Arizona Daily Star

Published: 09.20.2007

Wings & Rice features fare from Philly to the Far East

By Levi J. Long

LLONG@AZSTARNET.COM

There’s no bigger dinner dilemma than two dueling appetites craving different tastes.

Thank your lucky stars for Wings & Rice, 5502   E. Pima St., where options abound and diners can order up a basketful of spicy barbecue wings, shrimp fried rice or even a Philly cheese steak.  

Open for less than a year, the mostly Japanese-themed Wings & Rice takes a hodgepodge approach to the dishes it serves.

Besides teriyaki meals and egg rolls, the restaurant also serves Buffalo wing platters, french fries and onion rings.

Sodas and beer are also on the menu.

“Why not do a bit of everything?” said Ken Kang, who runs the small, Midtown eatery with the owner, Lona Kang, who is his wife.

As a former chef at several local Japanese restaurants, Ken Kang said he wanted his restaurant to feature a medley of options.

“I got the idea after visiting my brother in Virginia,” said Kang, who ate at a restaurant there and later modeled Wings & Rice on a similar concept.

“I thought it might work in Tucson.  We wanted to have fried rice, Japanese-style katsu and chicken wings. . . . We have a lot of influences here.”

The vibe

Located next to a payday loan shop, Wings & Rice might look like your standard strip-mall eatery, but the low-key, modern décor is a pleasant surprise.

Clean white tables — punctuated with lime green chairs — lend the simple eatery simple grace.

And though we thought the flat panel TV on the wall was a nice touch, we opted to ignore Fox News broadcasting across the screen.

For those who like to dine without such distractions, patrons can head to the outside patio, though a parking lot would be the only view.

The food

Wings are the thing here — with 19 flavor options ranging from classic Buffalo to spicy Parmesan to sesame teriyaki.

We settled for five lemon-pepper jumbo wings as an appetizer.

For good measure we also ordered egg rolls, which turned out to be a bit too small but provided a tasty-enough snack.

After munching down those items, our food was brought quickly to our table by a friendly waitress.

The chicken combo platter is immense, with salad, steamed rice, chicken katsu and five boneless chicken wings, with your choice of flavoring.

We ordered the mild Buffalo flavor, which was a bit too spicy for us but acceptable. The medium drink that came with the meal helped counter the hotness.

Served atop mounds of steamed rice, the chicken teriyaki dish was also delish and was eagerly wolfed down as well.

And though the mix of menu items might have skeptics wondering whether the folks at Wings & Rice can be so multitalented, we enjoyed the hodgepodge approach.

 Wings & Rice 

• Where: 5502 E. Pima St.,

• Parking: Ample, right in front of a small-size corner building.

• Phone: 731-3313

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