Tag Archives: buffalo

Anchor Bar

The other day while walking around our neighborhood, my wife and I noticed that Anchor Bar had opened. For those who don’t know, Anchor Bar up in Buffalo is supposed to be the place that created what we now know as “Buffalo Wings.” The Buffalo location has become quite the tourist trap, so I am told, and people like to bicker about which place is better: Anchor Bar or Duff’s.

Well, I’ve been to neither. But I have been to some pretty fantastic wings places here, like Bonnie’s Grill and International Wings Factory (my two favorites – Bonnie’s for traditional Buffalo style, and IWF for the vast array of amazing flavors and dry rubs). Some people tell me that Dan & John’s is great too.

Anyway, we decided to give Anchor Bar a try. We ordered three styles: Hot (top), Suicidal (middle) and Habanero Dry Rub (bottom).

I’m not sure if they’re weakening the spice levels for the pussies out there, but hot was more like a mild or medium to me.

I expected suicidal to destroy me. Instead it was just a more earthy and granular flavor that had the same level of heat as the hot flavor.

The habanero dry rub was the weakest in spice of the three, and at times it felt like the flavors didn’t penetrate into the meat. They were nice and crunchy though.

Overall the wings were good. Above average for sure. I still think I like Bonnie’s and IWF better, but this is a pretty solid spot and very convenient.

My favorite thing that we ate was the beef on weck. I hope you people realize how fucking difficult it was to fool autocorrect from making that say “beef on deck.” Fucking annoying bullshit. The sandwich was good here, particularly the bread (I’ve had better roast beef).

Weck is a special kind of roll that also hails from the Buffalo area, typically topped with thick grain salt and other seeds and spices. The roast beef is sliced thin and served hot on the sandwich, typically with nothing but horseradish. I sliced up the pickle spear that came with the sandwich and put that on there as well. And it may be blasphemous, but I’ve always thought this sandwich would kick serious ass with some melted cheddar on top.

The great thing about this item at Anchor Bar is that for $16 you can get the sandwich and five wings – the best of both Buffalo specialties in one meal. Give that a shot if you go.

ANCHOR BAR
327 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

Meatball Shop

The Meatball Shop just opened up a new location on 9th Avenue at 53rd Street. The space is pretty cool, and it even has a bar attached called “Sidepiece,” where they feature all of their great cocktails and more food items.

My favorite cocktail there is a tequila and mezcal based drink called “the girl with the nice pear.”

My buddy brought me with him to shoot some photos for Instagram influencing purposes, so we were able to try a bunch of stuff. We started with the buffalo chicken meatballs, which were really great.

Next, this truly one of a kind tomato soup that is served with grilled cheese balls. This is only available for a limited time and only at the Hell’s Kitchen location, so get on it while you can.

This dish was awesome: pork meatballs in pesto on a bed of spaghetti. I really liked the texture and flavors here.

Meatball Shop also does something called “smash” sandwiches. Basically they flatten a pair of meatballs, cover them with melted cheese and dress with sauce before putting it all on a nice sandwich bun. This one here is made with chicken meatballs and topped with their classic tomato sauce and melted mozzarella. We added an egg on top because we rule.

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We didn’t stop there. Dessert consisted of a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream sandwich. Simple and delicious.

But my favorite was the brown sugar ice cream banana brulee split.

Amazing meal. I’m sold on this place for sure.

MEATBALL SHOP
798 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Bonnie’s Grill

Demetri Kontakos, the owner of Bonnie’s Grill for the last two years, recently invited me into his establishment for a press review. Bonnie’s has been a Brooklyn staple for about 15 years and running. I had heard great things about Bonnie’s wings, so I was excited to hoof it out into Brooklyn and give them a shot.

I love a simple countertop style joint. No fuss, no glitz and glamour: just really good fucking food. Bonnie’s is exactly that kind of place.

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Some people get excited about a fancy joint with buttoned up waiters, candle light and white tablecloths. Not me. I get excited when I can see people working on my ticket right in front of me.

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And somehow I was a big Bills fan when I was a kid. Probably because they had an awesome looking bovine as their logo. And Bonnie’s is a proud Buffalo style establishment.

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Speaking of Buffalo: the wings. They get fried up to a really nice crisp here – none of that rubbery skin bullshit that you get from other places. And the sauce is really flavorful: you can get mild, medium, hot or hotter. I can take a lot of heat; in fact I enjoy it. So next time I will be trying the hotter wings. This time we went with hot, and it didn’t have us tearing up and sucking down water.

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We did suck down a cream ale, though.

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These are a great bargain at just $3.50, but if canned beer isn’t your thing, every weekday from 4pm-7pm is happy hour, where drafts are just $4, and they run three or four pretty good handles.

But back to all things Buffalo… Check out this gem: beef on weck!

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I love regional food quirks. Beef on weck is one of those quirks that hails from Buffalo, or western New York, generally. Essentially, what you have here is sliced roast beef with horseradish and some meat juice on a kimmelweck roll (kaiser style, with caraway seeds and coarse grain salt on top).

Anyway this fucker was pure and simple. You can mess with it a little if you want, and add jalapeños and cheddar, but then you’re screwing with the integrity of a traditional sandwich.

And speaking of traditional, by now most of you know how I like my burgers: simple, nothing fancy. The classic American cheeseburger reigns supreme. So that’s what I got here.

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The patty is 80/20 lean/fat, so the masters at Bonnie’s develop a really great crisp on the outside of the burger. The cheese melts down so nicely and surrounds the patty with even more crisp.

There’s a ton of free toppings you can go with. I went with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and jalapeños. By the way: cheese is even a free topping here. But the kicker for me was that these guys kinda read my mind when it comes to the toppings. Notice how thin the tomato and onion slices are? I hate when the toppings end up making a burger eight inches tall. This was perfect.

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And speaking of perfect… the fries!

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Golden and crisp, and deftly seasoned with salt. And the chipotle mayo is a great way to enjoy them.

Another side I tried was the soup of the day, which was lentil and sweet corn. Very hearty and soulful.

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I can’t say enough positive things about this place. I just wish it was closer to my apartment! I’m near Central Park and this is near Prospect Park. But I highly recommend this place. So freaking good, and the staff are all really nice – ask for Alex and Rick when you go.

BONNIE’S KITCHEN
278 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Side Project Jerky

My wife picked up a pair of packs of this Side Project brand jerky while we were waiting to board our flight to Hawaii. Check out the cool logo of a bovine in a top hat:

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We sampled thr two flavors on the plane: Mongolian and Philly Cheese Steak.

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The interesting thing about this brand is that they stamp each pack with dates for when they were dried and packed, right there next to the ingredients list and nutritional info.

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Pretty cool. When you rip the packs open, you will find a thick vacuum sealed plastic pouch containing the meat:

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No doubt this preserves the freshness.

We first tried the Mongolian flavor. It was peppery, garlicky, and had good meat flavor. I was expecting a higher spice level for its claim that it would make Ghengis proud. But the texture was good, and it even had some sesame seeds embedded. Not wet, not dry, not sticky and not tough. It passed all hurdles that can usually trip up a jerky.

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Surprisingly the cheese steak flavor was where all the spice was residing. It was light on cheese flavor but bold on pepper. I liked it.

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Overall I was very satisfied with the product and I would definitely eat it again.

Where The Buffalo Roam

I recently became aware that Long Island has a thriving buffalo ranch out in Riverhead called North Quarter Farm. When I started digging around online about it, I came across a few articles written over the last 10 or 15 years that championed the effort. See the NY Times Article and the Long Island Press Article. I learned that the farm owners also have a steakhouse-type restaurant called Tweeds, run by the husband of the bison ranch team, where they proudly feature many items that derive from bison (buffalo mozz, buffalo hanger steak, buffalo rib eye, buffalo reuben sandwich, etc). There’s even a second restaurant, right next door and run by the wife in the farm team, called Dark Horse. This place is more of a casual bar type of place, with a modern decor and music selection, featuring items like buffalo pate and buffalo pastrami sandwiches. I inquired about whether they use the actual buffalo from the farm in the restaurants. The answer was no (with the exception of the “ground steak” used to make the bison burgers at Dark Horse). Unfortunately their bison must go out to PA to be USDA certified before they can be slaughtered and cooked up into delicious food. But I thought it was cool that they put as much buffalo meat onto the menu as possible to pay tribute to their ranch business. They even offer buffalo meat cuts (steaks of all kinds, pate, chopped meat, etc) to buy and take home for your own cooking adventures.

So my wife and I decided to take a drive out there to try the food and to see the farm. We settled on eating at Tweeds, since we liked the interior better and it was a little more quiet. Since we ordered from the lunch menu I couldn’t realistically give the place a full review here, but I thought it was worth mentioning in a commentary with some photos. The place was beautiful inside, rich with local history and an old timey atmosphere. Apparently the giant bison head on the wall beside the bar is the actual last bison that Teddy Roosevelt ever hunted. Pretty cool. The service was excellent; our waitress Janine was really nice, helpful, and sweet. They had a great selection of German beers on tap and in bottles, and the food was fucking delicious. We started with a bison skewer and a couple of beers. The meat was juicy and tender; cooked just right. For my entree I had a bison hanger steak. It too was perfectly cooked, juicy, and delicious. It came with a peppercorn cognac cream sauce that I could drink by the gallon. So good. My wife had the corned bison Reuben sandwich. Just like a regular corned beef Reuben, but with corned bison. It was incredible, and served with some big sliced pickles. Both of our meals came with potato wedges, deep fried with the skin still on for a really delicious, crispy, homemade pile of steak fries. Needless to say we will definitely be going back here for a proper dinner, where I can sink my teeth into a buffalo rib eye (it wasn’t on the lunch menu).

Scroll down for pics of our food, and for pics of the buffalo at the farm. The bison were right along the fence for a bit, so I got a few close up shots before they walked away. We even had the pleasure of seeing some of the bison “wallowing,” or rolling themselves in a shallow dirt spot, covering themselves in dust.

FOOD PICS:

Teddy's Bison Head
Teddy’s Bison Head
Bison Skewer App
Bison Skewer App
Bison Hanger Steak
Bison Hanger Steak
Corned Bison Reuben
Corned Bison Reuben
Bill
Bill

BUFFALO RANCH PICS:

buffalo farm 007 buffalo farm 014_tonemapped edits 2 buffalo farm 029_tonemapped sepia buffalo farm 036_tonemapped vintage 2 buffalo farm 043_tonemapped sepia

TWEED’S
17 E. Main St.
Riverhead, NY 11901