Wings at Wing Stop pleasingly spiced, but don’t expect much in service

“The Wing Experts,” Wing Stop calls themselves (itself?), and they’ve even trademarked it.

They won’t get much of an argument from me. We had a 12-wing basket ($9.99), divided between original hot and garlic-Parmesan. The wings were meaty and perfectly cooked, with that crispy, chewy exterior/moist interior thing going on.

You know what else I liked about the Wing Stop’s wings? That the original hot wings were pleasingly spicy but not so incendiary that our mouths were too burned to taste much of anything. (There are two hotter levels, Cajun and atomic, which we guess satisfy the more masochistic wing-eaters among us.)

You know what I didn’t like? That the garlic-Parmesan wings were kind of powdery-dry on the outside, and that the wings didn’t come with any kind of dipping sauce. Yes, there are four dips priced separately, but as Wing Stop newbies we didn’t realize we had to order them (and nobody pointed that out) until after our food arrived.

An order of fried pickles ($4.99) did come with a choice of dip, so go figure. The pickles started out kind of interesting, because they had a thicker, crispier crust than most. After a few, though, it became clear that all that really achieved was to camouflage the vinegar tang and residual crunch that make fried pickles so enjoyable. After a few more, we realized that the thick coating retained a lot more oil than we originally thought, and eating these pickles, with or without the decent-enough ranch dip we chose with them, became more of a chore than a pleasure.

It’s a little unusual when we consider something like fried pickles greasier than french fries, but that was the case when comparing them to our loaded fries ($3.49 for regular, which we had, or $4.59 for large). From the three flavor combinations we chose the garlic-Parmesan, and they were much better than the wings in the same flavor, mainly because the garlic-Parmesan coating had been applied with a much lighter hand in this case. The fries actually were really good, kind of crunchy and with lots of cheesy flavor, and if there was a pool of grease in the bottom of the basket when we’d finished (which there was), they still seemed less greasy than the pickles.

Service was kind of bipolar. We went to Wing Stop Sports, which is more of a sports-bar type of place than a normal Wing Stop location, but it’s still counter-service, which we didn’t realize. No matter; somebody behind the counter flagged us down after we entered and looked lost, and handed us a laminated menu to make ordering easier. And so we ordered, including two draft beers, were given a number on a stick and made our way to our table.

And then we waited. It was taking longer than we thought it should have considering that the place was practically empty, but at the very least, we really would’ve liked our beers. We finally asked a bartender and he said the order-taker hadn’t told him, but we’d heard her repeating our beer order as we walked away.

Then someone else brought our food, sans napkins or flatware of any kind. The lack of flatware we can see, but wings are kinda messy; no napkins? We couldn’t find anybody to flag down, so it was back to the counter.

After that, though, a management type did a circuit of the room, opening the blinds since the sun had nearly set, stopping by to ask how things were and if we needed anything. And then the server who had brought our food came by and did the same, which seemed an odd coincidence. By that time, anyway, we’d solved our own problems.

So yes, I’d recommend Wing Stop Sports for not-overly-hot hot wings and a cold beer or two. But expect to do some of the schlepping yourself.

Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 383-0474.

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