Winging it at Padonia Station

April 21, 1995|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

You want wings? Do we have wings for you. We have Buffalo style (a secret recipe), we have teriyaki wings, we have Buffalo garlic, hickory bbq, honey mustard, Jamaican jerk, pepper Parmesan and Cajun spiced. (Those last two come with pepper Parmesan dressing and Cajun sauce respectively instead of blue cheese dressing.)

Not hot enough for you? How about Nuclear Wings (extra cayenne powder)? Or Wings From Hell (the original recipe laced with diced jalapeno peppers)?

Actually it's Padonia Station that has all these wings, in so many different flavors and quantities (up to 100 for $32.95) that we felt guilty ordering only 12 of the plain old original. But, hey, it's a secret recipe, right?

Now these are very fine wings, plump and deliciously fatty with just the right edge of spice and a vinegary bite. And they did have plenty of fresh celery and blue cheese dressing to cool the fire. But, I hate to admit, I'm not sure I could tell the difference between these and other Buffalo wings in a blind taste test.

OK, wings aren't your thing. Well, whatever is your thing, Padonia Station Raw Bar & Grille probably has it on its huge menu. This looks like just another bar-restaurant, and the offerings do tend to be casual food; but you'll also find crab cakes and strip steak dinners, chicken stir-fries and several pastas.

From the raw bar, we got steamed oysters. They aren't the same as raw, of course, but I've gotten nervous lately. These were fine, fresh and plump -- they just don't slither down quite so appealingly when they aren't raw.

Padonia Station has five soups, including an excellent Maryland crab with an unconscionable amount of crab meat piled on top. Or you might get the Wisconsin cheese soup, which tastes like a bowl of bacon-flavored cheese sauce.

Not enough calories for you? Follow the cheese soup, as my daughter did, with loaded skins. They're like eating three baked potatoes, halved with a little of the inside scooped out, then piled with melted cheese and bacon. Of course, there's sour cream for dipping.

If you feel compelled to eat healthily, the shrimp salad plate is a good choice. The big shrimp are tossed whole with celery and mayonnaise, and the platter is handsomely garnished with sliced hard boiled egg, tomatoes and cucumbers.

But a tuna melt was a disappointment; its English muffin was burnt. And the ribs, while tender, had very little smoky flavor and the sauce wasn't cooked into the meat at all. French fries were pale and soft.

Interestingly enough, Padonia Station, while definitely a bar first, restaurant second, is also something of a family restaurant. Sure, there are a lot of beer-drinking college-age kids and happy-hour types here; but you won't feel out of place if you bring your 5-year-old. There's even a kids' menu under the list of beers from around the world.

Padonia Station

Where: Padonia Village Shopping Center, York and Padonia roads

Hours: Open daily at 11 a.m., until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, midnight Sunday

Credit cards accepted: AE, D, MC, V

Features: Eclectic menu

Non-smoking section? No

Call: (410) 252-8181

Prices: Appetizers, $1.95-$7.50; entrees, $6.95-$12.95

** 1/2

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