Friday, March 13, 2015

Finnegan's Pub and Grill -- Omaha Wing Challenge

4390 120th Street
Omaha NE 68137
402-333-6181

I swear, it's not like I leave the house hoping to get some gut-wrenchingly bad food. But I'll be damned if that doesn't seem to happen more than it doesn't these days. Case in point...Finnegan's Pub. Not sure I would have ever ventured into this establishment if not for more than a few folks who stated they have "The best wings in Omaha!"

For whatever reason, I was highly skeptical of that claim for no other reason than not sure I've really ever heard anything about the food here. Making the horribly awful mistake of wondering to myself on the way out the door "How bad can they be anyway?" I was off!

And, like the good little salmonella  magnet that I am, I was headed to a place I had no real prior reconnoissance on...so you can all thank me now that I've done it for you.

Shiny
Some of you know how this works, for those that don't here's how it goes...wings are rated in 5 categories for a total potential perfect score of 50. The current reigning champion (by virtue of a committee vote) is The Pheasant with a total score of 48.  And, for shits and giggles (mostly to get the shits) the worst score has been the severed toe wings at LaVista Keno which flatlined at a 2. But look out boys...you have a challenger trying to beat you to the bottom of the HitThatDive scrap heap.

First Impressions: For the record, I had no issues with the bar or the service. Kind of a neat little pub tucked away next to a giant gun store. Also, did I mention that I sat at the corner of the bar right next to a garbage can? This turned out to be a handy place to sit.

Trouble
I ordered 8 wings with hot sauce. "Do you want them char buffed?" I was asked.  "Why not!" I eagerly responded. I figure, if the bartender is offering a suggestion that's the way I go. I can't lose.
After about 12 minutes, or so, I rather bland-looking plate of wings came out from the kitchen.  They had an odd shine to them and didn't really smell like anything.

Looks like a manta ray

This will not go well. But, as I've been told before "Love everything for 5 minutes." So I'm going to give it a go.

Score: 2 out of 10

Sauce: Unlike the sauce at LaVista Keno that seemed to be almost mean and vindictive, the sauce here just seemed sad and lonely...like Charlie Brown on Halloween.

Oh how I wish
After several bites, I still could not pick up on any flavor...at all. After chewing a bit longer I did finally detect a hint of something flavor-wise.  But what? As close as I could tell it was the equivalent of eating construction paper in elementary school. Did it taste good? No. Will it kill you? Not so much.

But, at some point in life (even at the age of 8) a person has to be introspective enough to wonder why they decided to eat paper in the first place.  Maybe some Elmer's Glue would have helped at to give things a little "kick"....but alas...there was none to be found. Can't score points if you don't actually serve wings that taste like anything. 

Score: ZERO out of 10. 

JUST SAY NO!
Crispy: Oh, let's not beat around the bush on this one. Serving undercooked frozen wings is never a good practice. And, quite frankly, could be quite dangerous to people that consume them. Except for me of course...I have an iron stomach.  

Out of eight wings, 4 were completely cold and raw in the middle. I managed to choke down three and a half of the "cooked" ones until  until the growing puddle of red ooze became too much for me to look at. Wing number four went right in the trash can I was sitting next to. That was the first good thing that happened since I started eating here!

Size: A grab bag of oversized Jersey Shore-looking "mooks" each one more over injected with steroids than the next. Maybe way too much Axe Body Spray would make these things look better, well, if they follow the Jersey Shore way of thinking anyway.  

These didn't come from any chicken I've even encountered. One was so grotesquely larger than the rest, I just knew I needed a box for it (and a few of his other goombas) to take out for further inspection later. 

Score: ZERO out of 10

Paging Dr. Addison

"Dr. Addison"
I took a few at Addy's Sports Bar on the way home to have Tim Addison and Adam (kitchen manager for Addy's), Omaha's Char Buff Experts, weigh in on what the hell was going on here. After watching Tim dissect the largest of the bunch, I almost puked at the bar. (For the record, I did not). 

"Dr." Addison confirmed my original diagnosis, that this was indeed still raw chicken. I much more brave man than I am, Addison pulled the wing apart to find a good third of is completely uncooked...of course he didn't have a few of them marinating in his digestive track like I did. 

He could even pick up on the very distinct smell of raw chicken. Refusing his offer for me to smell it too...that was all I needed to know...this was gross by any standards! 

Class is in session
Extras: Oh, do I have to? Fine. The celery was fresh. The side of white stuff wasn't offensive, and I did enjoy the people working behind the bar....so the wings here have that going for them...which is nice. 

Score: 2 out of 10 

Final Score 4 out o 50

It is what is . Does this happen to other people, or only to me? Seems like I've consumed way too many undercooked wings in Omaha lately. Is it because that people know sort of know what I look like now and they're intentionally trying to poison me? For the record...I sure hope not! 

Would Finnegan's probably like a redo on the order I wings I was served? I sure would hope they would. But, see, that's just it...shouldn't you want safe food coming out of your kitchen regardless who's sitting at your bar?

It's not like this is a "I wanted MEDIUM RARE a steak and damnit this steak is MEDIUM!! Head's will roll!" Sort of situation. This is simply cooking poultry to right internal temperature. 

Not sure if it's ready to serve? Use a meat thermometer right after you pull the batch out of the fryer. Here's a hint, use the biggest wing as your test subject, if it's internal temperature reads 34 degrees...start again. Blah! 


What IS that first one? 



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