At Long Last, the Best Nachos in Boston

12 Jul

You may have noticed a strange lack of nacho related blog posts in your life over the past few months (years?). There are many reasons for this–time, money, meat sweats, dimply-cheese-ass–but one excuse trumps them all: until recently we had absolutely run out of things to say about nachos. Honestly, how many times a week can you write about naked chips and canned jalepenos before you want to kill yourself? Answer: like 1 time. What started out as a hiatus from nachos eventually became a habit and before long we were ready to declare Nacho Patrol legally dead.

But wait, Nacho Patrol writer, you said “until recently” you’d run out of things to say! What nacho could be good enough to lure a more svelte Nacho Patrol out of hiding? That’s right, sports fans: the oft-requested Painted Burro.

Located just down the street from Nacho Patrol World Headquarters in scenic Davis Square, the Painted Burro has been racking up Best Mexican Restaurant awards since they opened. And for good reason. The food is delicious, if on the pricier side, and the margaritas…Oh, the margaritas! May we suggest the cucumber marg? It’s like a cool beach breeze on a hot day in a salty rimmed glass. And the beans! Oh, the beans! Suffice it to say, God in all his glory touched those beans and made them holy. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…Shall we review?

Did you miss our terrible blurry photos?

Did you miss our terrible blurry photos?

NACHOS CON CHORIZO DE LA CASA: guacamole, pork charro beans, cabbage & jalapeno slaw, pimpin’ jalapenos, tres quesos, baja cream, chipotle mayo

  • Appearance (10): a messy melange of Mexican flavors; colorful and fresh; cheesy and gooey. It begs you to dive right in! Per the usual, chorizo is on the side in deference to our vegetarian cohorts.
  • Quality (10): The general consensus at our table was that these nachos tasted like heaven mixed with nachos. If nacho/human marriages were legal (SCOTUS, please get on this), we would propose to this plate and take its last name. The stand out item was the chorizo. It elicited such comments as “Oh man you guys, this chorizo” and “But seriously you guys, this chorizo.” It was perfectly salty and delightfully tender, greasy, but not excessively so, a wonderful alternative to the standard (chicken, pulled pork, steak, chili, etc) nacho proteins we’ve tried over the years. We also loved the cabbage slaw with an emotion that bordered desperation. The crunch and the slight sweetness took the flavors to another level.
  • Distribution (9): From our many years of nacho consumption we know that distribution is one of the hardest categories to master. Painted Burro does a mostly excellent job by serving our ‘chos on a flat plate in a relatively one-dimensional fashion. This allows for maximum coverage and terrific chip-to-topping ratio. We would be remiss if we did not point out that there weren’t quite enough chips for all of the toppings, but luckily we had extra on the table from our chips & salsa.
  • Price (8): Our one complaint was the price. $12.00 for not-the-largest plate of nachos is a lot for the area, but given the quality of ingredients, the overall cost of the restaurant and the general nom-worthiness we think it’s a fine deal.
  • Overall: 37/40 — WTF!??!!??!!

Congratulations to the Painted Burro on winning Nacho Patrol once and for all. We’ve spent years searching for amazing nachos in Boston, but you guys have set a new standard by which all future nachos will most certainly fail.

And with that, we say goodbye:

Nacho Patrol out! #micdrop

Clarke’s (Faneuil Hall): Come For The Ladies Room, Stay For The Nachos

18 Jun

Nothing tastes better after a crushing bar trivia defeat than a steaming plate of nachos. This week, we’re stuffing our faces at Clarke’s in Faneuil Hall.

Before we begin the review, we need to make a brief statement regarding the Clarke’s Boston website. Presenting possibly the most awkward and/or brilliant marketing move we’ve seen in awhile, the website proudly proclaims itself “the” bar in Boston to meet people. And how does a  Faneuil Hall bar achieve a favorable balance between the genders? By proclaiming via prominent website banner they have the largest and cleanest ladies rooms in Boston! Clarke’s, you have our attention…We did a hasty Google search and discovered that no one has formally reviewed this statement, so you’ve read it here first:

According to one Nacho Patroller, the ladies room wasn’t anything to write home about, though the stalls were large enough that you didn’t have crawl over the toilet to close the door (ladies, you know what we mean). One of our guest patrollers also commented that the bathrooms appeared clean, but thanks to the dark colored tile, could be secretly filthy. We would post a picture, but we didn’t want to be “those girls” taking photos in the ladies room. So, we suppose a guarded “well done” is deserved. But this isn’t Bathroom Patrol (add that to the list of blogs to write after we’ve eaten all the nachos in Boston). On to the ‘chos.

  • Appearance: (8) It was generally agreed at our table that these nachos were some variation of “b-e-a-utiful” or “ha-uuuuge.” While the presentation was on the sloppy side, the mouthwatering display of cheddar cheese, grilled chicken, jalepenos, fresh tomatoes and green onions, and multicolor chips left us ready to dig in.
  • Distribution: (9) At first glance, we thought distribution would be a problem. Typically when we see that much cheese atop a plate of nachos, it means that there won’t be much left in the under-layers. This was absolutely not a problem here: the cheese was layered all the way to the bottom, with just enough crispy chips left unsoaked to use for dipping. These nachos had both chicken and cheese. Our one complaint is that the scant quantity of chili was hidden in the middle, requiring a bit of excavation.
  • Quality: (6.1) Good flavors on the whole, but nothing to get us excited. The chicken was moist, but not especially flavorful. Chili was generic, but tasted homemade. Salsa was great!
  • Price: (7.1) We toyed with the idea of getting the $25 nacho platter, but we’re glad we stuck with the well portioned $12 plate. The smaller size was enough for an appetizer for four people. $10 would have been a more reasonable price, so we assume that extra $2 went to the Faneuil Hall Atmosphere Fund.
  • Overall: 30.2/40

A strong showing from a bar we all but discounted because it happened to be down the street from Hong Kong Faneuil Hall. Just when we’d all but written off Faneuil Hall…

Yard House: Want Some Nachos With That Beer?

2 Jun

You know what Boston needs more of? Establishments where ordering your beer in a comically large novelty glass is a viable option. So when the Yard House (henceforth to be read as “Yaaaaahhd House”) arrived in Fenway, we were jazzed.  The world’s largest menu? Check.  Full two pages of beers?  Double check.  And the ability to order beers by distance instead of volume? Sign us up!  Adding to the excitement, the night that we attended was “Harpoon Rare Beer Night”, allowing us to sample all sorts of magical concoctions that we hope will soon make it to bars on a regular basis (Bacon Bock, anyone?). To pad our beer we ordered the Yard House chicken nachos, with spicy pinto beans, cheddar, jack, red & green sauce, tomato, cilantro, onions, guacamole and sour cream.

  • Appearance:  (8) First off, what is it with chain restaurants and flat nachos?  See Pizzeria Uno. Very pretty, with lots of nice colors. We were a little perplexed by the ~3 blue corn chips that we saw on the plate– were those intentional or did they sneak in from somewhere else in the kitchen?  And, #thingswenormallyaskduringlobsternight, what is that green stuff?
  • Quality of Ingredients: (8) The green stuff turned out to be green chile sauce, which was quite tasty and something we haven’t seen on nachos in a while. We greatly enjoyed the pinto beans, and found the chunks of chicken to be rather well seasoned and not too dry. While it tasted OK, the guac was definitely not homemade.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) Flat nachos have their benefits, including a generally equitable distribution of toppings. These were no exception, and the full coverage was also aided by the viscous chile sauces and saucy pinto beans.  However, these nachos deteriorated quickly upon reaching the table.  You know how on some lucky occasions the nachos arrive at your table with sizzling and boiling cheese? This was not one of those times. The cheese was on its way to congealing when we got them and continued on that path.  The chips on the bottom, and those exposed to a lot of chile sauce, turned quite floppy. Perhaps Yard House should look into the Vito’s Tavern black bean scaffolding approach to distribution?
  • Price: (7) $11 and easily demolished by two as a reasonable dinner.
  • Overall: 30/40. Another solid addition to the Fenway nacho roster.  We would highly recommend a visit, if not for the nachos, to gawk at the massive menu and epic beer list.