Despite the fact that nachos are about as far from Italian cuisine as you can get, the Boston Italian Restaurant Industrial Complex continues to test the barriers of Tex Mex, with Nacho Patrol ready and willing to serve (or as usually is the case, be served). In our last post we chronicled our myriad attempts to find good Italian nachos, culminating in a delicious trip to Ducali Pizza. This time, we’re at Regina Pizzeria in Allston (formerly The Sports Depot), where if the cheese doesn’t kill you, the terror of the commuter rail flying by your head just might.
Regina Nachos: Corn tortilla chips piled high with melted Pepper Jack and Mozzarella cheese, Regina sausage, tomatoes, chopped red onions, black olives and sliced hot cherry peppers. Garnished with sour cream and guacamole.
- Appearance: (7) In our three and a half years of eating nachos, we have never seen this much cheese. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but there is actually an ocean of cheese on that plate. A Mexiterranean Ocean of cheese. In theory, a glut of cheese should be delicious, but in practice it’s not exactly aesthetically pleasing. It consumed the tomatoes, olives, and onions, drenching the chips and obscuring the lovely painted plate. Luckily, the guac and sour cream were on the side, else we’d have a downright mess on our hands!
- Distribution: (7) We thought we’d never say this, but there was too much cheese. Side effects of Too Much Cheese include soupiness, chip drenching, cheese sweats, soggy chips, and watching years of your life disappear. We appreciated that the cheese completely ensnared the other toppings creating perfectly proportioned bites.
- Quality: (8) In deference to our vegetarian allies, these nachos were sans sausage or chicken, but our friend who ordered a side of sausages said they were delicious. For the most part, the other toppings were average–the guac, tomatoes, olives, and chives were nothing special. The peppers were a nice touch, not too spicy, but a pleasant kick of flavor. The real delight was the mix of Pepper Jack and Mozzarella, combining to make the whole plate taste like pizza (See…these are Italian nachos!), and as we all know, pizza is what Regina does best.
- Price: (7) You can get the basic nachos (as listed above) for $10. For an additional $5 you can add buffalo chicken. $10 is average for the area, matching the cost of the former Sport’s Depot nachos, but we find the concept of $5 chicken so offensive that we’re knocking them down another point.
- Overall: 29/40. We loved the flavors and passion with which the cook layered on the cheese, but ultimately these nachos suffered from too much of a yummy thing.
Do we risk getting whacked if we keep writing average-to-negative nacho reviews of North End hot spots?
Once upon a time, in a haze of beer and a few too many truffled gorgonzola fries, we waxed slightly poetic about our love for Deep Ellum, and our torrid fantasies about just how good their nachos might be. And now, it seems our dreams have (somewhat) come true, as Deep Ellum has recently expanded and opened up the Lone Star Taco Barright next door, complete with nachos on the menu. Have our dreams come true??
Lone Star is indeed the South-of-the-Border sister of Deep Ellum, complete with the exceedingly dim lighting, delicious cocktails, and a bovine head on the wall (though stuffed, not skeletal). The “Victory Club Nachos” came with little descriptive text, but considering that they were $5, we waited in nervous anticipation for them to arrive. Would they live up to our fantasies, or would they be little more than cheese over chips? And then, at long last, they arrived:
- Appearance: (4) Excuse me, waiter? There must be some mistake, you’ve brought me a salad!
- Quality of Ingredients: (9) Upon closer investigation, the vegetable on top was not lettuce but sliced Napa cabbage, which was…better than expected. With the Cotija cheese on top and some crema sauce underneath, it was almost edible on its own as a salad. Underneath, we appreciated the thick housemade chips and pickled jalapenos. There were a few small dabs of guacamole, but we found them to be slightly funky and overripe tasting.
- Distribution of Toppings: (7.5) There was a fair amount of cheese and the sour cream sauce added to the distribution, but the lid of cabbage cooled the cheese unusually fast, leaving it in thick slabs. Still, just about every chip has something tasty on it.
- Price: (10) For $5 these were an exceptionally filling snack for two.
- Overall: 30.5/40. If you make a trip to Lone Star, these nachos are definitely worth your time, cash, and stomach space. Sometimes dreams really do come true…
Do you remember a scant 29 months ago when we questioned the strange allure of Our House West (in case you don’t, you can get nostalgic here and here)? That “den of vice, iniquity, and many a lost Tuesday night” kept us coming back week after week despite its many, often very apparent, flaws. Sure, the nachos weren’t that good, but they had board games and curly fries. It was like college, but sexier.
Reader, in recent months you may have noticed a painful cry rushing away from the dingy streets of Allston. Have you paused to listen to that sad moan hanging in the wind? Have you heard it whisper, “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuddddde…..I looooooovvvvveeee yooooooooouuuuu” and then vomit? Well, that’s just the ghosts of the recently deceased Our House West fleeing that immortalized basement to make room for the bright and beautifully whitewashed Jalepenos. Ditching our mourning shrouds and bolstering our spirits with thoughts of Mexican food, we headed back down that well trod road to Our House–I mean Jalapenos.
- Appearance: (6) Segregation was ruled unconstitutional years ago, but Jalapenos missed that. One half entirely cheese and veggies, the other split between pico and a torrent of jalapeno peppers? It didn’t make a lot of sense to us. Also, the cheese sauce had a very suspiciously too-orange color…
- Quality of Ingredients: (7) The homemade chips here are good, and while the salsa is more like pico de gallo, it was fresh and bright tasting. The veggies were large, well-seasoned chunks of roasted zucchini, summer squash and eggplant. The cheese sauce was…cheese sauce. We had been hoping for something along the lines of Border’s queso dip, but this unfortunately had more in common with Velveeta.
- Distribution of Toppings: (6) Does anyone really need that many jalapenos? Really? We scraped them off and they filled a whole appetizer plate. The cheese sauce got so cold that it formed a skin and didn’t properly coat the chips.
- Price: (7) We’re pretty sure these were in the $10 range–so average, it’s not worth discussing.
- Overall: (26/40) Jalepenos may have upgraded the decor, but sadly not the nachos. Tying with the Our House West re-review, we’re unsure why the cheese sauce on the nachos was different from the queso dip on the menu and why they found it necessary to douse the whole plate in jalepenos. Was it an edible homage to their name???? Genius!
Saying goodbye to Our House West was hard, but it’s nice to see the space growing up with us. And no matter what, we still have our memories–or rather, hazy drunken recollections of questionable decisions gone by.