Buffalo, New York’s Anchor Bar lays claim to having invented the Buffalo-style chicken wing, way back in 1964. Since then, the famed wing emporium has opened three Canadian locations: in Hamilton and Burlington, Ont., and, last autumn, in Toronto.
Located on the airport strip, on Dixon Road, just east of the Toronto Congress Centre, Anchor Bar is an eminently welcoming space, outfitted with hardwood floors, padded booths and big-screen TVs
Leading off our meal is French onion soup, loaded with sweetly caramelized onions in an intense broth and topped with the requisite toasted bread and oodles of gooey cheese.
The house salad brings crisp mixed greens, cucumber and tomatoes in a restrained balsamic vinaigrette.
We sample the Classic Burger, a generous patty fashioned from certified Angus beef and griddle-cooked until a deeply charred crust forms. Garnishing the burger are onion, lettuce, tomato and pickle.
Fish and chips — an enormous piece of beer-battered haddock, crusted with hickory chips — could almost feed two people and is also sided with crisp cole slaw.
The menu also features beef on weck, a sandwich, found primarily in Western New York (home to the original Anchor Bar, of course), that’s built on thin-sliced roast beef and horseradish piled onto a salt- and caraway seed-encrusted kummelweck roll. At Anchor Bar, the horseradish is freshly grated and the sizeable sandwich is served with beef jus, for dipping, and a metal basket full of fries.
Cajun rub wings
And the dish that made Anchor Bar famous? We opt for the intensely flavourful Cajun rub wings and they’re plump and wear a slightly crisp exterior.
The Cheesecake Factory supplies desserts, which include smooth cheesecake swirled with sweet cream and strawberries on vanilla crumb crust, and another cheesecake, this time, chocolate, adorned with chopped-up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Corporate buyouts will be considered for the restaurant, which seats 284 (in the warm weather, a patio seats an additional 50). Also available for groups is an upper level area that seats 42.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,300 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.