Saturday, January 31, 2015

Restaurant Review - Velocity Wings, South Riding

Tonight, I took the family over to the new Velocity wings joint in East Gate.  I've heard mixed reviews in the weeks since its opening, but most of the negatives seemed to surround either service issues during peak times or takeout orders.  My wife and I fancy ourselves wings aficionados, so Velocity had its work cut out for them.

In order to avoid the potential issues with capacity (and to reduce the chance of the kids going crazy while waiting for seating or for food to show up) we decided to get there for an early dinner, at 5:30. Ultimately it seemed to be a good decision, as we were seated immediately.  By the time we left at 7:00, there was a substantial wait.

Once seated, we were greeted by our waiter within two minutes.  He was working on three other tables at the same time, but he was very attentive.  In fact, noticing the kids, as he was taking our drink orders, he offered to switch the TV channel from the basketball game (which none of us cared for) to the Disney Channel, which made the kids quite happy.  He was back in minutes with the drinks, including a Vienna Lager which came out at the proper temperature with just the right amount of head.

We decided to check out a few starters to get a better idea of the rest of the menu, so we got the Caesar salad, Nachos, and Pretzel bites for the table.  The Caesar was well dressed but a bit plain.  I would have liked to see some shredded Parmesan and maybe a splash of champagne or red wine vinegar to give it a bit more tang, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  The pretzel bites were tremendous.  Soft, flavorful, with just the right amount of salt.  The cheese on the side was creamy and seasoned well.  Everyone also enjoyed the nachos.  The chili was present but not overwhelming, the chips warm and crispy, and the cheese was melty and stringy.  Just like nachos should be.

For mains, the kids got the mini corn dogs and the boneless bites with honey BBQ sauce, Corin ordered the medium tossed wings, and I got a split order of traditional spicy garlic and terminal wings.  Food came in two waves, spaced about 15 minutes apart.  Timing was good.  The honey BBQ sauce worked great for my older son.  Not spicy, but full flavored.  The corn dogs were your typical run of the mill mini corn dogs that you can find on most kids menus, but they did the job.  Now on to the wings.  The wings themselves were on the larger side and well cooked.  They came out piping hot, crisped up well, and with the fat rendered properly.  The medium sauce worked well for Corin, whose tolerance for heat isn't terribly high.  They had enough spice for her to feel it, but were balanced with a nice tanginess.  The spicy garlic had a great garlicky flavor with a hint of heat.  The sauce in the bottom of the basket had broken, so it was a bit greasy, but the flavor was enjoyable.  The terminal wings, advertised as their spiciest, had almost more of a rub than a sauce.  The spice level would probably have been intolerable for Corin, but for someone with a decent tolerance for heat, they were a bit of a let down.  If I order the spiciest sauce on the menu, I expect to break a sweat.  Didn't happen with these.  But the flavor was really good.

For dessert, we split a chocolate shake, which was just the right thickness and had that traditional old timey shake flavor, and the chocolate lava cake.  The cake itself didn't really have much 'lava' to it, but it was incredibly moist and spongey.  The dark chocolate flavor blended well with the richness of the vanilla ice cream on top.  Both were gone in minutes.

The only real disappointment was the backs to the booths.  They sway with every movement, so anytime someone in the booth behind you moves, the back of your seat lurches forward.  That got irritating.  But all in all and aside from the moving booth backs, we got almost exactly what we expected from a wings joint.

I'd give it a solid B grade.  I hope that the take out and peak time issues get cleared up, as those really seem to be the most irksome problems that people seem to run into.  Luckily we didn't have those problems.