The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 5 Wings

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Spicy interior Mexican-style wings at our No. 1 pick.
Photo by Rachel Bohanan
For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

Today, we chose to spotlight wings as the topic for this week's Rest of the Best post. And this plaintive letter from reader Shivam P. is why:

I was just wondering if you've found any places for great chicken wings. I've lived in Houston nearly all my life and sad to say the best wing's I've had so far are from Wingstop. Though they are good wings, I would think one of the fattest cities in America would have more to show in the chicken wing department than a restaurant chain. If you could give any recommendations I would love to try them out!

Shivam, have we got some wings for you.

5. Soma Sushi

These extra-crispy wings are only served at the bar, unfortunately. But they're splendid as a happy hour treat, where $5 or so will get you a plate piled high with the Korean-style fried chicken wings in a sweet and spicy sauce that begs to be licked off every finger when you're done.

4. Thanh Phuong

Thanh Phuong -- the best reason to drive to Pearland, along with Killen's -- serves its chicken wings in two different sauces: a garlic-butter sauce and a killer caramelized fish sauce. It's the latter that we're in love with, tasting like the love child of brown butter and caramelized sugar with just a salty, briny hint of the fish sauce underneath.

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Photo by Minh T Truong
3. Party Fowl

These wings are on the run: Party Fowl is (so far) the city's only wing-centric food truck. And its popular chicken-and-waffle wings helped the truck win our recent Wingtoberfest throwdown, along with some help from the maple death sauce on the waffle-breaded wings and co-owner Lyle Bento's donning of a giant chicken suit. Try not to grin when you're eating wings from these guys.

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2. Little Bitty Burger Barn

LBBB makes classic Buffalo wings that capture all the authenticity of the sports bar-style favorite without the cheesy sports bar atmosphere. But it does its customers one better than that, too, offering its wings in a variety of sauces from a sticky-sweet mango Thai chili to a wish-you-were-dead Nitro that's not for the faint of heart or tongue.

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Photo by Gary R. Wise
It's a wing party.
1. Xuco Xicana

The old Midtown location of El Patio has been transformed under Chef Jonathan Jones into a raucous, vivacious exploration of modern Mexican cuisine. Between leche de tigre-laced ceviches and kicky carne guisada tacos, you'll find his Jalisco-style wings. An odd item for a Mexican menu, perhaps, but Jones makes the queso fresco-topped wings work wonderfully through a special vinegar-based hot sauce spiked with chile de arbol, allspice, cloves, cumin, pepitas, garlic and toasted sesame seeds. And forget celery sticks; these wings are served with slices of jicama to cool off your palate between bites.



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Location Info

Venue

Map

Thanh Phuong

3236 E. Broadway, Pearland, TX

Category: Restaurant

Soma Sushi

4820 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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21 comments
FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

I couldn't disagree with you more about Xuco's wings.  My friend and I tried them when they were still "off the menu" and they were atrocious.  Unless you really enjoy chicken that is overpowered with cumin, avoid these at all costs.

flan-dez
flan-dez

If you want classics. Try out Wings Pizza N Things if you're up north. It's on Tomball Parkway. and don't get it confused with Wings N Things!  Their burgers are really tasty and juicy! and it's cheap !!!

Megan
Megan

Um, El XX's photo?  Unless I'm mistaken, that's not jicama.  It looks suspiciously like cucumber.

Megan
Megan

Oh, I prefer jicama over cucumber any day - cucumber seeds make me gag because they're slimy.  Plus, there's a nice satisfying crunch to jicama.  And the better to mop up any additional sauce.  Mmmmm....

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

You're correct - my mistake.

DDG
DDG

In that photo it's cucumber, but the last time I had XX's wings, they had jicama. 

Jones
Jones

The Houston Press seems to be promoting Xuco Xicana at least twice a week.  It's getting a bit obnoxious. 

CAPSLOCKGUY
CAPSLOCKGUY

CONSPIRACY THEORISTS UNITE! ANVIL, XUCO XICANA, THE PRESS LOVES THEM! LOL!!! YOU COMMENTERS ARE THE WORST! CONSPIRACY, CONSPIRACY, THE HOUSTON PRESS WROTE ABOUT XUCO XICANA AGAIN! HEY, JONES, WHY DON'T YOU WRITE FOR THE HOUSTON PRESS, THEN YOU CAN PROMOTE YOUR FAVORITES!! LOL!!! YOU SUCK! 

Jones
Jones

Katharine, thanks for your response.  

CAPSLOCKGUY, I appreciate your civility and tactfulness.  

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

And never forget to add El Real to your conspiracy list. HP certainly has an agenda. Seems like they would just want to promote good food instead of telling us all about restaurants and shit...

Well played CAPSLOCKGUYTA

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

They were our Best of Houston winner this year, and a reader requested our picks for wings, and so there you have it. No grander conspiracy at play than that.  ;)

Wuwu
Wuwu

AKA Sushi on Alabama basil chix wings, unreal....I had the Xuco ones, althought tasty and original not even in my top 5!  Say what you want, Buffalo Wild Wings spicey garlic wings are the real deal too....

Zippy
Zippy

Needs more classic buffalo wings. 

Ecnordstrom
Ecnordstrom

um, Breakfast Klub?

H_e_x
H_e_x

I love 'em but the people here seem to hate them.

Feldman
Feldman

Honorable mention should go to Mai's on Milam. You get six, crispy fried wings on top of a bed of grilled garlic, jalapenos and peppers. The wings themselves are not spicy but combined with the jalapenos and garlic can really give them a kick. They're very tasty. I like to get 'em wet with some fish sauce or some sweet & sour sauce. 

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