Restaurant Review: Wings in Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska

Eight wing joints—one Wild in name; all wild by nature.
Tavern 4&5's pig wings are delicious and decadent.

Wings are the ultimate equalizer. Dolled-up dates and primped-up partners transform from civilized carnivores into ravenous, bone-suckling beasts picking at that perfect wing or drummie. Wings can disrupt dinner-date discomfort in a flash. Both parties look endearingly unappealing with a buffalo mustache. Served as a side-dish at a sports party, rivalries dissolve in an explosion of flavor and flair. We sampled the servings of the finest southwest metro wing eateries, and are pleased to suggest a few of our favorites. Bring your date or Packers-fan brother-in-law, and break the ice with some slick-winged style.   Pig “Wings”Tavern 4&5Eden Prairie’s new eatery, Tavern 4&5, boldly suggests that pigs can fly. Abandon all preconceived appetizer notions at the door. You are no wings expert until you have sampled their famous Pig “Wings” ($12). Roasted, grilled, and glazed to perfection, you may never go back to chicken again. Head chef Zac Leeman combines the flavor of an Asian-influenced barbecue sauce with a Chinese five-spice dry rub. All ingredients are fresh and prepared in-house, so you know your pig didn’t fly far to reach your plate. Pair it with a Deschutes Black Butte Porter ($5 pint), and make your appetizer soar. 16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie; 952.934.4545.   Thai Chili WingsHoppers Bar & GrillRather than parcel out wing orders for hungry customers throughout the week, Hoppers Bar & Grill in Waconia makes a night out of it. Thursday night is wing night, and the birds are in hearty abundance. Your choice of six flavors range from the standard barbecue to the more exotic Thai Chili, a favorite of co-owner Paul Mackenthun. Hoppers also makes its own buffalo sauce, so you know these wings were created with love. Did we mention the sweet price? $4.95 for a pound of wings. (That’s around 12 or 13 wings!) Wings are only served from 5-10 p.m. Thursdays, so get there early, because these wings are a Waconia favorite. 119 Olive St., Waconia; 952.442.1149.   Paradise Chicken WingsSawatdeeAt Sawatdee, paradise is a wing away. Rather than stuffed with boring old bones, the Paradise Chicken Wings ($8.50) have had their marrowed-middles removed and replaced with silver-thread noodles, black mushrooms, pork and water chestnuts. Manager Ying Overstar pairs her wings with the Som Tum salad. This confection of fresh green papaya is served shredded and topped with peanuts and Thai seasonings, creating the perfect spicy entrée to complement your appetizer ($8.00). 13300 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie; 952.641.5777.   Sweet BBQBuffalo Wild WingsA collection of delicious chicken wings without the legendary Buffalo Wild Wings just wouldn’t be complete. Manager Larry Caldwell of the Buffalo Wild Wings in Chanhassen keeps it simple with the Sweet BBQ on the mild end of the flavor spectrum, and pairs the sweeter sauces with a local Fulton brew ($6.50). The snack size (5 for $5.99) is a perfect number for an appetizer, or make a meal out of it and order a platter (15 for $14.29).  As always, wings are only 60 cents each on Tuesdays for boneless or regular. 550 W. 79th St., Chanhassen; 952.934.9453. Mother Plocher’s Jerk WingsFloyd’s BarMother Plocher’s Jerk Wings are a much friendlier delight than their name suggests. A dozen Mother Plocher’s ($9.75) or ten boneless wings ($8.50) are the perfect blend of crispy texture and Caribbean Jerk flavor. We like the Jerk, but let it be known that manager Gina O’Dorsky promotes the wings plain because “they stay crispier longer.” Pair with a Floyd’s signature Golden Margarita ($6) and experience the island wing flavor with cool Mexican flair. 1758 Arboretum Blvd., Victoria; 952.443.9944.   Spicy BBQ WingsHeartbreaker’s Bar & GrillWith a name like “Heartbreaker’s,” you know this bar turns up the heat. An order of Spicy BBQ wings comes in serving sizes of 6, 8, or 12 with ranch dressing and celery to quench your spice-engulfed tongue ($8.49, $10.49, $14.99). “Darker beers go better with all sorts of wings. Lighter beers are taken over by the flavor of the wings,” advises manager Martin Hook. And when it comes to spicy wings, you better stick with a stout or a porter. Your IPA won’t stand a chance. 222 Pioneer Trail, Chaska; 952.448.2743.   Wings to GoFamous Dave’s and PizzaioliOne of the fine features of the chicken wing is its portability. They are easily transportable for those nights where you prefer your couch and a movie on Netflix to a loud restaurant and a strained conversation. Famous Dave’s in Eden Prairie has an order option online for take-out, whereas Pizzaioli in Chanhassen will bring them straight to your door.Keep it old school with the boneless ($9.49) or traditional ($9.99) wings from Famous Dave’s – don’t forget to ask them to toss in a few wet wipes with your order.             Pizzaioli’s Authentic Italian Herb Wings ($5.99) are our choice for dining at home. Served with Bleu Cheese or Ranch, these avian appetizers are the perfect prequel to a pie, or a stand-alone dish. Place your order online or by phone. Famous Dave’s, 590 Prairie Center Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.941.5849; Pizzaioli, 588 W. 78th St., Chanhassen; 952.949.9777.