Following a note on Twitter to me by MSP Mag’s Stephanie March about her new favorite Buffalo wings in MSP, I asked The Wife if she wanted to grab some wings. When she picked me up from the transit station my camera bag was in the car and we were ready to rock. Thankfully one of the easiest way to my wife’s heart are good wings.
Mrs. March’s favorite spot for wings? The Nook in St. Paul’s sister, Shamrock’s on West 7th. We quickly made the drive through rush hour traffic and arrived just after 5 PM. With The Wife noting numerous times she’d like to be back home by 6 I figured it would be tight but with some wings and perhaps a burger or two I figured we’d be fine.
Shamrock’s offers nearly an identical menu to The Nook. While there are a couple of extra options for wings, one stood out which I didn’t notice on The Nook’s menu (it is there) are their “Hot Dam Wings” challenge. Eat 14 of their “devilishly hot wing challenge” in 20 minutes or less without the aid of liquids, vegetables, or ranch/bleu cheese and you get a “free” t-shirt. With the price tag set at $14.50 for their “deep fried ‘colossal’ wings and drummies”, if you win your t-shirt clearly gets paid for by the wings.
Not knowing what to expect when they say, ‘colossal’, I was expecting your typical wings so I ordered a burger too. Unfortunately when the wings arrived I knew there was no way that burger was going to get eaten. Similarly sized to Major’s wings and the Girvan Ghost Wings challenge wings, these were beastly to say the least. Honestly they were about the size of my fist at the widest part. At first glance I figured that eating all the meat would be the hardest part.
Before digging in I inquired about the peppers used. The waitress noted that the main ingredient are habaneros but they do have several other peppers which she sorta glossed over. The wings were battered and fried to a crisp. They were a deep reddish brown color and slathered with a spicy pepper relish which was surprisingly not dominated by the habanero flavor.
The clock was started and I began to tear through the tender wings. The chicken flavor was evident and the sauce itself was tasty. I was a bit surprised, and disappointed, that they weren’t up to the heat levels of other local wing challenges but I was pleased to find that after wing 10 the chili high kicked in and I was awash with a pleasant buzz as I finished the last four wings of the mutant chickens Shamrock’s must use for these spicy little treats. After I was finished the waitress noted, I assume jokingly, that I set a speed record. I wasn’t trying but she said she’d never seen anyone do it that fast. She wasn’t as serious about the timing as I figure she should have been being that she said, “it must have been 10 minutes or even less!”
Anyway, the wings were great. I was really pleased with the breading, the sauce, and especially the flavor. The fresh pepper relish they had poured over them reminded me a lot of a warm (temperature) Curt’s Triple Hot Salsa and knowing how much I enjoy that, if we hadn’t been in a hurry, I would have requested a spoon to scoop up what was remaining to add to my burger the next day.
After it was all said and done they handed me a very nice quality Nook/Shamrock’s t-shirt which states, “I dueled the devil…and won,” took my picture, and told me they’d have me up on the wall with everyone else in a few weeks. While I certainly didn’t do it for anything other than the great wings and the t-shirt, it is nice that they display everyone on the wall like that.
My wife ordered their Stuffed Springsteen Philly Cheeseburger which notes it is served, “with the works,” for $7.50. She took “the works” to mean lettuce, tomato, etc but when it arrived it was simply the burger, stuffed with the goodies, and some cheese. Disappointed in that, she bit in and said the burger was good but she’d probably order something else the next time. While I tried to sway her towards the Nookie Supreme, she just wasn’t having any of it. She ordered hers with the sweet potato fries which she seemed to enjoy but she noted that their original fries were very good as well.
Overall I enjoyed the wing challenge at Shamrock’s and my wife enjoyed her burger enough that we’ll definitely be back again–especially with some others to have them attempt the wing challenge. While I still prefer The Nook, just because it’s so cozy, Shamrock’s is definitely a nice enough place that if I was with a larger group I’d definitely head over there for some wings and burgers.
Have you ever eaten at Shamrock’s? If so what did you think? Have you done their wing challenge? Did you finish? Did you think the wings were hot enough to be worthy of a challenge? What burgers or wing sauces do you order when you go in there? If you’ve had the plain Buffalo-style wings would you say they’re the best? Whatever you have to say about Shamrock’s in St. Paul go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
995 West 7th St
St Paul, MN 55102