Chicken wings, no matter who makes them, are a lot of work for very little chicken. They’re more like an activity, something to do with your hands while watching the big game, than a meal. They’re more a receptacle for sauces and beer batter than an actual source of meat.
Wings, the kosher chicken wing restaurant that opened last week in Tel Aviv, understands the real purpose of chicken wings. That’s why, in addition to classic Buffalo wings, Wings has a selection of 11 varieties of sauces, with flavors from around the globe. And owner Eytan White plans to install a TV soon for watching American football games.
The ordering process at Wings is simple: Choose the number of wings you want, be it eight, 12 or 18, and whether you want them beer-breaded or not. The prices range from NIS 26 for eight without breading to NIS 58 for 18 breaded. I recommend the beer breading, which adds just the right amount of crispiness to the wings.
You can have all the wings in the same flavor or split them among various flavors.
I highly recommend the Texas sauce, a smoky barbecue sauce that is a classic for a reason; it strikes the perfect balance between spicy and smoky. Hong Kong is a tehina sauce with a sweet twist to it that gives the wings a nice twist. Bangkok is a Thai sweet chili sauce. Plus, with delicious parve ranch, aioli, red curry and yellow curry dipping sauces, the combinations are really endless.
White’s favorite flavors are Ko Samui, made of peanut butter, coconut milk and curry; and Buffalo, a variety on the wings he would make for his friends who would come to his place, dipped in ranch.
His Buffalo wings are, in fact, the inspiration for Wings.
“I wanted to start my own restaurant since I was about 12 years old,” says the 29-year-old White. “I always thought it was something I’d do when I retired, though, because it’s a tough business.”
White made aliya from the US seven years ago. He went into the army, worked in hi-tech and started his own business as a handyman. He also spearheaded White City Shabbat, communal Friday night dinners that regularly draw hundreds of guests, and he still wears a souvenir rubber bracelet from the Guinness World Record biggest Shabbat he helped plan, with 2,226 people in attendance. And he wears a kippa. If your next question is “Is he single?” the answer is yes.
While he was busy with other endeavors, White would invite friends to his apartment to watch football games, and they would enthusiastically devour his Buffalo wings.
“People told me I should open a wings place, and then some people offered to invest if I opened one, so I thought, ‘Maybe there’s something here,’” White recounts.
Together with chef Leon Alkalai, who owns the Tony Vespa pizza chain and built the menu for the pan- Asian restaurant chain Giraffe, White refined his Buffalo wings recipe and came up with the other 12 sauces.
Of course, wings are the specialty at Wings, but there’s also a NIS 24 option for three skewers of beerbattered boneless chicken thighs (pargiyot) for those who feel like they need a little more meat in their chicken dinner, with any of the wings sauces.
Plus the side dishes are perfection.
The French fries (NIS 12) and sweet potato fries (NIS 12) are super-thin and crispy, and the onion rings (NIS 14) are actually made of real rings of onion – a rarity in Israel, where most onion rings are filled with mush that may have been an onion in a past life – coated in a scrumptious beer batter.
There are salads on the menu, but really, if you want a salad, why go to a wings place? To drink, Wings has wine for only NIS 14 and beer brewed by The Stranger in Tel Aviv, hard apple cider or lemonade for NIS 24.
Wings has a handful of tables indoors and out, plus a bar along the window. It is decorated with a funky stars-and-stripes motif in white, black and yellow tiles.
I went to the restaurant with a group of eight friends, and the staff handled the large order with aplomb, even though the place was crowded.
Wings does not deliver yet, though White says that is the eventual plan.
Don’t bother using a napkin while you eat – your hands will get very dirty and sticky, no matter what you do. Luckily, every order comes with wipes.
A nice big order at Wings with a side of fries or onion rings is a great quick lunch if you work in the Rothschild area or a fun order for game night, and a delicious one, well worth the work it takes to get to the meat.Wings
12 Herzl Blvd.,Tel Aviv