Tuesday, October 23, 2012

D-Spot – Maplewood, MN

D.Rough and I love to take her Sister SalsaSandwich to eat fun food with us. We’ve been hearing people rave about the wings at D-Spot. D.Rough thought we should take SalsaSandwich out for dinner and a movie. It was going to be a good night for all of us.

D-Spot (the Maplewood location) is in a small strip mall on Century Avenue. When we got there, the place was filled with people. Thankfully, most of those people were sitting around waiting for pick-up orders. We grabbed a table towards the back of the dining room. There are only 8 tables in the place and I have a feeling it’s full most of the time.

Before I came here, I didn’t know what their shtick was. I thought they were just good wings. I didn’t realize the thing this place is famous for is the combinations of wing sauce. They have a few hundred different kinds. I’m not kidding. Look at the website. The owner and chef takes great pride in his combinations of sauces for his wings. I don’t mean he’s simply proud of them, I mean he’s a trained genius that isn’t afraid to push the envelope a little bit.

You can generally order wings in 6 or 12 piece batches. Flavors can be split up per 6-wing order, so you can’t get 6 different flavors in a basket unless you order 36 wings. I mentioned there are hundreds of wing combinations, right? Well, they only put 70-80 on the menu at any given time, so they can keep the number to an easy-to-manage process back in the kitchen. They have different groups of wings. They have spicy wings – exactly what you’d imagine: different spicy seasonings and glazes. They have comfort/savory wings: lots of rubs, garlic, and things to make a meal out of. Then they have PhD wings – these are super fancy combinations of ingredients. Things like horseradish buffalo sauce, ancho chili, and peppercorns. Then they have sweet wings. I wouldn’t call these dessert wings, because they aren’t. Chocolate, boisonberry, crème anglaise, and powdered sugar. I told you they were waaay outside the box. Then, of course they have the standard fireball of doom wing challenge under the Scorpion’s Lair. Devilishly spicy wings that will destroy your insides.

You can sit down at the table and view the menu, then you have to get up and get in line to order at the counter. While you’re in line, there is a small collection of free chocolate chip toffee cookies that will tide you over if you want. Actually, these were pretty awesome. I was kind of surprised.

I won’t go into all of the confusing conversations we had to get to a final order, but suffice it to say, it was a long time. SalsaSandwich isn’t much of a wings eater, so she ordered a cheese burger and some onion rings. Aside from a large basket of seasoned fries, here is what D.Rough and I ordered to split:

Buffalo Wings – you need something to be the control group, so you can know how good they are compared to other wing places.

Widow Maker Wings – a combination of their Iron Man wings (sweet and spicy) and Black Widow wings (soy glaze, cracked fennel, dry rub).

Goat’s Blood Wings – red curry, tomato, and goat cheese.

Tarantula Wings – soy glaze, roasted garlic, chili dry rub, and fried garlic.

One thing we heard people talk about when they discussed this place was the amount of time they had to wait for their wings. I understand that and I think it is perfectly acceptable since the sauces are made from scratch and they take some time to perfect. I have no problem with that. It DID take a while to get our wings, but understand we were there on a Friday night and it was packed with sit down orders and to-go orders. I’m fine with it. And, I’ll be honest with you, once I bit into the first wing, I would have waited a day for these wings. They were the best I’ve ever had. Not kidding at all.

Here is how we would rank them in order:

The buffalo wings were good. Better than most places I’ve been. It didn’t taste like Frank's Red Hot, so I was thrilled. It actually had some quality flavor and a little bit of zing to it. If we had only ordered these, they would have been good enough for me to come back here, without question.

The Widow Maker were even better. Very good sweet to spicy ratio. There was a faint hint of fennel on them and the dry rub was fantastic. And the soy glaze on them tied everything together and made your mouth not burn at all. Delicious.

Then, the Goat’s Blood wings really rocked my face off. The curry on them was better than most Thai places I’ve been. Absolutely stellar. The faint hint of tomato added a bit of sweet to the wing and the small sprinkles of goat cheese added a great zing to the flavor. These things gradually grew in their spice level, thanks to the curry. Brilliant wings!

And the winner of the night was the Tarantula. I’ve never had wings this good in my entire life. The soy glaze was sweet, but countered the chili flavor and the different garlic flavors. On top of all these, there was pork floss on them. If you haven’t had pork floss, you should – it’s like dried pork that’s then shredded like you rat someone’s hair in the 80’s. It’s fluffy pork strands and it’s life-changnig on these ribs. I can’t rave about these enough. Just get them. You won’t be disappointed.

We asked SalsaSandwich about the cheese burger and we got a non-committal “it was good” review. It looked good to me, but I would have gotten one of their crazy burgers with chili poured all over it or something. The Chilly Willy was the special of the night and it sounded great. SalsaSandwich IS a big fan of onion rings though, and she really liked them a lot. The basket was serious and she ate all of them before she even started on her burger. Yeah, they were good.

The seasoned fries we got shouldn’t be forgotten either. They were heavily seasoned, so if that’s not your thing then you may not like these. It IS, in fact, our thing and we fought over these fries. They were phenomenal. Just the right amount of crisp on them. Maybe could have even used a tad more crisp towards the end, but they were great, especially with the delicious dipping sauce that came with them. Eventually we started using our leftover sauce from our wings on the fries, which changed everything. Get the fries too!

I can’t rave about this place enough. I want to go here every day now. We discussed this and the reason they do so many to-go orders is they don’t serve alcohol here. They have a TV in the dining room, but I’m guessing they don’t want people hanging around. Eat your food and make room for the next group of people. As we said, there is considerable wait time (WORTH IT), so plan ahead for that. But you will not be disappointed with these wings. We’ll be back VERY soon.

And keep in mind, the St. Paul location not only does wings, but it also does the same insane kinds of gourmet flavors for their homemade pizza rolls. Get in on THAT!!!!

Do yourself a favor and check out the website for the flavors. Your mouth will start watering right away.

Top 5 things about D-Spot
1. Tarantula Wings
2. Goat’s Blood Wings
3. Widow Maker Wings
4. Buffalo Wings
5. Seasoned Fries

Bottom 5 things
1. People will complain about the wait, but just be patient - really
2. The dining room is small, cramped, and FULL
3. Sometimes it gets smoky in the dining room from the kitchen, just deal with it
4. Soooooo many things to choose from
5. No alcohol, but absolutely the best decision to keep turnover high



s said...

Yep, the fries are the bomb. The burgers are awesome too. The burger that they call 50/50, half burger and half bacon is a cardiologists nightmare, but oh so good. This place is in my neck of the woods and I love to stop and try a couple different flavors of wings when I don't feel like cooking.

Metal Face said...

You need some Walrath Tear-an-too-luh to go with those wings!!

Ruby James Vita said...

Crazy! I need to go here. I love wings.

Chao said...

I totally called them Tear-an-too-lah wings. I always do that now. I can't stop!!!!