Restaurant review: Wing’s can warm you with soup, myriad Scotches and laid-back mood

By Columbus Alive
From the January 30, 2014 edition

Like a feels-so-real bad dream, this lingering cold snap sometimes seems like it’s going to last forever. That sense of a horrible “new normal” graphs a circle — vicious and fixed — in which bitter cold begets grim inertia begets cabin fever begets the realization it’s still bitter cold out begets grim inertia and so on. One way to exit this dreary loop is to visit Wing’s, a classic “white tablecloth” Chinese eatery with roots in the 1920s, and where warmth comes in various forms.

Head right to the cozy bar area where a jazzy soundtrack and a TV game or two are probably playing. Adding to Wing’s sorta vintage movie-set feel are weathered wood, black booths, red walls, low lighting and relaxed regulars chatting up and joshing with seasoned bartenders on a first-name basis. That’s a fine dose of warmth right there.

Your next doses will be poured from bottles of Scotch. See, at 150 or so offerings, Wing’s has more Scotch than any single place you know of, possibly even the most in the entire Midwest — and it brings seekers of its liquid gold in from all over.

The whiskies are conveniently listed by region, so whether you’re seeking a big and smoky snort from Islay (like Bowmore) or a soft and honeyed, peat-free sip from the Southern Highlands (e.g. Glengoyne), Wing’s has you covered. In fact this place is such a Scotch hotspot that — working with master distillers like John McDougall — Wing’s serves several exclusive whiskies bottled under its own label. Sink a few and feel the winter outside slowly receding.

To fortify yourself more against the heartless and frosty night, opt for the kitchen-sinker chicken noodle soup called Combination Yetcamein (a steal at $9). It’s a huge and comforting bowl with a homey and chickeny broth in which float long wheat noodles, hard-cooked eggs, chunks of Chinese barbecue-style pork, chicken, good shrimp and vegetables like broccoli and celery. Bonus: all those bobbing goodies add extra character to this slurp-able blanket.

Photo by XXX