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D Spot in East Metro

Maplewood? Oakdale? Not sure. You make the call. But I took I-94 to Century/MN120, went north and got to D Spot at 705 N. Century.

I've been wanting to try this place since I read about it on heavytable.com.

It was great! I got to try 4 of their 60 varieties. They were distinct and delicious and the wings seemed like real, fresh chicken wings. Not some industrial "parts is parts" chicken from a factory.

The sauces were good. Damn good. And really really different. In no particular order:

Traditional BBQ,

Blueberry Maple - really good...but more of a dessert wing, not that there's anything wrong with wings for dessert

Dirty Dozen - jerk, sriracha, harissa and honey? wow!)

Ben Grimm - curry curry peanuts, pineapple, coconut and more curry?

They looked like they were finished on the grill. Carmelization was apparent and abundant and added complex flavors.

56 flavors left to try...too bad the St. Paul location didn't fly.

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  1. St. Paul location didn't fly? Assuming you mean the one on Burns Ave. - has it closed already?

    7 Replies
    1. re: mull0263

      the saint paul location LOOKS like it might be operable but they have not been open when i stopped by.

      1. re: zfwp

        It was supposed to open a few weeks ago (according to their FB page and talking with them last time I was in there). Recently, there was a vague "we'll have big news soon" on their Facebook page as well, then nothing.

        Anyway...besides all of that, the wings are outstanding. Incredible Hulk are a very nice curry...I usually order some of those and then try two other flavors. No duds yet.

        Oh, and supposedly the burgers are excellent as well. Darin (the head dude) was giving me the skinny on all the ingredients, quality, etc. He even brought out a bacon slab to show me (one of their burgers has ground bacon involved)....apparently he has some specific parameters around the curing, sourcing, etc. I was a little dizzy from it all to be honest...I was just waiting for my food and couldn't absorb everything. Bottom line -- he cares a lot about everything in there. If I get around to trying the burger, I'll post about it.

        1. re: MSPD

          Yeah, he's definitely a passionate guy. I have enjoyed the wings I have had so far there. If their 'we'll have big news soon' comment means they've got a liquor or beer/wine license coming there would definitely be a lot more wings in my diet.

          For the record, the one burger I had there was pretty good.

          1. re: mull0263

            apparently the burns avenue location is closed, they say they are trying to open in dinkytown.

            1. re: zfwp

              Went last weekend. Gentleman working the counter mentioned end of August for Dinkytown opening.

              Tried 4 different types of wings, to varying levels of success.
              Mango curry flavored supposed to be hot, Ben Grimm, Frenchy, and Traditional BBQ.
              Liked the Ben Grimm and Traditional BBQ. One is over the top (Grimm as explained in original post) and the other is really simple but both were really tasty.
              Disliked strongly the Frenchy - balsamic reduction and caramelized onions - way too much balsamic flavor, zero onion. Sounded intriguing, and IMHO less is more with anything balsamic.
              Indifferent on the mango curry flavor - good flavor, listed as hot, certainly was not.

              I like the concept and will return, they've got a sucker in me because I'm willing to work my way through the misses to find the 'hits'.

              1. re: eastlakovore

                Went again last night.

                Fruity Pebbles - not so good.
                Pineapple BBQ - pretty good.
                Ginger - GREAT!
                Black Widow - ok, but overrated.
                Vaporizer - I've got a head cold so I liked them.
                Tarantula - Never has the line between genius and insanity been drawn so thin in the medium of Fried Garlic on Chicken Wings.

                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                  Went Saturday night and was very, very pleased. Buffalo Bill Wings were the best version I have ever had. El Loco were as advertised, extremely hot. I was able to only finish six before my tongue began to pulsate. Great heat and great flavor. These folks are doing it up the right way and I will be back.

    2. Black Widow - Good
      Incredible Hulk - Even better
      Pesto - Delicious, this is a must for those garlic and Parmesan lovers!
      Jerk - Pretty typical jerk but still good
      Mashed Potato and Gravy - WHY DID YOU DISAPPEAR OFF THE MENU?!?!?! I've been to D-Spot three times now and each time I am told that I may not order these because they do not have all the ingredients to make and now it is off the menu. I'm upset I never got to try it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pinkdolll

        So, according to an article I read the St. Paul location had to close. The chef/owner had employees steal something like $11,000 fron the place. He has now partnered? with a restaurant in New Brighton, MN called Glory Days. This joint has had issues since they first opened and changed owners a few times, so hopefully the new menu wil help them out. I just went last week and had Buffalo wings, Honey BBQ wings, Puff the Magic Dragon wings, and a burger. Everything was really good. Well at least I heard the burger was good from my co-worker. Oh, and we all liked the fries too. I hope they do well and keep up with the good eats. NB definately needs more good food venues.

        Right now they are doing a soft menu opening so only a few flavors are available and they will keep adding on more.

      2. LOVE. Crispy and perfect and such amazing flavors. The wings are all everyone says and more.
        My rundown:
        Jerk--dry rub. just eh. The only miss, flavor-wise, but still perfectly cooked. Next time I'll try one of the other jerk-inclusive varieties instead.
        Honey butter--amazing. Who knew.
        Marsala--ask for a spoon or get an order of fries to scoop up all of the delicious leftover sauce. Crazy good.
        Incredible Hulk--green curry. My favorite from what we sampled. Super duper tasty.
        Everything else I saw come out for other tables looked great, too. The burger looked like it needs to be on the to-try list and I am not even much of a restaurant burger enthusiast.

        I do have to say the beverage situation leaves quite a bit to be desired--bottled water and cans of soda only. I appreciate that the focus is on making amazing food and keeping things as simple as possible, but really. Fountain sodas or a water cooler and cups at the very least please.

        I'll be back soon despite the fact that it's on the other side of the planet from me and that I left smelling like fryer.

        2 Replies
        1. re: splatgirl

          I first tried it a couple of weeks ago. I liked it so much I went back the next day with another diner and tried some different flavors. Excellent both times and both persons I was with declared that they would be back, as well. I don't remember every flavor we tried, though we did shy away from the "dessert wings". Maybe next time.

          But my real reason for responding is to second splatgirl's comment about smelling like a fryer. Both times by the time we left, there was a visible haze in the room. And that was with weather nice enough to leave doors open. Could be really interesting in the wintertime. I'm hopeful that Darin (the "D" of D-Spot) can upgrade the ventilation system soon.

          1. re: steve_in_stpaul

            +1 on the fryer haze problem on my visit, likewise on a day when the door could have been propped open.

        2. No doubt about that smokey fry haze.Sure makes it a guys kind of place.I get the wings,well half wings as nobody sells a wing as a whole wing.Nice size though and very very saucy.I get the medium varieties as whats the point of going ridiculously hot.I do want to taste the succulent wing flavor.About the burger.Im not a burger authority,but those burgers are in my top 3 ever.I grab one of those 2 go and eat it in the car as Im driving.I get the special of the day burger and it would be criminal to add any other topping to it other than the well thought out toppings the chef presented it with..Now,I just need to check out the new venture at Glory days as its closer to me.

          4 Replies
          1. re: shikken

            There is something on Twitter that indicates that is not happening. Would have been way closer to me, too. Boo.

            1. re: splatgirl

              Hmm ... Darin (owner) seemed to be proceeding right along with it when we chatted two weeks ago. I wonder what changed....

              Twitter post says "@snyde043 @jakenyberg sadly D-SPOT is no longer at Glory Days. Partnership couldn't be worked out. We will be creating their new menu."

              1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                Yeah, and when I talked to one of the guys yesterday, he said the Dinkytown thing isn't in the works.

                1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                  I was just at Glory days last week and had some D-spot wings and a burger. I don't know what that Twitter post is referring to, unless Glory Days was supposed to be completely owned by and called D-Spot?

            2. Brother and I hit up D Spot tonight and it was outstanding. Staff was extremely nice and walked us through the physical menu and actually let us know they have many flavors not on the menu. Darin, the owner chatted us up towards the end of our meal which is always nice.

              Tarantula = Best wings of the night. Such a unique flavor. Kind of Kung Pao'ey but better. Love the fried garlic on top.

              Ben Grimm = Really savory. Peanut flavor overwhelmed the curry which will lead me to get the regular green curry wings next time around.

              Widow Maker = Awesome combo of flavors. Will def get these next visit.

              Puff The Magic Dragon = Not on print menu. You taste the almost floral roasted red pepper then the heat hits you. These were rated at 500k SHU and apparently they have wings that are upwards of 5 million SHU.

              The Fries = Best fries I have had anywhere. The cut, crispyness, and seasoning all add up to an memorable fried potato experience. The harissa aioli is a great compliment and are great for dipping into the delicious wing sauces.

              The only negative on the dining experience was the haze that lingers throughout the restaurant. If they cracked the door on a chilly evening like tonight it would serve the purpose of both ventilation and cooling of the dining area. All-in-all, I cannot wait to go back to continue the flavor journey they have going on.

              4 Replies
              1. re: NugarifiK

                Heh. We were there tonight, too. Flavors tonight were Pesto, Meatball (the old "Magic Meatballs" cocktail-sauce-and-jelly combo), Johnny Appleseed (reduced apple juice, blue cheese crumbles, thyme, and carmelized onions), and Honey BBQ (I know, I know,...). Onion rings on the side.

                The pesto was quite creamy and really worked for all of us. I haven't had Magic Meatballs in centuries; it seemed odd in the context of a chicken wing, but I'd eat them again. I thought the Appleseeds were good even though I'm not a fan of sweet wings; the thyme and blue cheese do a good job knocking down the sweetness. The Honey BBQ was ... well, Honey BBQ. It's the D's Spot equivalent of the Baskin-Robbins vanilla cone: well executed, but ... why?? The onion rings parallel the fries -- not greasy, well-seasoned, and you can figure out what vegetable was used to prepare them.

                I would echo NugarifiK's comments about the staff. They are energetic and friendly and responsive and they seem to be having a good time. I wish more staffs were that "present".

                And NugarifiK is right about the haze. This is my fourth visit to the Maplewood Spot. My wife has been there once with work pals. Each time the haze has been somewhere between noticeable and almost suffocating (I think it depends on whether they're cooking really spicy wings).

                Darin came by at the end of our meal again and I commented that the haze really makes it a less attractive place to visit, He said something about people messing around with the equipment on the roof. Maybe I didn't hear it quite right; it's loud in there. But I really wish they'd find a way to bump up the ventilation there. Opening doors to the outside when it's 10 degrees out -- especially since the door opens right onto some of the tables -- is not a sustainable strategy. But I'm sure we'll be returning periodically to review progress on the ventilation. ;-)

                1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                  In my experiences here I have only found this "Haze" to be a slight problem when I pick up wings to go and am seated at the front bench. Having dined in the designated dining area several times and I have not had a problem with this "Haze" which seems to only loom above the kitchen area. It is not a problem to me at all but I could see how it could be a problem for some. This minor quirk however has not or would never stop me from stopping by to try IMO the Twin Cities best and most unique wings.

                  1. re: EricShawnSmith

                    You must not have been there the other day when they were doing an industrial-grade cleaning of the grill grate right smack dab in the middle of the lunch rush. It was ridiculous -- the whole place was filled with smoke. I love the food there, etc., but that was a pretty stupid maneuver.

                    1. re: EricShawnSmith

                      Yeah, I think you've lucked out, Eric. When we were there Thursday, the smoke went all the way to the west wall of the room and it was acrid. We actually debated ordering for take-out.

                      I'd write off the haze if it were the first time or even the second in a brief interval. But it wasn't. Darin has been apologizing for the haze. But in a month of visits I don't see that anything constructive has been done about it.

                      The wings are great and Darin and the staff are capable and fun, but the haze gets in the way of me and my guests enjoying our meals. And, honestly, I don't think OSHA or the fire marshal would be too keen on it, either.

                2. Really, what's up with the web site...great food..but have to go there to get a menu and then order. (then it is 40 minute wait)Like to order ahead, but his web is not completed(for over 1 year now, Come on Darin get your web page up....please...

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: harleyjt

                    Websites aren't cheap. Can you call ahead?

                    1. re: semanticantics

                      You can call ahead but it is useless without seeing this "multi-million dollar" website you speak of.

                      1. re: EricShawnSmith

                        What are you even talking about? Maplewood location (the one that actually exists) has prices and flavors.

                        1. re: semanticantics

                          I think I see what Eric is talking about.

                          Here's the website: http://www.eatatdspot.com/
                          Visitors do have to descend one more layer by clicking on "Choose Maplewood Location"

                          And there it gets stupid.

                          I am using IE 8.0 as my browser and yes, it absolutely looks half-finished because the dark background loads only partially down the page, even in compatibility view, so all that can be read are the Scorpion's Lair selections.

                          The rest of the items in the WingName column are white font on a white background, which is the same as invisible. All that can be discerned is an ingredient list, which can make for a very tense time on the phone if one is trying to order "honey, bbq sauce" but not "blueberry, honey, bbq sauce."

                          Developers who code their sites on one machine for one browser, without checking to see how they display on Macs AND. PCs, Mozilla AND everything else, laptops AND PDAs, deserve to be smacked for pure thickheadedness.

                            1. re: KTFoley

                              The menu works fine on the iPhone. However there is no address listed, just a phone number.

                              It would appear the website has the same priority level as functional ventilation.

                              1. re: KTFoley

                                The haze comes and goes, but the horrible and slow as molasses web-site (and great wings are here to stay.

                                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                  Website works great on my laptop. Menu, prices and address. Also works swimmingly on my Galaxy S3.

                      2. Pardon the interruption, but in order to keep the discussion strictly focused on the chow, we've removed some extended discussion of the functionality of the restaurant's website. Please keep the discussion from here on out focused on the food.

                        Thank you!

                        1. Tonight's update:

                          - Cordon Bleu wings. I don't know why I hold low expectations of anything I've had at D's. But I expected a breaded version of the mound of chicken often sold in the frozen-food aisle. This is much better than that. The ham flavor is a little reticent, but it is there. And the crumby coating is not there. A good choice.

                          Almond Joy wings. So help me this should not work. :-) I've had chicken mole elsewhere, so I know chocolate can be paired with chicken. But this isn't the unsweetened cocoa of mole, nor does it have the spice of mole. It's a dark chocolate coating with flecks of coconut. Almonds? Maybe. I ate them too quickly to notice. :-o Six of these is overkill, but to share a bunch of them at a table makes an interesting "dessert" wing.

                          As for the frequent haze, we were there for a couple of hours and we did not see a cloud of oil as in previous visits. I am hopeful they've upgraded the ventilation.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                            I was here on Saturday for the first time. I've been wanting to try this place since it opened and I finally made it there. My experience is about the same as everyone elses, awesome wings, friendly helpful staff, horrible ventilation. Sadly it doesn't appear anything positive has happened on that end in the last several months. Saturday evening was really cold and windy and while I didn't much care for the blast of cold that kept hitting me in the back everytime the door opened, I appreciated that some of that smoke was able to escape. Everyone was complaining about it and my eyes watered the entire time I was there. Even though I live 30 miles away, I think I'll order take out next time. And yes, I will definitly be back. These were the best wings I've had anywhere. We ordered the following:

                            Buffalo - we needed a baseline and these were as good as any I've had anywhere. Nice and meaty, in a wet sauce but not super saucy. Maybe slightly spicier than your average restuarant buffalo wings. We ordered a side of the bleu cheese dressing and it was great too. Solid.

                            Tarantula - Really really good wings....like someone else said, you can't believe how much flavor is added by the fried garlic.These were the most mild of the wings we tried, but also the most flavorful. Just really great wings. I would go back for these.

                            Muay Thai - These were hands down my favorite wings. I would drive across town and brave that smokey haze any day of the week for these. I would say medium spicy, lots of peanut butter flavor, with the right amount of chili heat and chopped peanuts on top. These were sooooo good. Very saucy too. I can't wait to try these again.

                            Fries - The fries are awesome as well. I don't normally care for seasoned fries but these were really exceptional. The dipping sauce was also pretty addictive.

                            I can't wait to go back and work my way through that menu. In a perfect world, there would be a D Spot closer to home with a full bar. i feel like I could get a lot more of my friends interested in this place if they at least had a beer license. I'm also excited to try the burgers. i was chatting with some of the other customers and everyone was raving about the burgers.

                            P.S. the website still sucks but appears to work great in firefox, so if you're ordering take out and trying to figure out the menu, I suggest you use firefox and not IE.

                            1. re: Bobannon

                              Next time you go, dip some fries in the tarantula sauce. Epic stuff. I've got to hit up D-Spot soon.

                              1. re: Bobannon

                                I'm really anxious to go, but the whole smog idea is not particularly appealing. If it actually got to the point of hurting your eyes, that is flat out unacceptable. I have to believe they're working on it, but getting proper ventilation in place should be their #1 priority.

                            2. Forgot to post a couple of weeks ago about another visit. Great wings, as usual. Great fries, as usual. However, the air actually was pretty clear. I don't know if it was the lunchtime visit or a certain sauce ingredient was off the menu, but the air was more than tolerable in the room.

                              1. I forgot to add that the last time I was at D Spot (3 weeks ago) it was about 1pm and the air was clean as could be. Made the wings that much better.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: NugarifiK

                                  Dspot came in 7th on the city pages new list

                                  http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2013/...

                                  Anyone been to the top ones?

                                  1. re: brlattim

                                    I've been to Hickory Hut about a half million times for wings. It's the full chicken wing with a dusting of spices and then a choice from about a dozen sauces (served on the side).

                                    I consider it a different kind of animal than D Spot. I enjoy both far more than I should.

                                    1. re: MSPD

                                      Thats kind of what I thought when reading the article. Kind of like comparing chicago pizza to NY....just different....both are great.

                                      I definitely want to try Dspot as I try to always and only frequent locally owned restaurants with my wife. We try a new place every other week. This week it is Victory 44 for brunch. Last week it was Travail (one of our go to's as we live close) and Brasa. No more eating out for a while for me.

                                    2. re: brlattim

                                      The only spot I've been to on the list besides DSpot is #5, the Spring Street Inn. I didn't think they were near as good as Dspot. i'll have to check the others out.

                                      1. re: Bobannon

                                        Was kind of surprised to see Spring Street's on the list - don't recall them being any different than standard bar wings.

                                      2. re: brlattim

                                        How did Runyon's not make that list or is it just because they've been considered the best for so long that City Pages decided to be "edgy" by leaving them off? Or is it because Monte Carlo and Runyon's have the same owner and then likely the same wings?

                                        1. re: Db Cooper

                                          Last year City Pages voted Shamrock's as having the best wings in town. Having had their wings I gotta say they were no better than Dominoes. That should give you an idea of CP's wing judging cred. I agree wholeheartedly with you, however, Runyon's wings are amazing, time and time again.

                                          1. re: EricShawnSmith

                                            Agreed on both points. Shamrocks/Nook wings are fine. Not bad, but not anything spectacular.

                                            Runyon's, on the other hand, has consistently had the best wings in town for years. It's fine to keep putting them on your lists, people.

                                            1. re: EricShawnSmith

                                              City Pages likes to spread the love around to increase the opportunities to sell advertising.

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                They also have a new writer (at least the person that wrote this).

                                      3. FINALLY made my first trip last night, on a complete whim.

                                        Walked in around 4:30 to an empty restaurant (aside from a few people in the kitchen, obviously).

                                        Really enjoyed my visit, start to finish.

                                        1) Black widow wings - Pretty hard to decide on one flavor, but given the multiple good reviews I've seen, I thought I'd give them a shot. No real description of the flavor, just that it is a combo of two other flavors, also which were not to be seen on the menu. Anyway, these were a good combination of spice (not too much), sweet, sticky...just good. I could have gone for more wings, but I've also heard good burger reviews, and I'm always on the hunt for a good burger, so I went that route.

                                        2) Luciann with fries - The Luciann is a simple double with cheese, and it was just that, but very good. It could have used some sort of sauce, and I did add some of the fry sauce to the top (along with a few fries), but I will probably get slaw for it next time. The fries were also quite good. Heavily seasoned, but not overly salty.

                                        Great trip. Will definitely be back.

                                        1. I've been intending to try this out for several years now. Last night my young nephew was in town for some training. He's from up North and doesn't get to the city very often.

                                          He loved the place. It's a young guy's type of place. We both had burgers. He loved the Lucianne. I'm afraid I loved the 50/50 (half beef/half bacon). I'm afraid it's one of the best burgers I've had in town.

                                          We both had the simple buffalo wings, which were pretty good. We thought, however, they did not measure up to the wings at Bimbo's, a great bar on Sturgeon Lake north of Hibbing and Chisholm. I had an order of Iberian wings (chorizo and smoked paprika) expecting them to be savory, but they were a little sweet, therefore not satisfying.

                                          The air quality was OK. The music was blaring, which my nephew enjoyed and I didn't.

                                          I'd go back for takeout alone, since I don't know anyone else who would enjoy the atmosphere. I most definitely would drive across town to have that burger again. It was outstanding.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: shoo bee doo

                                            I'm glad someone else had tried the burgers. My ONLY knock, from 3 trips now, is a lack of sauce on the Lucianne. Add mayo/special sauce of some sort (or slaw, which I do) and it's an epic burger. Still, being on the East side of town, it's the best burger around.

                                            The ambiance is definitely different. All the times I've been in, (just waiting for carry out last time), they were blaring 80s/90s hip hop, which I didn't mind, but the restaurant area was full of a mix of folks who probably didn't enjoy it, for the most part. No big deal, it's their choice.

                                            1. re: BigE

                                              The 50/50 had a tomato aioli, which I didn't taste much because the hamburger itself was so flavorful. It also didn't need more moisture since there was a whole lot of permeated bacon fat. It was sinfully delicious. Since I'm doing a modified paleo diet, I guess I wasn't sinning too much.

                                          2. Has anyone tried the ghost challenge? They are free if you can do it right?