Anchor Bar – Buffalo, NY (Update)

I previously reviewed the Anchor Bar, but a short business trip gave me the opportunity to revisit this mecca of buffalo wings.  I stand by my original rating, though I will expand upon it based on a few more years of wing experience.  I think the key to the success of the Anchor Bar's wings is that they are fresh – nearly all wings are frozen now, and the Anchor Bar's wings have the juiciest, tastiest chicken meat I've ever had at any restaurant.  The skin is perfectly crispy but the meat retains all of its natural juices.  I guess when you fry millions of wings a year, you get really, really good at it and you have the supplier pull to get super-fresh chicken wings.

A new item on the Anchor Bar's menu is Buffalo Chicken Soup.  The best way to describe it is to think of a New England Clam Chowder with chicken and buffalo flavors instead of clams, bacon and potato.  It is very, very thick and creamy – perhaps almost too much so; it borders on gelatinous.  It could also use just a bit more heat in my opinion.  It is a very intersting concept with some potential I think.

Barley’s Smokehouse – Columbus, OH

Needing a welcome respite on a three-day marathon business trip, I chose Barley's for some good beer and food.  The beer was indeed good, and the food was good overall, though the ribs were a bit dissapointing (see full review here on  The highlight of the visit, however, were actually the wings. 

Billed as their "famous grilled wings" I simply had to get them and chose to go with their buffalo sauce.  The wings were delicious – lightly seasoned and then grilled enough to get some flavorfull char, with all of them being juicy, tender and surprisingly crispy.

But a well-cooked wing is only half the battle, right?  The sauce is the other half, and it is here where these wings really stand out.  At first taste, I was worried that it was going to be another round of sweet BBQ sauce being passed off as wing sauce.  Then I tasted the garlic… then the heat hit me.  It is a late heat that allows the other flavors to come through and when the heat does come, it is just the right amount.  The heavy hand with the garlic in the sauce (visible pieces int he sauce I believe), was a nice touch.  It was an intersting and flavorful sauce and would love to get my hands on the recipe!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!

Bones Grille – Lansdale, PA

I had been to Bones Grille once before and wanted to try their smoked chicken wings, but couldn't that last time.  This time I didn't have to worry about messing my shirt up before a meeting, so I went for them.

The description on the menu says they are "appled brined chicken wings, dry rubbed and slow cooked in the bones hickory pit."  I couldn't pick out any particular apple flavor in the meat, but it was tender and juicy.  The wings were plump and good size and well cooked.  When I first looked at them, I was afraid that there couldn't be any crispiness to them at all, but there was.  My biggest issue with the wings is that they were slathered in a sauce that was nearly all sweet and no heat, and for a "smoked" wing, there was really no smoke flavor to speak of.

Overall, it was just kind of lackluster, but not bad. 

RATING: 2.5 out of 5 stars