By Ross Morrone
Winner of the wing throwdown is ... Finger-lickin' good!
1816 Boardman-Poland Road
Aces Fire Grill
1738 Boardman-Poland Road
Wings to me are as American as food can get. You may know them as wings, wingdings, boneless wings, buffalo wings, drumsticks or flats, and you may get them baked, fried, breaded, sauced, seasoned, dry rubbed or grilled.
No matter the name or the flavor, wings should all be eaten the same way — in a hand-to-hand combat style where your biggest challenge is licking all the sauce off your fingers.
If you are like me you don’t generally order wings on date night. For this reason I called my group of guys together to head out and enjoy a good old-fashioned wing throwdown and some Monday Night Football. Our competitors were new neighbors on Route 224: Inner Circle and Aces Fire Grill.
Now my crew can eat a lot, and even though we were short one — Mike’s the one friend who never shows up to anything — we were on a mission to choose a winner. Our goal was simple: Go into each restaurant, order one flavor per person and rate them from best to worst.
At the end of the night we’d compare them against each other and decide a winner.
Aces Fire Grill is the new kid on the block, so we headed there first. My impression of the interior was that they rearranged the setup from the building’s previous tenant to accommodate bands, dancing and a crowd to watch some sporting events.
We took a high-top table and quickly studied the flavors and quantities of wings.
They come in multiples of six starting at $5.29 (6), $8.99 (12), $13.49 (18) and $17.99 (24). Our four flavors for this taste were Teriyaki Hot Garlic, Hot Honey BBQ, Cajun and Raspberry BBQ.
We each took a wing from the other three and compared notes. Tony’s Teriyaki Hot Garlic wings were sweet and garlicky but also had a somewhat overpowering salt flavor. Eric’s Hot Honey BBQ were sweet but lacked the heat we were hoping for. Matt’s Cajun were coated well with spice and flavor, and the wing itself had a nice crunch. My Raspberry BBQ had a sweet introduction and tangy finish.
With our official rating system we decided it went Cajun, Raspberry BBQ, Teriyaki Hot Garlic and Hot Honey BBQ.
Overall the wings themselves were large in size, crunchy and well-coated with the various sauces. The only complaint we had as a group was that our order took well over a half hour to come out. It was partially due to the order originally being lost somewhere between the computer and the kitchen.
As with any new restaurant — even at three months— I can expect some glitches. But this one came on a night when they were not busy, and in my opinion, this was an inexcusable mistake.
Our group took to the parking lot to walk approximately 200 feet to make some room for our next taste at Inner Circle.
We had the same process in ordering one flavor per person. Their wing pricing was slightly different, higher and by multiples of 10 after 5 ($4.79), 10 ($8.99), 20 ($17.89) and 30 ($26.89). We wanted to compare the same flavors against one another, so we ordered Hot BBQ, Cajun, Honey Mustard and Hot Garlic.
The Hot BBQ wings were good once we mixed up the hot sauce a little. Cajun was identical to Aces. Hot Garlic was a nice balance of heat and garlic. The real hero of the wing night came unexpectedly with the Honey Mustard.
Normally none of us would have ordered this flavor unless we were eating a salad, but by chance we added it into the mix. It was sweet and savory, and it was brought up in temperature, the aroma of the honey and slight tang of the mustard blended perfectly with the juiciness of the wing.
Overall comparing wing to wing and pound to pound, Inner Circle’s wings were slightly larger in size and just as crunchy as Aces’.
This decision would come down to flavor comparison. Since we decided the best wings at Aces were the Cajun and it had the same rating as Inner Circle’s Cajun, there was still that Honey Mustard that took the trophy in our stomachs.
By unanimous decision the winner of this wing throwdown was Inner Circle! The next time you are looking for a basket of wings to satisfy your hunger, head out to IC in Poland and get your wing on!