By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
Saturated fats are something else. They include bacon fat, butter, cream, coconut oil, palm oil, leaf lard, cocoa butter, and eggs. Health mavens say they're either wildly good for you or certain death, but everyone agrees they make everything taste heavenly. They've had a long, amorous relationship with humans that's likely to continue indefinitely. And they don't have a thing to do with Hurricane's amazing fries either.
Russo was slippery on the fat question, but we can guess that the oil he and his franchisees use to crisp their wings and fingers and fries is some combination of unsaturated vegetable oils, like canola, peanut, cottonseed, sunflower, rice bran, or saturated palm oil. (At Texas A&M's zero-trans-fat contest last year, judges unanimously preferred the taste of fries cooked in such zero trans fat oils over those done in the partially hydrogenated stuff.) If you're wondering how healthy that is — let's say you're fretting over the diameter of your arteries or your waist — you're not going to eat fries and chicken wings anyway, right? Especially not Hurricane's Obscenely Loaded fries, which are served with cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, bacon, salsa, jalapeños, and ranch dressing. You probably won't be chugging any of Hurricane's wheat beers and ales either, some of which are flavored with blueberries, pears, raspberries, and pumpkins. You and your troublesome arteries might accompany a wing-loving friend to the Hurricane in Plantation, however, where you could ingest a respectable veggie burger ($6.75) and an iced tea while your pal submits to the capable ministrations of Patty, a waitress who will cheerfully and bossily give him even better service than he deserves.
Patty brought us two trays of tiny cups of microbrews to sample (Holly Mack, Purple Haze, Abita Amber, Pumpkin Head, and our favorite, the vanilla-scented Winter Cast Ale, $4.50 each). She recommended the fine, flaky fish dip served with sliced jalapeños, tomatoes, tortilla chips, and packaged saltines ($7.95) and the Parm-garlic fries ($3.75) to tide us over while we waited for Mike Mooney to arrive. (We really did try to save him some.) She let us taste the lime habanero rub (a category 5, their hottest) before we committed to it, and she steered us to the sample plate of four kinds of chicken wings ($16.95).
1855 Pine Island Road
Plantation, FL 33322
I'll spare you the boneless-versus-boned chicken-wing debate except to note that some people argue that a "boneless wing" is about as far from the authentic spirit of wings as Sweet Tarts are from tarte Tatin. The boneless, breaded, and fried wings were an ideally neutral canvas on which to paint the art of the matter: the sauce. Patty waited with superhuman patience as we bickered over our choices.
Hurricane's sauce choices are overwhelming: bourbon and barbecue, teriyaki and Tuscan herb, honey mustard, honey garlic, honey balsamic, honey chipotle barbecue. Citrus, mango, raspberry, piña colada. Thai ginger. Mesquite. Sea salt and vinegar. We narrowed it down to one from each category: the mild raspberry, the medium citrus mojo, a hot Gold Rush, and the purported granddaddy of heat, a habanero lime. Our favorite was the Gold Rush, which Russo describes as "smoky, spicy honey-mustard." I liked them dipped in the blue cheese dressing while Mooney preferred the ranch. The second favorite of everyone but me was the raspberry sauce, which tasted like a fine melted jelly. Mojo, a recent invention, is a citrus marinade that tastes of oranges and lemons flecked with basil and cilantro and is also very good. And while the habanero lime rub is peppery and tart, it isn't devilish; it's yummy — although Hurricane could turn up the heat on it for masochists like me.
In the end, Patty brought us a piece of lava cake ($4.95) and four forks. By then, I'd adapted to the TVs tuned to football by unfocusing my eyes and seeing the field as abstract patterns of red and white, orange and blue — Texas playing the Broncos or something. Even after the cake, we couldn't stop eating fries until not so much as a grain of salt remained and our fingers and lips and shirts were slick with butter. They didn't have chicken-wing sandwiches on the menu yet, but Mooney still gave Hurricane a sauce-stained thumbs-up.