Sugar bum rush
Fire Wings8785 Center Pkwy.
Sacramento, CA 95823
Critics are supposed to be dispassionate about their subjects. However, we all have our preferences. It cannot be helped. At times we simply have to keep our excitement (or disdain) in check and remain as focused as possible.
For me, this can be difficult when confronted with a big plate of chicken wings because, ladies and gentlemen, I will end you if you get between me and a plate of wings.
So, naturally, when I was informed that a new wing joint in south Sacramento called Fire Wings had opened, I immediately knocked down my fellow food critics and volunteered.
Wing-wise, what it comes down to is three things: the chicken, the flavors and the dips.
Here, chicken is offered bone-in and boneless. Both are moist and meaty. The puritans will love that the bone-in wings and drumettes have plenty of girth, while the boneless nuggets are gargantuan in size. (’Murica!)
To quote Jennifer 8. Lee in her famous TED Talk, “The Hunt for General Tso,” “It’s sweet, it’s fried, it’s chicken: Americans will love this.” She was talking about General Tso’s chicken, but the concept applies here in most of the flavors. Let’s break down a few:
Peking: I felt cheated by the name. These are simply wings glazed in candy red sweet-and-sour sauce.
Salt & Pepper Wings: Cocaine isn’t as addictive as these wings. Phenomenal.
Jamaican Jerk: I don’t think the owners know what jerk flavor is. No herbs or spices except for gobs of cinnamon, and the heat level is nonexistent. A heavy dredge of sugar made these wings taste like they came from the airport Cinnabon.
Malaysian Curry Rub: These taste like a yellow curry, but in chicken-wing form. Noms.
Thai Chili: #fishsauce #iwantyouinsideme
Cali Rub: This makes for a pathetic attempt at an actual barbecue rub. Add some chili powder, chipotle, thyme, paprika, cumin—hell, add some salt. Lose some sugar.
Peanut Butter: These are wings dipped in a Thai peanut sauce. Good for one wing, then you’ll feel heavy and sick. Still too much sugar.
Mango Habanero: I call bullshit on there being any of either ingredient actually present in that glaze. More sugar.
Meanwhile, the dips, frankly, are pedestrian. They’re tasty, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve tried honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and barbecue sauces. They’re no different here than they are elsewhere.
A number of sides are available. The fries are fine enough and come out hot and crispy. The mac ’n’ cheese is uberprocessed, but still better than the stuff made by most restaurants in town. The coleslaw should be avoided because it’s dressed in a sauce that is 99 percent—you guessed it—sugar.
Cost here is flexible when it comes to the actual chicken, and ranges from six pieces and a dip from $8.99 to a 100-piece pack with eight dips, fries, two sides and veggies for $94.95. Plus, on Tuesdays, wings are 50 cents each.
Fire Wings is not revolutionary in the slightest. Still, for a good time and food that encourages eating with your hands, mountains of stained napkins and dining with only your best crew, it’s hard to go wrong. Just avoid the too, too-sweet flavors and dips and you’ll be happy.