The Buffalo Bar
After an amazing day in Yellowstone National Park, we headed back to civilization and our hotel in the small town of West Yellowstone, Montana. The West Entrance to the park is right on the edge of town, so the town serves as a hub for tourists wanting to explore the park but not camp in it.
We spent pretty much the whole day in the car, so by the time we got to our hotel at the Best Western Desert Inn right on the edge of town, we were ready to grab dinner and relax before getting to bed early so we could get up and get back in to the park early and hopefully see a little more wildlife.
We got back to our hotel a little after 6:00 and once we got settled, I started looking for something to eat. There were no breweries in town, so I started looking for bars that had a good beer list. I found two and the better reviews were for the one a few blocks away.
The Buffalo Bar is on US-20 west of the main downtown area. We decided to walk because it was a nice night and we just wanted a casual, laid back dinner and walking to the restaurant was the best way to do that.
It took about ten minutes to get to the bar and we were a little shocked to find it packed. There’s a large dining room and bar area as well as a casino area. All of the tables were full except for one large table near the door that hadn’t been cleared from the previous party. J wasn’t too excited about taking this table, but I was hungry and wanted to eat, so I moved all the dirty glasses and the checks from the previous party to the end of the table and started wiping it down.
Shortly after that, a waitress grabbed a bar rag to wipe the table down and took the rest of the dirty dishes away. She didn’t bring us menus right away though and that was almost enough to make us leave. We were already hungry and really just wanted to order.
When the waitress did finally bring us menus, I asked about beer. They didn’t have a tap list anywhere other than the dreaded “ask your server.” The server’s never know what’s on tap. Sure, you can say there’s an IPA, but I’d like to know what it is without asking. Turns out, they had a really good IPA on tap. Draught Works Scepter Head. This was the first really good, really hoppy IPA I had on this trip and probably the best overall as well (well, pretty close with The Devastator or Big Bad Baptist). It had a nice, big hop flavor with that citrusy taste that I really love in IPA’s. I could have drank a couple of these.
Based on reviews we read online, we decided to start with an appetizer. We started with the Dirty Chips which came highly recommended. The fresh kettle chips are topped with cheese, bacon, green onions, sour cream and fresh made pico de gallo. The reviews were dead on with this. The chips were very tasty. The were crispy and salty and smothered in the cheese and sour cream. By this point, we were both really hungry and it took quite a while for them to come out, so it didn’t take long for us to devour the plate.
I continued my string of eating burgers and ordered the Bacon & Bleu burger. The delicious 1/2 lb burger is topped with bacon and bleu cheese. It’s served on a fresh brioche bun with waffle fries. The thing I really remember about this burger is the tanginess of the bleu cheese and the freshness of the soft brioche bun. Those were the two elements of this burger that really jumped out at me. They were a good match for the heavy, juicy burger and the crispy slices of bacon. The fries also seemed to be fresh cut and I liked the choice of waffle fries. The great thing is there were a lot of them so leaving hungry wasn’t a worry.
J was really in the mood for a salad after eating pretty awfully for the four days. There wasn’t a lot to choose from, but she thought the Southwest Chop Salad sounded pretty good. The plate comes with iceberg lettuce, bacon bits, fresh pico, cheddar jack cheese, shredded chicken, and penne pasta. She chose the cilantro lime vinaigrette to top it off. A couple things with this that she didn’t like. The iceberg lettuce. Not a great choice for a salad. Also, the pico. J’s not a huge onion fan and the onion really dominated the flavor of the pico and transferred the flavor to everything it touched. She tried to eat around the rather large chunks of onion, but didn’t have much luck. On paper, she thought this sounded good, but the onion flavor just dominated and sort of turned her off.
Our bill came out to a little under $40 before tip. We were kind of hit and miss on this restaurant. J loved the Dirty Chips but didn’t really like her salad. I really enjoyed my beer, but I hate having to pull teeth just to find out what’s on tap. My burger was delicious and I liked the Dirty Chips as well.
The Buffalo Bar is the kind of place you love to hang out. It’s a great little sports bar and a great meeting spot. We were looking for a somewhat laid back bar meal and didn’t really fit in with the crowd who was really cheering along for the Women’s World Cup game that was on the TV’s. If you’re traveling with friends or just looking for a place to hang out, enjoy some beers, and watch game, this is the place in West Yellowstone to do that.