Chicken wings are such a ubiquitous American food—surely the most popular bar snack, right?—it seems unnecessary for a restaurant to focus on them, let alone a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. At least, that’s what I thought, until some complete stranger tourists asked me for directions while I was hanging out in front of the Cosmopolitan. “Is this Harmon?” asked the lady, pointing toward the street she was indeed looking for. As I started to respond, her boyfriend got down to business: “Where’s the Buffalo Wild Wings?” I never thought anyone would come to Las Vegas to eat chicken wings.
But they do, and the people who’ve brought Anchor Bar to the Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes food court are counting on it. The original opened in Buffalo, New York, in 1935, but it’s famous for what happened there in 1964—owner Teressa Bellisimo deep-fried some humble chicken wings, tossed them in the spicy, rich butter-and-hot-sauce combo we all know so well and served ‘em up. The rest was history. And like so many other storied eateries that have opened an outpost on Las Vegas Boulevard, so has Anchor Bar, opening in June.
So, do the wings live up to the hype? I have to say they do. You can get them boneless, but why? You can order them in various flavors like honey-ginger, lemon-pepper and teriyaki-sesame, but there’s no need. Grab a single order ($12.95 for about 10 wings) and stick to mild, medium or hot sauces, and you’ll find simple wing happiness. They’re plenty meaty and wonderfully crispy, and not at all dried out like what might happen at your neighborhood bar. The hot is hot enough; you’re on your own if you want to try the “suicidal” sauce. And they’re served with celery and bleu cheese, just the same as the first time they came out of the kitchen in Buffalo. If I was a hotel guest finishing up a late night of Vegas partying with the squad, I’d be awfully tempted to grab a bucket of 50 ($60) and forget about late-night room service.
Bonus beautiful snackage: Anchor Bar serves a quality version of that other Buffalo culinary creation, the Beef on Weck ($9.50). Super-thin slices of tender roast beef fresh-dipped in au jus are stacked on a soft Kimmelweck roll, known for the coarse salt and caraway seeds sprinkled on top. A side of creamy coleslaw and some serious horseradish complete this tasty bite.
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