3377 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights
Duck wings can suck. Compared to chicken wings, they’re scrawny, and filled with connective tissue, which makes them hard to cook. The extra fat lurking beneath the skin makes it borderline impossible to achieve the exterior crispiness of a conventional chicken wing. Utilizing a slow cooking method is the only way to do them right, and even then it’s easy to get something gnarly and unappealing.
All the more props to Rabbit Hole for doing them well. The menu suggests the wings ($11) have been smoked; a novel departure from the more typical Chinese-style braising. The Rabbit Hole’s wings fall between tender and chewy, with toothsome crunchiness from a final trip to the fryer. Zesty barbecue sauce coats the wings with a touch of sweetness, which is good for duck, as a rule. Finally, the cartilaginous bits at the ends of the bones have been cooked down to the point of edibility, and crunching the bones is a delight.
Besides that, it’s bar food for days. Heights Tavern closed, and the people behind OB’s Wonderland bought the business and swiftly renovated. They got local painter, Sean Dietrich, to throw a trippy, Alice in Wonderland-themed mural up on the wall, and changed the basic menu, but that’s about it. The concept is still solidly sports bar, but with just a touch more weirdness.
Some of the “fatty snacks” on the menu appeal to the glutton inside. The “Sloppy Louie” has turkey, roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, swiss cheese, slaw, and the restaurants signature Louie dressing on rye, with fries, for $10. That’s a good deal for 1500 calories, but it’s also hard to make something so gourmand and have it not be delicious.
One notable exception — the “hound dog” sandwich ($9) with PB, bacon, and banana on french bread — is almost reasonable, but still tickles the “I didn’t want to get skinny anyways” bone. It helps (or doesn’t, depending on one’s perspective) that the fries are good, thickly cut and potatoey, ready for dunking in sauce.