While in Toronto I went to a place that had 180 different types of chicken wings. Even though the sweet chili with ranch version there was quite tasty, the vast selection was a bit of an overkill. Especially since, as a former Buffalonian, I knew that there are only three types of Buffalo wings; mild, medium or hot. And so does Anchor Bar.
Anchor Bar in downtown Buffalo, New York is the joint where the original chicken wing was created in 1964.
Even though I had spent most of my time on this trip to Toronto/Buffalo indulging in fatty deep-fried foods, I didn’t want to miss out on eating at this East coast delicacy on the way to the airport, one of the few things on my Buffalo bucket list. So what if I will be burping up hot sauce for the entire 7 hour flight home.
Stepping into this dimly lit restaurant you are immediately struck with license plates from every state. Why? That question still lingers, but it may be an indicator of where all the tourist have come from just to get a taste of these Buffalo wings.
We sat at one of the last tables, in a simple dining room and glanced at the eclectic newspaper style menu. Raviolis? Nope. We ordered a single order of Buffalo wings medium ($13.00) and a Beef on Weck sandwich ($7.50), another Buffalo tradition.
The server immediately gave us our sodas in jumbo plastic cups and a whopping thirteen napkins. 13! That is more than one napkin per wing.
As a Restaurateur the potential waste of napkins made me cringe. I spent the next five minutes calculating how much money I could save this restaurant by giving 6 napkins less, to the hundreds of tables they serve each day. This would be for naught if I actually needed to use them all for these juicy Buffalo wings.
The plate of chicken wings arrived looking just like I remember from my younger days, golden brown with a side of celery and blue cheese. Blue cheese…sigh. So much better than the ranch accompaniments sometimes served with this dish on the West coast.
Napkin number one went into my lap, to catch any drippings, napkin two also went in my lap to be used for my hands and I placed a third one, on the sidelines, next to my plate ready for action if need be.
The wings were crispy with tender center meat and the medium sauce just spicy enough, a hint of burn on the tongue. My entire family still residing in the Buffalo area claims that there are much better wings elsewhere. If they are right, I can’t imagine just how good the others must be.
The beef on weck was a dry roast beef sandwich served with a side of straight horseradish. The big deal about this thinly sliced meat sandwich is the Weck, a kummelweck bread topped with kosher salt and caraway.
The two of us finished our meal using only six napkins total. Not bad for some West coast rookies.