Anthony Bourdain Called This Buffalo Food a Masterpiece
Thursday, November 3rd is National Sandwich Day, and to celebrate (which everyone should - who doesn’t love sandwiches?!), let’s take look back at the time when Anthony Bourdain put one of Buffalo’s most famous ones in the spotlight.
The world misses Anthony Bourdain. The former chef and author, who died tragically by suicide in 2018, was beloved for his shrewd and honest commentary on food and culture worldwide.
So when it was revealed that Anthony Bourdain would be spending time in Buffalo, New York, residents were excited - and also admiringly a little nervous. What would a legendary food guru like Bourdain think of our local Buffalo delicacies?
We officially found out during a 2009 episode of his Travel Channel show No Reservations.
In the episode, Bourdain and his buddy Zamir took a trip to three Rust Belt cities, one being Buffalo. When they arrived (during a blizzard, of course), they were kept pretty busy by the local Buffalo musician who invited them - they downed chicken wings, went snowmobiling, and attended a pig roast outside in the snow and freezing cold. So far, so Buffalo!
But after watching the episode, you’ll quickly realize what the highlight of Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Buffalo was, and it was when he tasted this iconic Buffalo dish for the first time.
Schwabl’s Restaurant is where Anthony Bourdain first experienced beef on weck.
After remarking that the sandwich looked “as pretty as can be” when it arrived at the table, he removed the salty kimmelweck roll and loaded up the hand-carved roast beef with horseradish (because, as his local Buffalonian tour guide instructs, “If you don’t get a sneeze out of it, you didn’t put enough on.”)
After that first messy bite of Buffalo’s most famous sandwich, it’s safe to say that Anthony Bourdain became a fan of Buffalo cuisine. During the episode, he would describe the legendary beef on weck sandwich as both “a humble but important contribution” to the city of Buffalo and a “tasty little masterpiece.”
“The tasty little masterpiece known as beef on weck.” - Anthony Bourdain
Throughout his life, Bourdain probably scarfed down hundreds of sandwiches from all around the globe. But thanks to No Reservations, everyone knows that Buffalo’s beef on weck is genuinely one of the best.
Thank you, Anthony Bourdain, for reminding us that Buffalo is pretty cool and our sandwiches are worth celebrating.
The classic beef on weck segment on No Reservations is in episode thirteen of season five, and the Buffalo-focused part starts 33 minutes in. It’s currently streaming on Discovery +.