Korean-style wings at MOMO Chicken & Grill in Bethesda. Photo by Lindsey Max

Editors' Pick

Best Job of Winging It

This year we don’t need the Super Bowl as a reason to gorge ourselves on chicken wings. Here are some of our favorites.  

MOMO Chicken & Grill

The crunch of the crackly coating on the wings at MOMO Chicken & Grill in Bethesda is so distinct it’s audible. These are Korean-style wings, meaning they’re dipped in a starch-based batter before being deep-fried (sometimes twice) and sauced. MOMO’s wings are seasoned and marinated overnight, dipped in a flour-based batter, fried for 25 minutes and tossed in a soy, ginger and vinegar sauce or a spicy version of the sauce kicked up with cayenne pepper. We love that the wings’ protective coating seals in the juiciness and keeps them from becoming cold and soggy even after a 20-minute drive home—if you can keep from scarfing them down right when you get them.

MOMO Chicken & Grill, 4862 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, 240-483-0801, usmomo.com 


Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly

Filipino restaurant Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly in Rockville offers two kinds of wings—both worthy of accolades. One is made with a dry rub, the other with a spicy adobo glaze. The wing joints for both are seasoned with garlic and paprika and refrigerated overnight. They are then braised in oil for 1½ hours and cooled. Later they are dredged in potato starch and wheat flour seasoned with chili powder and ground annatto (a seed that imparts a red hue) and deep-fried. Then the crisped wings are tossed in a rub that includes black pepper and tamarind powder (tamarind is a dried tree fruit known for its tangy quality) or in Filipino adobo sauce, made with soy sauce, garlic, sugar and cane vinegar.

Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly, 5268-H Nicholson Lane, Rockville, 240-669-4383, kuyajas.com


Lia’s

At Lia’s in Chevy Chase, wing sections are seasoned well with salt and pepper, roasted in the oven and cooled. Just before serving, they’re deep-fried to crispiness and then tossed in one of two sauces: honey Sriracha (made with Korean red chili paste, Sriracha, orange marmalade, honey, orange juice and sesame oil) or a superlative version of Buffalo sauce (made with Frank’s RedHot original cayenne pepper sauce, Cholula hot sauce, melted butter and granulated onion and garlic). Honey Sriracha wings are garnished with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro; Buffalo wings go the traditional route, with celery sticks, crumbled blue cheese and a side of ranch dressing. Our preferred option? Six of each.

Lia’s, 4435 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, 240-223-5427, liasrestaurant.com