Wing Ding at Cardinal Bar

The Cardinal Restaurant & Bar – South Minneapolis

We know wings, but what are dings? We get off the lightrail and try out Cardinal Bar’s offerings…

QUICK LINKS

THE STORY

Neither myself, Laura, nor Andrew had ever visited The Cardinal Bar, so when we stopped by for a beer, we didn’t quite know what to expect. After a quick look around, though, we agreed that this place is just the kind of dive bar one needs in one’s life: a bit of grit, rows of deep fryers in the kitchen, and close proximity to the light rail. But what’s with the name? Is it a sports reference, a nod to Catholicism, a hot-spot for ornithology? According to our server, the former proprietors were firefighters. I’m guessing it’s the big red trucks.

We didn’t come with the idea of a wing review in mind, but after a  perusal of the menu revealed an offering of “Wing Dings,” (we know wings, but what are dings?) we were intrigued and placed an order of the spicy variety to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The first thing we took note of was breading, a topic of considerable contention amongst wing aficionados. The last batch of breaded wings we encountered were at Rudolphs Bar-B-Que (review), and the reaction was almost universally negative. (The only TC Buffers to give the texture higher than a 5 were Allison (7), Nellie (8), and me (9). Looking back, my inflated score was partly due to the negative critiques of my fellow diners, but in the end, the averaged-out total of 6.25 was probably a fair assessment.)

Starting down the path of wing relativism is a precarious business to get into, but I hazard to mention it because in comparison, the breading at The Cardinal was noticeably better than that at Rudolphs (even though I rated Rudolphs higher overall). The crispiness was appreciated and made us rethink our blog’s militant opposition to breading on wings. That said, the extreme crispiness did result in a bit of “Cap’n Crunch Mouth.”

The next thing we noticed was the consistently perfect size of these wings – none of those freakishly large and bulbous types that can appear in freezer-wings like these. The meat quality, however, was a bit suspect, and this is reflected in a lower overall score. Laura found the Buffalo flavor a bit off-putting, but Andrew and I were more or less assuaged. Speaking of sauces, Laura didn’t find the blue cheese dressing up to snuff, but for the price (a mere .77 cents apiece), it’s hard to fault these tasty and inexpensive treats.

While you won’t find traditional wings on The Cardinal’s menu, if you find yourself stopping in for a beer and craving something crispy, hot, and covered in buffalo sauce, you could certainly do worse!

THE VERDICT

70.5/100

Texture: 7.25/10
Flavor: 6.5/10
Meat Quality: 5.5/10
Value: 8.5/10
Experience: 7.5/10
Total: 35.25/50 possible points

SCORE BREAKDOWN

Andrew

Andrew

  • Texture: 6
  • Flavor: 7
  • Meat Quality: 5
  • Value: 8
  • Experience: 8
  • Presentation (Pass/Fail): Pass
Notes: These are like buffalo wings’ cousins who grew up living in the confines of the State Fair grounds. Pretty tasty little weirdos though.

Laura

  • Texture: 8
  • Flavor: 6
  • Meat Quality: 5
  • Value: 9
  • Experience: 7
  • Presentation (Pass/Fail): Pass
Notes: Bleu cheese was subpar.

Michael

  • Texture: 7.75
  • Flavor: 7
  • Meat Quality: 6
  • Value: 9
  • Experience: 8
  • Presentation (Pass/Fail): Pass
Notes: Some of the best breaded wings you can eat if you are going to eat breaded wings.

THE DETAILS

Price: $7.75 for 10 “wing dings”
Website: http://www.cardinaltavern.com/
Address:2920 E 38th St, Minneapolis MN 55406

PHOTO GALLERY

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