Name: Club 400
Where: 322 Williams St Waukesha, WI 53186
Review Date: August 27, 2009
Wing Type: Bone-in wing, Non breaded, Fried
History lesson: Club 400 was started in 1948 by the father and brother of guitar legend and Waukesha native Less Paul. The place is still open, and they serve wings. Now that we’ve all learned something, let’s eat!
I visited Club 400 on Thursday, July 27 and arrived just after 6pm and the place was already quite busy. Club 400 offers a $0.25 wing special on Thursdays and for what I could see, most patrons were eating wings so it appears to be quite the popular destination for wings in Waukesha. It also appears that Thursday may be the only day to order wings from Club 400 as I couldn’t find them on their normal menu appearing to have been crossed off. The tavern is decorated with a variety of sports, music, and movie memorabilia and offers a bar area and seating areas both upstairs and downstairs.
Club 400 offers six varieties of wings: Plain, Mild, Hot, Atomic, BBQ, and Hot BBQ and you must order a minimum of 20 wings per flavor. On this occasion I was joined by my buddy Adam and his brother Ben. Both Ben and Adam went for the Mild and I went for the Hot (considered Atomic, but still reeling from the Habanero wings the night before!). We place our order, grabbed a beer, and sat down to await the wings.
The wait for the wings is about what I would have expected from a relatively small bar with a large percentage of its patrons ordering large quantities of wings, quite long. Actually the Mild wings came out after a somewhat reasonable wait (20min) despite that order being placed after my order of 20 Hot wings. My wings took about 35 minutes to arrive.
Adam and Ben graciously allowed me to sample their Mild wings while I patiently waited for my wings to finish up. First impressions were mixed. The wings were presented nicely in a basket with three sides of ranch dressing and a couple of stalks of celery, both sides included at no extra charge. However, the wings were quite small which was disappointing. These small wings led to some cooking problems too. The larger wills were actually cooked quite well; the skin had a nice crunch to it while the inside remained moist. However, the small wings were way over cooked and became dry and almost char like. The sauce was a very simple traditional buffalo style sauce that actually had quite a nice heat to it after a minute or so of eating it. Usually I like a bit more heat to my wing, but the nice flavor of spices with the subdued heat worked quite well. Adam and Ben both chose ranch as their side and while the flavor was good, it was quite runny. While both of them will swear that runny ranch is better ranch, I would like a bit thicker consistency.
Finally, after much waiting, my Hot wings arrived. They were much darker in appearance than the mild wings and one bite told me why, black pepper. The primary ingredient that gave the Hot sauce its heat was black pepper and at first it was a bit overpowering. After two or three wings I was actually thinking that I wouldn’t be able to finish my 20 wings, not due to heat, but the pepper was just so overpowering. But as I continued to eat, the pepper flavor subsided and actually left a nice heat in my mouth that wasn’t too little or too much. In fact, about halfway through my 20 wings I really couldn’t taste any pepper at all and really enjoyed the sauce. Proving that the pervious order was not an anomaly, my wings were about the same size as the previous order, and the smaller wings were over-cooked. My side was bleu cheese instead of ranch. The dressing was of a nice consistency but did not have any bleu cheese chunks and was a bit sourer than my taste cares for, but it was not the sourest tasting bleu cheese I’ve had.
In the end, when a wing is only $0.25, it’s hard to dislike it too much. And seeing it appears that the Thursday wing special may be the only day to get wings here, you’re really not getting ripped off. And while they weren’t the greatest wings ever, I would probably go back if I was in the area, but probably won’t go out of my way to get there.
Chicken Quality: Loses point for both the size of the wing and fact that the smaller wings tend to burn a bit 4/10
Sauce Quality: The Hot was loaded with a bit too much black pepper but the mild was a very flavorful standard Buffalo style sauce with just enough kick. 7/10
Sides Quality: Nice to see celery included with no extra cost. The dressings had a good taste, but the ranch was a bit watery 3/5
Sauce Variety: Enough variety in heat to please everyone plus BBQ wings if you’re not into Buffalo 3/5
Value: Yes they’re $0.25 cents, but the poor size of the wings doesn’t make them a great value. 2/3
Total: 19/33 = 58