In my office, I’m usually the one who organizes after work get-togethers. This time around, I picked Pure Contemporary Vietnamese for Wings Wednesday. Horatio made a joke that we should call our party “West Wings”. I’m not political. Left wing, right wing, I just like to wing it. For this post, let’s listen to The West Wing theme song.
Here’s the lowdown. Everyone at the table must order a drink from Pure’s speciality menu and choose one of two options: pay a) 35 cents per wing or b) $10 for all-you-can-eat wings. If you have leftovers at the end of the meal, you’ll be charged $1 per wing. You are also limited to two hours from time of order.
There’s something for everyone here: cocktails, draft beer, bottled beer, wines and non-alcoholic drinks. I tried a glass of the 50th Parallel Gewurztraminer ($9.50), which was a bit too sweet for my taste. I preferred the Casa Petrone Pinot Grigio ($8.50). Disco Mary liked her Kimmy Caesar and Carol enjoyed her mojito. Zeplin was impressed with his showy, mint green milkshake topped with whipped cream. Everyone else at our table ordered draft beer.
There are 15 different flavours to choose from. The most popular wings are: chili lime, nuoc cham, garlic butter, gochujiang, truffle parmesan, and chili tamarind. For the traditionalists, there’s Franks Hot, honey hot, teriyaki, honey garlic and salt and pepper.
Pure’s version of salt and pepper reminds me of Chinese style salt and pepper squid. The wings were fried then dressed in chili flakes, wok fried peppers, onions and green onions. The wings were juicy, fat, crunchy morsels. The size of these babies are at least three times that of any other pub in Calgary.
The taste of the freshly grated parmesan and black truffle salt was dominant. Delicious, but I couldn’t eat a whole plate on my own because the flavour and smell was pungent after a few.
Everyone ordered a plate each and we all shared our wings. About my fifth wing in, I began to lose awareness of which flavour of wing I was devouring. I was so into mowing down that I lost tract. I do remember our group’s favourite flavour was chili lime. The sauce was tangy and spicy.
Andrew observed that our section of the table consumed more wings than the other side. I didn’t want to analyze how much we actually ate, but he was persistent and made me take the photo below as evidence. Now I get to relive how much I over ate.
Meets said these were the best wings she’s ever had and wants to come back. I know my coworkers were surprised that I picked to have wings at a Vietnamese restaurant. After they ate here, they knew why. Pure serves up kick ass wings.
My husband L enjoyed wing Wednesday so much, we returned on Saturday. L ordered the Open Face Beef Banh Mi ($13.75) on focaccia bread, with fries as the side. The wok tossed kalbi beef was tender and saucy. This is just a personal preference, but we would have preferred a plain baguette instead of the focaccia. I felt like a simpler bread would have been a good foil to all the strong, flavourful sauces. I’m keen to try Pure’s traditional Vietnamese Baguette ($13.75), to see how it compares to my favourite banh mi spot – The Submarine.
The Pot au Pho ($13.75) is big enough for two people. I was too full after devouring the entire bowl. The bowl is generously filled with slices of beef, flank, beef balls, crunchy bean sprouts, freshly sliced scallions and a few leaves of basil. The broth is rich and has more intense flavours than your typical pho joint. To date, Song Huong and Pure make my favourite pho in the city. I wanted to try Pho Da Bo for their sate beef with bone marrow.
I’m keen to organize another wing event. Horatio wants to go to Leopold’s Tavern for cauliflower wings because he’s vegan. There’s a location in the Beltline and another location opening up in Bowness. I want to try Beagle 14 and Unicorn Pub, as I hear from @yycwings that the wings are stellar. Also, if you want to see some serious wing drama, check out the beef @betterthanyycwings has for @yycwings. Hopefully there won’t be any fowl play.