There’s few food items that you can go somewhere and have the original version of something in the place where it was invented. Yes, you can go to New Orleans and have jambalaya, or Philly for cheese steaks, or Chicago for Italian beef sandwiches… but there is usually a disagreement over exactly where it started (Philly has narrowed it down to two choices with cheese steaks).
Earlier this year I had a chance to have some Boston Cream Pie at the Parker House in Boston, where it was invented. Oddly enough, I was rather disappointed by it – the custard wasn’t very rich, the cake wasn’t decadently moist and the chocolate frosting/glaze on top left a LOT to be desired.
This weekend was a chance to try another original – the original buffalo wings at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY. For a hot-wing lover like myself, this is akin to a pilgrimage; visiting the holy land where the religion of capsaicin-laden wings was born!
Walking through the restaurant, you could see people enjoying platters of wings – with the wings served on the pedestal platters normally reserved for a family-sized pizza, and the smell of oil and hot sauce wafted throughout. The restaurant is a perfect little hole-in-the-wall joint, but was hopping on a early Saturday afternoon in late September.
The wings themselves are perfectly executed if nothing else; now that buffalo-style wings are everywhere and are found in sandwiches and even in non-meat substitutes, the original can appear tame compared to what has evolved from it. However, these wings were large – meaty and tender – and perfectly cooked, with a nice crispy skin and cooked all the way through, allowing the meat to be pulled easily off the bone. We went with the "medium" sauce, which is the "original" – it was pleasantly hot and spicy, but not overpowering. Hotter levels are available. The buttery-ness of the margarine and the spicy Red Hot is a classic and is tough to beat.
The bar and rest of the menu is basic, and the wings are traditional, but they are the original, they are prepared just the right way and are truly "authentic."
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars!!