Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Amazing" Is A Hard Word To Live Up To

After reading about the homemade bread I had brought to the Julia Child-inspired dinner party I attended a few weeks ago, a reader and friend, Stuart, contacted me and inquired if I would be able to bake him a batch of bread, too. After getting all of the logistics out of the way, we were left to ponder how I was going to deliver the bread after I finished baking it. Since Stuart lives in Cleveland and I in Akron, we agreed to meet roughly half-way between the two and try out a restaurant that he had been meaning to get to in the process. When he said the name of the restaurant, Mickey Flickey's Amazing Wings, I was a little hesitant. However, I know Stuart has good taste, so I was up for the visit.

Mickey Flickey's was located at 4818 Turney Road, Cleveland, OH 44125 and can be reached at 216-341-4818. There is currently no website. Parking was along the side of the street. Once I found a spot to park, I got out of my car and took a few photos. Here was the front of the restaurant:

And a shot of the front door listing the business hours:

What neither myself nor Stuart realized when making plans to visit Mickey Flickey's was that they were only a take-out joint. There were a few chairs up against a counter that ran along the outside wall, but even those didn't look all that comfortable. Taped onto the counter was a newspaper article that talked more about the restaurant:

While there were paper menus available, you really didn't need them as the menu was plastered above the ordering window:

Since another diner, Diane, and I got there before Stuart, we casually chatted with the woman behind the protective glass. I'm not sure what was going on with the glass as Diane mentioned that this area of town isn't particularly bad, but it added an interesting quirkiness to the atmosphere of the restaurant. I didn't ask, but I get the feeling that the woman we were chatting with with one of the co-owners, her husband being out back working on the beef shortribs. She gave us each a sample of homemade potato salad and a single chicken drummette with some of their homemade BBQ sauce. The potato salad was creamy with just a hint of yellow mustard in it and the drummette was crispy, hot and juicy, all at the same time. The BBQ sauce was a nice blend of sweet and heat, leaning a bit more towards the sweet.

When Stuart finally arrived, we placed our order and decided to head over to Garfield Park and find a picnic table we could enjoy our feast on. We managed to miss the main entrance to the park, but finally found a spot where we could park and lay out our spread on a picnic table in a nearby pavilion. Unfortunately, the smell of BBQ attracted not only hungry humans, but lots of bees as well. We spent about half of our time eating and half swatting at the aggressive insects.

First up, we decided to order one of their large Polish Boys and split it three ways. Here is a shot of the entire sandwich:

A Polish Boy is essentially a Polish-style sausage covered with cole slaw, BBQ sauce and French fries. To say that this was a messy sandwich was an understatement. Resigned to the fact that the only way to enjoy good BBQ is to get your hands dirty, I tucked into my third. Similar in concept to a Primanti Brother's sandwich, it also suffered from the same problem, soggy fries. The flavor was nice and the meat was nice and juicy, but the fries just didn't do anything positive for the sandwich.

Next up we tried one of the combo meals, pork ribs with French fries and cole slaw:

The meat on the pork ribs was tender enough to chew without any problems, but I was surprised that it was not quite fall-off-the-bone that I've come to associate with properly cooked BBQ. The French fries weren't very good, having not survived a five minute trip from the restaurant to the picnic table. They were greasy and flaccid. Perhaps that was how they were before they made their way into our takeout containers, in which case I would suggest that Mickey Flickey's rethink this potato option.

Another item in the pork rib combo was the inclusion of what Mickey's called their "wingdings," which is just another term for the entire chicken wing:

Having already had a sample of this at the restaurant, I knew what to expect. When you order this, you do need to tell them you want the wings sauced. Otherwise they come dry. Speaking of sauces, it should be noted that Mickey Flickey's has only the one sauce. Originally I was thinking that we could get several wings in a variety of sauces, but since they have but the one, your choices are much simpler.

The two sides we got with our combo (the meal comes with one side, we ordered a second):

Here is a shot of the cole slaw:

I didn't think to ask if the cole slaw was homemade; I think it was*. Regardless, it was pretty much your standard cole slaw. It wouldn't surprise me if this was made somewhere else and simply portioned out when customers ordered it.

The macaroni and cheese, however, was homemade. And fairly unique. Here is a shot of the macaroni and cheese:

While the pasta was a slight bit overcooked, I liked the overall flavor of the dish. This version was on the drier side (meaning it was cheesy without swimming in sauce), but the addition of a prodigious amount of black pepper meant this had an interesting spice level to it. I wouldn't call it spicy, but certainly interesting. All three of us agreed that of all the food we tasted today from Mickey Flickey's, the chicken wing and the macaroni and cheese were probably the best. That being said, I would probably put my overall food experience with Mickey Flickey's at somewhere around slightly better than average.

To finish our meal, we all agreed to share a small blackberry-raspberry pie that Diane had brought with her. Diane has been playing around with crusts and filling trying to get them exactly perfect. It didn't take too much convincing to get us to try this:

Experimental or not, this was a wonderful pie. The crust was light, flaky and tender. Being a bit of a pie crust nut myself, I honestly could've eaten the pastry all by itself. The fact that there was a wonderful sweet and tart mixture of berries and sugar inside the pie was simply too good to resist. Diane has been working on mastering the perfect pie for a new business venture she recently started and I daresay, I think she was getting close to perfection.

I don't know that I would seek out Mickey Flickey's Amazing Wings if I had a BBQ craving and wasn't already in the area. However, if you find yourself out that way and have a convenient place to eat your spoils without the harassment of the bees, give Mickey Flickey's a try. Perhaps you'll have better success than we did.

[* Ed. Note: I had originally written that I thought the coleslaw wasn't homemade. Based on this article, I was incorrect and have changed the appropriate sentence.]


Stuart said...

That was my second visit to Mickey Flickey's and I share your disappoint. I do have to disagree with you about the Polish boy. I think fries that are less than perfectly crisp can be perfectly adequate on a Polish boy. I don't specifically remember the wings on this visit but I do vaguely remember liking them on my first visit.

And I'm very interested in trying their beef ribs. I'm willing to cut a restaurant a lot of slack when they have beef ribs on their menu. You don't see that a lot.

I'm in no rush to go back to Mickey's and I'll probably never get the ribs again but I'm not quite ready to move on.

Tino said...

@Stuart: I welcome your disagreement over the fries. I guess from my perspective, if I see something unusual like French fries on a sandwich, I'm expecting either a major flavor component or a major textural component. For me it satisfied neither criteria and just felt like filler.

Feel free to make a comment if/when you get a chance to try the beef ribs.

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