Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken wings, cheap: Mo Jeaux's Bar and Grill

If ES and I are hanging out in Fort Collins instead of Denver for the weekend, the declaration of "It's Saturday!" is oftentimes not just the overjoyed cry of the weekday-weary, but our excited realization that the Cajun- and Southern-themed bar and grill Mo Jeaux's is serving up their smoked chicken wings for a mere 50 cents apiece, all day long.

Indeed, it was the 50 cent wings that first got me to step foot in the place the first time, though it took me a while. I had long perceived Mo Jeaux's as being primarily an undergraduate hangout, and until ES came along with his love of chicken wings in all forms, I had little desire to swill drinks alongside the same students who could very well appear the next day in my classroom. There were also other obstacles—the first night we went, the bar was packed with post-game revelers and there was nary a seat to be found. Unwilling to wait, we left and decided to return another time.
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Another opportunity presented itself a few weeks later, when we found ourselves pondering our meal options after a tour of New Belgium Brewing Company. We made our way over to Mo Jeaux's, counting on the early evening to be more peaceful. Fortunately, we were right, and found ourselves a comfortable booth seat right away.

On Saturdays, along with the 50 cent wing special, Mo Jeaux's boasts $2 drafts of Coors and Bud along with their full menu of bbq, burgers, and sandwiches and everyday "pub grub" menu of $4 items. We'd just decided on an order of fried okra from this last menu when the enticing smell of another table's garlic and parmesan fries wafted under our noses, and we added on a basket of those, too. In truth, I wouldn't say either choice was particularly special, but they were still tasty and for $4, the portions were admirable.
Mo Jeaux's smoked chicken wings are sold in orders of five, and we started off with one order of the regular hot-wing flavor (pictured at top) just to test the waters. They proved to be juicy and huge—nearly twice the size of wings at, say, Buffalo Wild Wings—and quite delicious. With the classic wings a success, we quickly ventured into other territory: honey mustard, and naked. The honey mustard flavor was too light to make much impact, but ES thoroughly enjoyed the naked wings, which boasted a crisp, paper-thin fried skin around the smoky chicken meat. I liked that the creamy blue cheese dressing had big chunks of real cheese, too.
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Another visit meant more wing flavors and more selections from the pub grub menu. The teriyaki wings were surprisingly complex, with a gingery kick to the sauce that did much to elevate their flavor beyond the sticky, palate-fatiguing sweetness of so many other versions. The sausage mac and cheese was a heaping pile of perfect, chewy-cheesy baked pasta topped with slices of andouille sausage. And I couldn't resist getting the menu's $1.99 "one rib" offering, after spotting it on someone else's plate when I went up to order: a wonderfully tender pork rib with meat that fell right off the bone.
Even though I discovered Mo Jeaux's late in the game—I'd lived in this town for over two years by the time ES and I finally tried it—now the place is a firm part of our dining-out rotation. At this point I don't have a lot of time here left, but you bet we're fitting in at least one more visit to Mo Jeaux's before I go!

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