This week’s nacho review comes to you from
Bugaboo Creek Miller’s Ale House, conveniently located next to the Arsenal Mall in scenic Watertown. In an area that truly lacks tacky sports bars, Miller’s is a welcome change from the moose restaurant . The menu may be reminiscent of Friday’s, but the waitstaff is friendly, the drinks are fell-off-the-back-of-the-truck cheap, and the dining room is still shiny and new. We look forward to returning soon for our 1st Annual Classy –> Divey Western Ave Pub Crawl, starting at Miller’s Ale House, moving to the Boyne, and ending at the Bus Stop.
To punish ourselves for not eating nachos recently, we decided to indulge in two nachos: The Fiesta Nachos and the Zinger® Potato Chip Nachos (because nachos with a registered trademark are not weird at all). Just so you know, they also have something called the Chicken Enormous Nachos, but adding that to our tab would likely have killed us.
Fiesta Nachos: Crispy Tortilla chips Layered with Fresh Ground Beef Simmered in Ancho Chili Seasoning, Pico de Gallo and Jalapeños. Smothered in Jack & Cheddar Cheeses, then Melted until Bubbling. Topped with Sour Cream and a dash of taco seasoning.
- Appearance: (4) The overall theme of this review is “meh,” starting with appearance, which was–unsurprisingly–meh. We got chili on the side in deference to our vegetarian friend, but we suspect leaving it on would have done little to make these nachos exciting. Average corn chips, scant cheese melted and congealed until nearly solid, and typical pico and jalapenos. The only mark of distinction was the taco season sprinkled on the ball of sour cream. Nice choice–almost made sour cream bearable.
- Quality of Ingredients: (6) The only thing worth mentioning on this plate was the beef, which despite being ugly, was delicious. It nicely complimented the taco seasoning on the sour cream. Is it sad that’s the highlight? Cheese, chips, pico, and jalepenos were otherwise unremarkable.
- Distribution of Toppings: (5) We suspect someone in the kitchen was saving all the cheese for the Potato Chip and Chicken Enormous nachos, favoring the big brothers over the scrawny runt, the Fiesta. The sprinkling of cheese we did receive chilled too quickly, leaving us with a pile of naked chips and cheese we had to tear apart with our fingers. Chili-on might have helped, but there is no way to get around the fact that there wasn’t enough cheese.
- Price: (7) $8.99–an average plate for an average price.
- Overall: 22/40
Zinger® Potato Chip Nachos: Zingers® Tossed in Medium Garlic Sauce, Cut into Bite Size Pieces and Served over Homemade Potato Chips. Topped with Jack & Cheddar Cheeses, Diced Tomatoes, Green Onions and Sour Cream. We’re gonna call these specialty nachos.
We should start this by saying we still have no idea what a Zinger® is. We thought they were boneless chicken wings, but either they forgot our sauce or it somehow soaked into the breading during the walk from the kitchen to the table. As best we can tell a Zinger® is a chicken finger with some stuff on it–in the menu photos, said “stuff” glistens. In real life it doesn’t exist.
- Appearance: (7) Quite mouthwatering when compared with the Fiesta ‘chos, but rather monotonous on its own. We appreciated the lava-flow of cheese cascading into the chips, and the splash of color provided by the tomatoes and onions helped to ameliorate our concerns over the glistening grease of the chips.
- Quality: (4) A lot of problems and only a few compliments. We appreciated the attempt at thick-cut homemade chips. The ones un-soggied by cheese grease were delicious, but once they were even slightly moistened they ended up grainy and unpleasant. The Zingers® were equally unimpressive–maybe we should have chosen a more flavorful sauce (we elected to mix “medium” and “garlic”), but they just tasted like breaded chicken fingers. Overall, the plate was greasy and probably life-shortening.
- Distribution: (6) When it comes to potato chips, there’s a fine line between too little cheese and too much. In Miller’s case, they went a little overboard and we ended up with a greasy mess of off-textured chips and an iceberg of solidified cheese. Again, the cheese congealed too quickly and was sliding off the chips. We could have used more Zinger® as well.
- Price: (6) At ~$10, these weren’t outlandish.
- Overall: 23/40. We’ve had much better potato chip nachos closer to home at John Harvard’s and Orleans (and even as far away as Denver), without having to figure out how to incorporate a pesky ® symbol into a blog post.
Second only to (duh) nachos, breakfast/brunch is one of our most favorite food groups (as you may have guessed, we aren’t exactly strict adherents to the US FDA nutrition guidelines…). We have long aspired to combine these two great loves into one mythical dish, the breakfast nachos (also possibly known as breakchos, brachos, nachfast, and/or fastchos). The Friendly Toast has something resembling breakfast nachos on their menu, which we have been eyeing for some time, but are always tempted away by other items on their delicious menu.
On vacation in Lenox, MA (Official Motto: Are you a rich middle aged woman? Then you’ll love it here!), we had practically given up hope on finding nachos amongst the bevy of overpriced Italian restaurants and wine bars. Then serendipity struck at Spoon, a cute little breakfast/lunch/ice cream cafe in the heart of town. Our bleary eyes widened in surprise and delight at the description of Chilaquiles on their menu: “Basically, nachos with eggs. Salsa verde, queso fresco, crema, jalapeno.” Nachos AND breakfast? Sign us up!
Aren’t those egg yolks just begging to be popped??
- Appearance: (7) We found these to be much less colorful than the description. But it turned out that the salsa verde and crema had been combine into one. +1 for excellent use of garnish.
- Quality of Ingredients: (10) The chips were thick and hearty, almost like pita chips, and definitely homemade. The crema/salsa verde combination was at once spicy, tangy, smooth and creamy– and the queso fresco added a nice salty kick. The poached eggs were a little on the runny side (perhaps their only fault, and it can be a personal preference). We loved the clearly house-made pickled jalapenos and carrots on the side– definitely a nacho patrol first!
- Distribution of Toppings: (8) We could have used a little more of the chili/crema concoction, as it was sad to get a chip without. Other than that, the distribution is up to the user: how early do you break the eggs? A warning, once you do break the yolks you need to eat fast– runny egg soaks into a chip far faster than most nacho ingredients.
- Price: (9) At $9, these were a hearty and original breakfast dish, something that is often hard to come by, especially in tourist traps such as this!
- Overall: 34/40. Other breakfast nachos, if you’re out there, take notice and get your game face on. These were simple, fresh, authentic tasting, memorable nachos that we would re-eat in a heartbeat. We wonder, will they ever be topped?
Redbones, we are forever in your debt. When, after seven hours of plodding, we finished our first annual Walk (Amble) for Hunger, crawled back to Nacho Patrol World Headquarters and found ourselves in dire need of some hearty BBQ, you delivered…for free, and on a bike. The ample array of meat you provided that night gave us the strength to carry on (to the shower and then to bed). We’ve been craving you ever since. We’ve known for a long time that you had nachos, but the description wasn’t hurrying us out of the house: two kinds of cheese, guac, salsa, jalapenos and sour cream. The bartender Mike (or Eric, we’re not sure) must have agreed with us because he clued us in to the off-menu nachoption with all the above toppings and a heaping pile of pulled pork. From now on, we will always ask, “who can we talk to about nachos?” before we order.
- Appearance: (8) You wouldn’t see these on Top Chef Masters, but these nachos demanded our gastronomic attention. Don’t you just want to dive in and cover yourself in all that perfectly smoked pulled pork? The burnt chips and sour cream waterfall pulled down the rating a few points, but the guac, tomato, and moist mountain of meat all but makes up for any shortcomings.
- Quality of Ingredients: (9) We recorded our thoughts mid-nacho patrol, but we couldn’t hear anything over the sound of reckless crunching. The chips were thick–almost pita chip-like–and we could easily ignore the burntness (though they were a little under-salted). The tomatoes were fresh, and we enjoyed the guac, though we doubt it was homemade. As you could probably predict, the meat was the real stand-out of these chos. Oh-so-moist, oh-so-succulent, oh-so-flavorful! We were torn over whether or not we wanted a sauce…Oh, the selection of sauces! In our experience, BBQ sauce doesn’t go well with the overall palate of ‘chos, and it would probably be a shame to cover up the perfectly seasoned pork.
- Distribution of Toppings: (7) New restaurant, same distribution problems. Naked chips, sparse cheese, and a sour cream avalanche that smothers everything toward the bottom of the plate. Dare we say it, but there were perhaps too many toppings and not enough chips!
- Price: (7.5) The one flaw of off-menu-Groupon-nachos is that you have no idea what they cost. After some shaky math, we estimate they were about $13, which is a lot by Nacho Patrol standards, but cheap in the grand scheme of BBQ.
- Overall: 31.5/40.
You should never order off the “American”menu at a Chinese restaurant, and you should never order anything but BBQ at Redbones. So, while we wholeheartedly endorse these nachos, we implore you, don’t even bother unless you get them with the off-menu pulled pork. It’s shocking and disappointing that Redbones doesn’t even list pork nachos as an option. So for now, we are classifying these as “specialty nachos”, separate from the Best of Boston list. Redbones, if you want to be a contender, put these on the menu!