped garlic, and a light coating of a sweet sauce to hold it all together. You really can’t go wrong with meat covered in cheese and garlic. The prize for the most surprising, unusual, interesting, weirdest, and delicious are the Asian Peanut Butter wings. I know what you’re thinking: wings and PB? Why would someone do that? Actually, it’s very similar to having a peanut butter dumpling, just instead of a dumpling, it’s a wing. I was surprised at how good this was; however, one of my weaknesses is peanut butter, so it wasn’t shocking that I enjoyed it as much as I did.
It’s also nice to know that as good as their wings are, their “things” are pretty good too. If you can, go for the waffle fries, sweet potato fries, and back from the old restaurant, the Curly Q’s If you’re feeling ambitious, you can turn any of these fries (including smashed potatoes and onion rings) into a poutine. I didn’t have it on this visit, even though I should have, but the waffle fry poutine sounds sick. Also, all wing orders come with the somewhat necessary carrots and celery with ranch dipping sauce. I asked if the ranch dressing is the same as the old recipe, and unfortunately it’s not. That doesn’t mean it’s not delicious! I liked how the ranch cooled my mouth off from the spiciness of the buffalo and Thai chili wings. Also on the menu, and on my must-try list, are the BBQ baby back ribs, the brisket slider, and the filet Mignon slider. From what I’ve been hearing, these are some of the “things” to have.
The meal ended with fingers stained and mouths dripping with sauce. Many wet napkins were used as the digestion sessions began. Wings ‘N Things may not be offering the exact same menu as before, but they are putting out the most diverse wing-centric menu available. There are always foods making a comeback. Wings isn’t something I’ve thought of, but I’m glad it’s these guys who are making them cool again.
Wings ‘N Things: 5475 Royalmount Ave., Mont-Royal, Quebec, H4P 1J3; 514-738-WING or 514-73-THING