Name: The Saloon on Calhoun
Where:17000 W Capitol Dr, Brookfield, WI 53005
Review Date: March 19, 2012
Edit Date: July 11, 2012
Wing Type: Traditional, Bone-in
Wing Special: Monday $0.50
The Saloon on Calhoun (oddly actually on Capitol drive, but, I guess there isn’t much to rhyme there) serves up free bacon (yes, FREE BACON) during happy hour and offers a $0.50 wing night on Monday’s. They’re also current scheduled to be at the 2012 Milwaukee Wing Fest on April 15, 2012. What will their chances be? While I’m no official judge and cannot speak for the masses, I will give you my input on their wings!
- Chicken Quality: The wings are cooked whole, so the drummy, flat, at the meatless tip are all still jointed together. When ordering we weren’t aware of this, some folks ordered close to 30 wings, which when separated ended up being 60 wings as we normally think of them! However, if not for the fact that each “wing” is actually the entire wing I would say the wings were small, but when add the drummy at the flat, thing wings were a decent size, average to above average at best. The wings themselves were cooked very nicely, a very crispy skin while maintaining a moist interior. While serving wings whole surely works, I hate it on a personal level…something about my food looking a bit too much like’s it’s original animal always weirds me out a bit, and I certainly don’t enjoy breaking the pieces apart. Nevertheless the wings were tasty, once you get over the fact that it’s the whole wing. ****Edit July 11, 2012***** After this review was was originally written we returned to the Saloon on Calhoun on a couple more occasions as we kept winning bar tabs from Wisconsin Team Trivia. As such, we had a few more opportunities to sample the wings. While the sauces remained the same, the chicken quality seemed to decline. They seemed smaller, and of poor quality. The meat was often dry and an odd color, which really didn’t make for an appetizing wing. Moreover, I feel that serving the whole wing versus the section is a bit lazy and wasteful as the tips of the wings can be used for making chicken stock. As such, I changed their chicken quality score below.
- Sauce Variety: Seven sauces are listed and detailed in full on their menu with another four listed casually above: Triple A Wings (orange juice, sesame, lime juice, chili flakes), Saloon Wings ( Cayenne, cumin, lime, garlic, chili flakes), Major League Wings (Habanero, cayenne, jalapeno, smoked habanero, bhut joloakia (ghost chili), horseradish, garlic, lime, and orange juice), Throwing the Heat (smoked habanero, cayenne, garlic, lime), Rajun Cajun (cayenne sauce with cajun and lime), Fall Classic (Buffalo style cayenne and butter), BBQ ala Louie (Cajun BBQ), Garlic Herb, Sesame Ginger, Ranch, Parmesan.
- Sauce Quality:
- Fall Classic – I’ll always try the traditional Buffalo sauce as I think all great wing places need a good Buffalo, but I was disappointed by this one. In my opinion there was way too much butter making for a very buttery, almost sweet sauce with little to no heat. Perhaps a good wing for a milder wing fan or a butter loving fan, but just not for me.
- BBQ ala Louie – rarely to I like a BBQ wing, but these are definitely an exception! A delicious smoky BBQ sauce that blends cajun heat with just a bit of sweetness to them. Additionally, quite spicy for a BBQ sauce. Between the spice and the fact that this isn’t just a BBQ sauce right off the store shelves make this a flavor to try and a must try if you’re a BBQ fan
- Major League wings – so, anytime you see bhut jolokia as an ingredient, you being to worry about how miserable the next 20 minutes of your life are going to be after you eat the wing, however, that was not the case here. This sauces is quite not, but not unbearable, you can actually still enjoy the wing despite the presence of ghost chili, a rare feat! Furthermore this was a good flavor overall, I could taste the hints of citrus, horseradish, and garlic among the blend of peppers. While I guess I’m thankful the sauce didn’t burn my tongue off, we were hoping for that “ultra hot” flavor so we could test our mettle and prove to each other who’s the firebreather of the group, oh well!
- Saloon wings – If I had to pick one flavor here, it would probably be this one. More than the Fall Classic wings described above I’d liken this one to a unique twist on the traditional buffalo sauce. A decent level of spice with some interesting citrus accents this was great flavor.
- Rajun Cajun – actually quite similar to the Saloon wings above, but with a little extra Cajun flair mixed with those citrus undertones.
- Throwing the Heat – this sauce was similar to the Major League sauce in terms of heat and flavor, but a little smokier with a blast of pepper taste
- Garlic and Herb – garlic and herbs, easy enough. However, this one caught me off guard a bit in the fact that the herbs (mainly basil per my taste buds) tasted freshly chopped making this sauce burst with flavor. The sauce was a bit oily, but flavorful as it was packed with a lot of garlic too
- Sauces overall – while some of the sauces were a bit similar to each other, I still think this is a great selection of sauces from top to bottom. There’s a few yet I need to try, but when I go back I’ll have a hard time passing on some of my favorites above!
- Sides Quality: Wings were served with your choice of ranch or bleu cheese. Some of us got celery, some didn’t without rhyme or reason. But those who did get celery got enough to share with the table, so no worries in the end.
- Value: Normal menu price of $7 is pretty average for an order of wings nowadays and they offer $0.50 wings on Monday night… and since you get the whole wing (drummy and flat) for that $0.50, it’s really kind of like $0.25 wings!
I do have to note that despite offering some good wings and wing special, they really don’t seem prepared to handle a large number of wings. There were eight of us and ordered somewhere in the ballpark of 150 wings (which ended up being 300 wings when you consider that normally a drummy or a flat is a wing) and our wings came out of the kitchen in waves as we were told they have two small deep fryers. Luckily for us, it didn’t appear that too many other people in the bar were eating. However, if there were multiple groups ordering wings, or anything else deep fried for that matter, I can see the possibility for long waits for wings. To pass the time, feel free to partake in the team trivia competition, we did, took 3rd place and scored a $10 bar tab! Could have one, but none of us knew any Oscar winners who were also on Dancing With the Stars, oh well. But, with at $10 bar tab in tow we’ll need to return someday and try a few more flavors and update this review!
The Final Score:
Sauce Quality: 9/10
Sauce Variety: 5/5
Sides Quality: 4/5
Overall: 25/33 =
85 76 – I was quite impressed with my visit here, good decent wings, trivia, and Free Bacon during happy hour 4-7p! Beer was a bit pricey, so I would suggest you go during happy hour for 2 for 1 drinks!