Monday, April 8, 2013

Anchor Bar: Hamilton, Ontario

Anchor Bar Wings
Back when I was in university, I decided to become a vegetarian. This will likely come as a shock to anyone who has been reading my previous posts and has observed my love of meat. I was a vegetarian for about 5 years and really enjoyed it; I was certain I’d never go back to eating meat. After I moved to Toronto and was between jobs, I did some waitressing at Magic Oven, a restaurant offering organic pizza, pasta and salad options. Also, wings. Yes, tasty, delicious free-range, crispy and dry rubbed in herbs and garlic. After about a month at this place, I started dreaming about wings and eventually ate one. It was amazing and they are still to this day my all-time fave wings. This post, therefore, has a special place in my meat gut heart.

The wings:
Anchor Bar, Jackson Square,
Hamilton ON
Working in the James North neighbourhood means that I have many delicious options for lunch.  With so many new and interesting places popping up, it can be hard to keep up let alone choose a place to check out! Last week my co-workers and I decided to visit the Anchor Bar; Jackson Square’s newest addition and the wing joint’s first venture in Canada.  With a fully renovated space, friendly staff and super tasty wings, it has quickly become a popular lunch spot among locals and it’s easy to see why.

Anchor Bar, Jackson Square,
Hamilton ON
We ordered 30 wings – ½ spicy and ½ medium. What can I say? They were very tasty and nothing short of what I would expect from a place known for their wings. The sauce had great flavor – tangy, spicy and bright. The wings weren’t overly battered, just nice good-sized wings coated in a messy sauce. They came with a house-made blue cheese dip which we all loved. I don’t even really like celery but had several pieces just to soak up the dip! 

Buffalo Chicken Poutine
We also ordered a poutine (Obviously. I mean, how can I go somewhere new and not try one of their poutines when they have 4 different kinds on the menu?) We opted for the “Buffalo Chicken” poutine. Although the potatoes are nice and the curds are appreciated, the gravy was overly salty. They didn’t use their signature wing sauce on the chicken, opting instead to let the flavor of the gravy coat the meat. The dish was finished with a ranch drizzle. While we still enjoyed the poutine, I think a few small changes could really make this poutine a show stealer. I would start by coating the chicken in their tasty wing sauce (which, really only makes sense when you consider the poutine is called the “Buffalo Chicken” poutine) and I would substitute the ranch drizzle with their homemade blue cheese sauce. By incorporating two things they are already doing really well, namely their sauce and their blue cheese dip, they would have a delicious and unique poutine.

Overall, the Anchor Bar is a great new spot inside Jackson Square that I would definitely recommend to anyone with a craving for chicken wings.  We left feeling satisfied - not super full or bloated - and anxious to return!

Blog epilogue:
We have all been craving wings in the office since we went. Even for breakfast!