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:
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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!
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.
LOVE. Crispy and perfect and such amazing flavors. The wings are all everyone says and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ;-)
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.
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.
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.