Went to Wingnuts in their Aliso Viejo location last night. They have another location in Costa Mesa. I think I remember some inquiries in the past relating to them and buffalo wings. I wasnt that impressed. Although their selection of sauces, 30+ is large, none were particularly memorable. We tried 7 different kinds. None were really bad but not outstanding either. The sauce really didnt soak into the meat at all so it was more of a glaze. It may have something to do with the way they prep everything. All the wings are pre-baked then kept warm. When your order comes, they finish it off in a fryer and toss and coat the sauce on. I liked the texture of the meat this way but the flavors tend to blur together since there was no depth to the sauce or the meat. Most just tasted sweet with slight variances for the sauce, thai, Hawaiian, Jamaican jerk, etc.
One of the flavors we got was the double dog dare you. Supposedly their hottest one made with habanero puree. On their website and the staff make a big deal about how hot it is. Our waiter even brought me an extra glass of water just in case. Im not a chili head but I do like spicy stuff. These wings were by no means close to incendiary. They were spicy but I ate two wings without needing sip of liquid or feeling uncomfortable heat on my lips or tongue. And it wasnt very flavorful. Ive had hotter more flavorful wings at my local neighborhood sports bar. I ate all six without any kind of heat trouble, there was no slow sneaky buildup.
Wings also come with a choice of traditional coleslaw or their signature blue cheese slaw. The blue cheese slaw was more like a cup of crumbled blue cheese with only a few strands of cabbage with a sour cream dressing holding it together. I love blue cheese, but I dont want to be eating mouthfuls of mediocre chunks as a side. It would have been much more palatable if the ratio was reversed and the cheese was the flavoring not the main ingredient.
Although very friendly, service was only adequate. My friend ordered the carmalized banana split. The runner dropped off the boat and warned us that it was hot due to the banana being carmalized. She said that she was mad at the cook for not warning her how hot the boat was and she had burned her hand. Apparently it was so hot that after digging through the huge mound of whip cream, the ice cream was all melted and just a puddle. We had to send it back but received a new one with no problem except it had even more whip cream and was overflowing. You could not see anything underneath. We were joking they probably hid a surprise due to our complaint. We thought it should have been obvious if the plate was that hot, it couldnt hold an ice cream based dish for long.
On a non-food note. They had a dozen TVs up for viewing but half of them were tuned to loops of vintage airplanes and the other half were tuned in regular sports shows even though there was a full slate of games available. We requested a channel change but they didnt change it. We were there more for the conversation so wasnt as persistent as usual.
Definitely not a destination place for wings even though thats their signature item.