I love wings and whenever I see them on a menu, I will order them without fail. I don’t think it really matters where I’m at — I’ll even eat wings at Buffalo Wild Wings — as long as they’re crispy, flavorful, and the chicken comes off the bone without any effort on my part.
However, even having said that, there are some which rank in my top tier of wings in the county. These are a few of my favorites.
Jalapeno Lime Chicken Wings ($7.25) — Topped with cilantro, sliced jalapenos and scallions, these are off-the-bone tender wings and perfectly executed with the right amount of acid from the lime. These arrive piping hot and I’ve almost burned my lip several times because I just cannot wait to dig into them.
Vietnamese Sticky Wings ($13) — My favorite item on the menu. Even though the wings are sticky, they are not obnoxiously so. The roasted chile caramel coats the crispy wings but allows them to shine through without being cloying and unmanageable. Bits of fried garlic is a great touch. Between bites, eat some of the pickled veggies to cleanse your palate, then go back for more.
Sweet & Spicy Wings ($9) — You can’t go to Chef Chicken Wang’s restaurant and not eat chicken wings! These are coated with Backyard Bees honey and sambal but not always crispy. Once in a while, I find a crispy one and it is heavenly. Take a few bites and then pop a spicy radish in your mouth. I order these every time I am here, but my dining companions always find a way to eat them all. I really need a plate of my own.
Smoked Chicken Wings ($11) — I’ve never eaten smoked chicken wings this good until I visited Lillie’s Q recently. The wings are first smoked, then fried, before they are tossed with Lillie’s buffalo sauce. A Maytag blue cheese dressing accompanies, but who wants that when the wings are so deliciously decadent.
Crispy Meyer Lemon and Honey Duck Wings ($13) — Although these are not your traditional wings, they are exceptional. I don’t know any where else in Orange County serving duck wings, so I’ll have to say, kudos to Chef Jared for these. These fall-off-the-bone duck drumettes are very sticky enveloped with a citrusy honey chile marinade. You won’t even need to pick them up! A touch of the fork and the meat gives way — yes it is THAT tender!
Chicken Wings ($10) — Not the prettiest wings, but when fried perfectly, are some of the most mouth-tingling ones around. Garlic, onion, and fish sauce make up the main components of the seasoning creating a spicy sweet sensation in your mouth. These have got to be the messiest wings of the lot!
A&O Kitchen and Bar
The Chicken Wings ($12) here are perfectly fried and coated with beautiful Indian-style seasoning. The raita dipping sauce is refreshing and cools your mouth if you find the wings on the spicy side. These are some of the best wings I’ve tasted.
Kaminariya Yakitori Dining
These Chicken Wings ($2.30 each) are skewered, then grilled with the perfect char all around. It is simple, with only salt and pepper, but moist, tender and so delicious! You won’t be able to stop at just one skewer!
Did I leave out your favorite wing spot? If so, leave me a comment and I’ll check it out!