You don’t always get what you expect. For example, I didn’t expect to be sick for 3 weeks. I didn’t expect to miss the Phoenix Invitational Brewers Festival because I was sick. And I certainly didn’t expect it to be two and a half months since our last review that was focused mostly on wings.
These types of things tend to happen when you least expect them and sometimes there is not much you can really do about it. In this case, I had been wingless for weeks. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the doctor had told me I wasn’t sick I was just suffering with wing withdrawal. That would be if I had gone to a doctor, like a wimp. (Fine I went to the stupid doctor, shut up.)
As soon as we got a chance we picked a night we could go out and we picked a place that had a good reputation for wings. We picked another place randomly at first but the place didn’t have enough reviews saying the wings were good for us to visit it this time. We wanted something that sounded very reliable to deliver the wings we were craving. It had been long enough that we were not screwing around. So, based on some personal recommendations, and several good online reviews, we picked Keegans Grill & Taproom.
Keegan’s was known for having really good grilled wings. We were fine with moving away from the traditional fried-only wings because we had the memory of JT’s telling us it would be okay. All we really wanted was a pile of wings slathered in Buffalo sauce.
We brought along my cousin James again. When he asked what type of place this was I wasn’t actually sure but I had the impression it was a sports bar. That was incorrect. When we arrived we saw that they did have a few TVs around the bar area but the rest of it was far from a sports bar. No TVs in the rest of the place was a pretty dead giveaway. It was more of a traditional restaurant and they were pretty nice digs too.
They seated us at a table towards the back. We ordered some beers to get us started. Their draft beer list was mostly craft and local breweries which was pretty cool even if several of the craft breweries were some of the most obvious choices. It would have been nice to see them get a little more adventurous and pick out a few more of the lesser-known craft breweries.
Still, there were plenty of options and we didn’t have any trouble finding something we liked. I did notice they were out of the several of the beers but it was clearly marked in the menu which they had and which they did not.
There was no variety as far as wing orders go. The only option on the menu was the Spicy Grilled Wings. Xavvi and I each ordered a plate of those. James wasn’t feeling the wings that evening so he went with a steak sandwich at the recommendation of the server.
We drank our beers and ordered a few more while we were waiting. It wasn’t too much of a wait for the food to come out.
This was the moment of truth. The wings that would break the drought had arrived. I would finally get to dig my teeth into some juicy wings and savor the subtle heat of the Buffalo sauce. Or so I thought. The wings were not what we expected.
The wings were grilled as advertised although without being fried first, like JT’s does it. Fair enough though, not everyone needs to do it the same way. I prefer having them fried first but they were still cooked well. Some of the wings were a little more well done than others but none of them tasted burnt and none of them suffered from the worse crime of being undercooked.
How they were cooked was not the problem, however. The real problem was there was no Buffalo sauce. What we got instead was wings that were covered in a dry rub of various spices. This was definitely not what I was looking for. That isn’t to say that it was bad. There wasn’t much to the “Spicy” claim in the title but it still tasted pretty good. If I had just ordered some type of chicken entree and it tasted like that I would have been happy enough with it. But that is just not what you think of when you get an order of chicken wings.
Chicken wings carry with them certain expectations: chicken wing drums and flats fried until they are crispy and covered in a mixture of cayenne pepper sauce and butter. It is certainly fine to experiment with those expectations. JT’s has done it with their grilled wings and quite a few places have done with all kinds of variations on the traditional sauce. This just felt like they abandoned the idea of what makes wings wings. They had lost all the attributes that really make hot wings a unique experience from another chicken dish (deliberately ignoring boneless wings here).
I won’t lie and say they weren’t good because I did enjoy them. It is just hard to separate my disappointment from the overall quality of the meal to form an objective opinion. James’ steak sandwich, however, looked very good and he confirmed that it was. The food overall does seem to be made with high quality ingredients.
Also worth noting is that the server was very good and went out of her way to help accommodate James, who is blind. James seemed surprised and impressed by this. It seems most servers either ignore the fact that he is blind or just flat-out don’t notice. So, kudos to our server for the evening on doing an excellent job.
I left Keegan’s with my craving for wings unsated but I was still left with a positive feeling about the place. They must be doing something right.
Lake Superior State University’s 2013 List of Banished Words
In other news, Lake Superior State University came out with their annual list of banished words, which I was unaware of until this year. Basically, they take suggestions and compile a list of the most annoying, overused, and incorrectly used words and phrases from the past year and publish it.
This year was special because of the second-to-last entry: Boneless Wings. As John McNamara of Lansing, Michigan put it, “Can we just call them chicken (pieces)?” I agree, sir. May the wing-gods smile on you for suggesting this awful term be banished.
Keegan’s Grill & Taproom
1095 W Queen Creek Rd
Chandler, AZ 85248