We recently posted our story on essential hidden gems of Dallas to the Observer Facebook page, and one of the commenters recommended Reggae Wings & Tings in Mesquite. Intrigued, and because we are nothing if not accommodating, we ventured out to see what was up with this little spot that specializes in Jamaican cuisine including jerk chicken, wings, curry goat, salt fish, steamed cabbage and, to quote its website, “lord more.”
Here's our quick take:
Well, it’s a hidden gem, after all. Many such places are little holes in the wall that put flavor over form. If you’re not expecting tablecloths and expensive cutlery, this place definitely fits that mold. Clean, but not pretentious. We could have done without the blaring music, however, coming from three different sources, but maybe that’s part of the charm for some.
This was a bit of a drive for us, and would be for anyone, really, save those in Mesquite proper. But again, part of the draw for hidden gems is that they usually involve some effort to reach. It’s in a strip mall, so at least parking isn’t an issue.
This category is, of course, subjective. On the one hand, $11.99 for the small-size, all-dark-meat jerk chicken with two sides might seem high. The portion, however, was huge; $10 for six wings, fries and choice of dipping sauce is about average, though we wish that you could order that with two different flavors. Seafood dishes go for about $15, and oxtail’s original price of $21.49 has been crossed out in favor of “market price,” so we assume that it’s higher than that now. This is a bit on the steep side. There’s a little Jamaican place near us that serves it for $18, but we weren’t able to sample their version.
A lunch special for $7.99 Monday through Thursday includes chicken, a drink and two sides. If your schedule allows, that would probably be your best bet.
The menu is varied enough, offering jerk and pork, stews, curries, soups such as fish tea and Mannish water (goat soup), and wings with over a dozen flavor choices such as spicy orange, jerk and sweet chili. There is also seafood, including salt fish, and several sides including but not limited to boiled banana, fried dumplings, rice and peas, and fried plantains. Several Jamaican beverages are available in cans and bottles.
The jerk chicken was flavorful and not overcooked, juicy without being greasy and with a nice crust. It was full of peppery goodness that was even better the next day (we had leftovers). The cabbage was different from what we expected, sort of reminiscent of the filling of an egg roll. The mac and cheese was cheesy enough if a tad overcooked and salty, which is pretty much what you find most places. The wings were not undercooked and had a decent coating on them. We went with Bob Marley sauce, which was described by the server as a hotter Buffalo, and indeed it was, but not overpowering. The fries were seasoned a bit with some jerk seasoning and were serviceable.
The friendly, helpful person at the front took our orders and explained right off it would be about 20 minutes since there were a couple people ahead of us. This was before noon and no other customers were evident. In the end it took closer to 30 minutes. It might have been a staffing issue since we could see the order taker hopping back and forth between the kitchen and front, helping to prepare and cook the orders.
Worth the trip for those looking for a jerk fix who aren't in a hurry.
3315 N. Town East Blvd., Mesquite. Wednesday – Monday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; closed Tuesdays.