Winky's Wings is a hot, salty experience most people won't forget -- and neither will their taste buds. Its wings pack the kind of heat that sticks around like a first kiss lingers on your lips.
Wings come prepared mild, medium, hot, inferno, teriyaki or Buffalo-style and available in servings of 10 ($8.95), 20 ($15.95), 30 ($23.95) and 50 ($32.95). The menu also includes burritos ($2.25 for one, $10 for 6), tacos ($1.75 for one, $8 for six) Caesar salads ($5.95), and burgers ($4.95 - $6.45). There's no dining room, all orders are either delivery or pick-up.
The first time I ordered I asked for 20 wings and a crispy chicken sandwich ($4.95).
My wings were "hot," which is an understatement. They had co-workers coughing and complaining with watering eyes and red faces. They grabbed soda and water, whatever they could get their sweaty hands on. Ultimately they couldn't resist and timidly returned for more. Despite the big taste the wings are small and at times a little over-cooked. You can see salt crystals sparkling in the dry rub.
I scoffed at my co-workers sensitive palettes and took a bite. The heat doesn't hit right away, but it soon had my lips looking like Angelina Jolie knock-offs. My mouth burned, and I was impressed.
I used the fried chicken sandwich to temper the heat. I thought of it as a wing antidote, but it was a bit of a buzz kill. It came topped with shredded lettuce and a slice of cheddar cheese kept two fried chicken breasts connected inside the white toasted bun. I found it a bit dry and lacking in flavor.
A few days later my husband and I had friends over to watch movies, and wings and burritos seemed like a good fit for our little party. I ordered batches of inferno and teriyaki wings and a six-pack of tacos. While I waited for my order I chatted with owner John Head.
He said he opened Winky's about a year ago after working at Sorrento's Restaurant for 10 years. He also gave me the back story on the wings.
"They're Louisiana based," Head said. "The recipe took my wife and I six months to create."
The wings taste similar to Wing's & Things, but are not as greasy. I wish they were larger, like the jumbo drum sticks at Hot Mama's! on Arctic Boulevard.
Head said the Philly's are also popular ($6.95 for half, $10.95 for a whole). He said the secret is bread which is baked in Philadelphia, flash frozen and shipped here. He said he also uses sliced rib eye steak and cheese sauce.
My order was up in 51 minutes. If you're into hot, I suggest ordering the inferno wings. They're perfectly intolerable. Just when I thought it was over-the-top hot and I might never recover, my mouth finally cooled off and I reached for another wing. The teriyaki wings were sweet and gooey with a slight honey flavor.
The tacos got scarfed down before our guests arrived. The ground beef tacos didn't taste authentic like Don Jose's or Burrito King, but they weren't bad either. Clearly the big star was the wings.
Winky's Wings is a hot little place that deserves a chance. Stick with the classics and you won't be disappointed.
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** 1/2 $$
Location: 9191 Old Seward Highway #4
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 2 p.m. to midnight, Sunday 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Phone number: 279-4647
Options: Takeout and delivery
By Rebecca Palsha
Daily News correspondent