in my quest for THE GREATEST WINGS OF ALL, i had my attention turned to honey’s sports bar restaurant. now, this was a recommendation from a friend’s friend, so neither of us had ever been here. but we had heard: great wings! delicious fun! and beer!
AND SO we went to honey’s, in carrollwood. honey’s is a sports bar, and so naturally they had televisions displaying sports of all types. they also had the japan’s national sport of singing terribly in public, also known as karaoke. we were greeted with terrible singing from terrible people, which is exactly the environment i like for wings. LET’S DO THIS THANG.
the place is just what you imagine when you hear “sports bar” – there’s a bar, some arcade machines filling a small room in the back, and a larger general dining area. there’s also a patio, which we probably should have eaten at. instead, we stayed inside with the lousy singing, and were sat at a booth near a couple cops. out of fear, i discretely ate all my illegal drugs and drug-related paraphernalia (“the wrath of bong”, my large glass water pipe, did not go down smoothly). i was not feeling well at this point, but a strange hunger soon consumed me, and all i could think about was the meal ahead of us.
honey’s boasts both “famous buffalo wings” and “legendary pizza”. i came to honey’s for wings, so i did not get any pizza. that will be for another day. but i did wind up getting a crazy appetizer that for some reason i just couldn’t resist. i would now like to introduce you to:
THE GARBAGE PLATE
the garbage plate is the ultimate appetizer. consisting of a tortilla chip and french fry base, the plate is smothered in honey’s chili, cheddar and jack cheeses, hot peppers (specifically, banana peppers), green onions, and their medium wing sauce, with a dollop of sour cream on top. my friend was generous enough not to eat any of it, leaving me alone to try to put a dent in it. let’s just say that this meal fed me for days. but ordered as a group, for just 7.99, this is the perfect way to start a meal. it’s epic in both quality and quantity.
to wash this insane beast down, i asked about their beers on tap. i can no longer remember what i ended up ordering, but i know it was an IPA of some sort, which was good. from now on, i’ll try to pay more attention to these things. but here’s a pretty picture for you anyway:
and then, of course, the wings. my friend and i both ordered 16 wings each, with two different sauces. their sauce options are as follow:
Dry Mild, Saucy Mild, Medium, Hot; Honey Garlic; Spicy Honey Garlic; Cajun; Spicy Cajun; Spicy Honey Cajun; Honey’s Original BBQ; BBQ Raspberry; Honey BBQ; Garlic Parmesan; Spicy Garlic Parmesan; Honey Mustard; Spicy Honey Mustard; Boom Boom Sauce; Suicide
that’s… that’s a lot of sauces. awesome. the wings are typically fried as buffalo wings usually are, but you also have the option of ordering their “award winning bar-b-que wings”, which are cooked over an open pit and charred, rather than just being fried. you are limited to their barbecue sauces, cajun, or blackened as your options here. these are their award winning wings, and are a bit more expensive than their regular ones. we both ordered half medium wings, and my second half was the ‘char grilled’ wings, with honey’s original barbecue sauce. my friend’s second half was their regular garlic parmesan wings.
their wings come out in these little metal bowls, which you’d think they sauced them in, but are too clean for that. their wings also come with carrot sticks, celery, and their “secret” blue cheese. i don’t eat that crap. the wings themselves are generally a good size, but seem to be a bit inconsistent (some wings will look like babies, whereas others resemble monsters. this is best discussed in appropriately high-pitched or raspy low voices, e.g. “tiny wingy can’t fly!” and “monster wing eats you!!” etc). they are well fried, about what you’d expect.
the menu warns the following: “our wing sauces are hotter than you may be used to. if you normally order your wings hot-try our medium. if you order medium you may want to try mild.” so i was expecting a good kick from their medium sauce. but i found their warning to be unwarranted. the spice was about where i’d normally place it, maybe a small bit higher. but not so hot as to require issuing a warning, and certainly not too hot to handle. my friend found it to be a bit spicier than he’d like, but he had no problems eating them. i think you should expect variation in spiciness between different restaurants.
regarding the flavor itself, it was about standard. not a creamy sauce in any way, not too vinegary or anything. just a good, solid wing sauce. i was not blown away by the flavor, but i do have to say that when i order wings, this is what i expect to get. this is what i want. so they have a solid product on their hands.
these are their honey’s original barbecue wings, char grilled. okay, by comparison with their standard fried buffalo wings, i can see why these would cost more. and i can see the award winning. these were pretty damn good. the pit cooking adds a new smokey element to the flavor, most of which comes from the light charring on the outside of the wing. there is also a textural difference between the wings, though not to the point that these were falling off the bone or anything. similar, but not a different beast entirely. the sauce was sticky and sweet; “honey’s” is not just a name; it is a huge component of the sauce. it was not so sweet that it was like a candy, as the sweet sauce at skipper’s was, but it was sweet enough that i now wonder whether they might have given me honey barbecue rather than original. it was very good though; definitely order these if you go to honey’s.
i also got to sample one of my friend’s garlic parmesan wings, which i loved. my first experience with garlic parmesan wings was at wing stop, and these were quite similar to theirs. they are a drier wing than found at buffalo wild wings, who uses a very wet sauce rather than a bit of garlic ‘drizzle’ and a parmesan cheese dusting. these are crispy from the fryer, with the light garlic and parmesan flavor almost just accenting the wing. i definitely prefer these drier wings, and i loved the one i had. i immediately felt like these wings “won” the night.
and that’s it! good wings, with a lot of variety. i will go back to try more of their sauces, and probably try out that pizza. “legendary pizza” is just too tempting an offer to pass up. and maybe next time i’ll have some friends who are interested in splitting the garbage plate with me, rather than being forced to take it on all by myself. jerk.