February 5th, 2009: a day of epic nacho adventures, a day of nacho brilliance. Also, really really cold. Tag-teaming the pursuit for the perfect nacho, Nacho Patrol split up, one illustrious team tackling the world of post-Celtics-letdown nachos, while the other adventurers traipsed carefully over the ice fields of Brighton/Brookline to Harry’s Bar and Grill, a loud little sports bar located conveniently off the Warren St. T-stop. And though Skyler and Andi didn’t get to wear their favorite shoes (after seeing the thermometer, “feels like -2 degrees,” their choice of accoutrement quickly evolved from hot dresses and high heels to long underwear, jeans, and hiking boots), the two have a feeling that they made a wise choice in nacho locale.
- Appearance: ( 7.5 ) No, these nachos weren’t exactly lookers. We’ve seen this layout before–a generous hump of chips coated in a helmet of melted cheddar. Sour cream and salsa were in little cups on either side. The one flaw: the cheese was a little burnt, resulting in a somewhat unappetizing first bite and thus our first note-worthy observation of the evening: starting off slow, these nachos do finish strong, thus earning the illustrious title, the Sea-Biscuit Award for Excellence in Race-Like Photo Finishes. Just a few less seconds in the oven, and these nachos might have got a 10 for appearance.
- Quality of ingredients: (9) Yum Yum Yum! Nacho Patrol is impressed! “There are kidney beans!” exclaimed Skyler. “These are really good black olives!” Skyler yelled in jubilation. (For the record, I was yelling over loud music. But the olives really were startlingly delicious. –Skyler). Good, light tri-colored chips, unexpectedly delicious homemade salsa, wonderful guacamole and really good chili. Even the jalapenos were good, and we don’t even like jalapenos! Nothing was very salty, but there was so much flavor in everything that we didn’t even mind.
- Distribution of ingredients: (9) Only one layer of cheese often sends us running for the hills, but these nachos had enough going on under the surface to make everything alright. Instead of being on top, the chili was poured in the middle, eliminating any naked chips. Indeed, it was difficult to find chips with which to sample the salsa. Somehow, this unorthodox distribution worked, and deliciously so.
- Price: (10) Something like $7.50 for an excellent plate of nachos is something we can absolutely get behind. Two of us managed to finish it with only minor difficulty
- Overall: 35.5. On paper, these nachos are all wrong. We expected little from them but were blown away when they won over our hearts and stomachs. As we kept eating, they kept getting better: passing Beantown Pub, then Sol Azteca, then, when no one thought it possible, even Sunset Cantina itself. It was a stunning come-from-behind victory, too good to be true, and although they did not make it to the absolute top of the nacho standings, they will forever be remembered as a stellar competitor.
Nacho Patrol aims to approach every review with an open and unbiased mind. However, it is a rare and magnificent day when we are truly surprised. You know it must be good when we must re-jigger our rating system to include decimals.