Above all, nachos are for gringos. Taco Bell might want us to believe otherwise, but it isn’t easy to find a Mexican restaurant that serves nachos. And even when you do find them, they tend not to fall into the category of “bar nachos.” Usually, they’re something much more delicious.Take, for instance, Cantina la Mexicana in Union Square, Somerville. Sure, they’re a little off the beaten path–we’d been saving this one for the day we had access to a car–but if you’re in the mood for friendly service, a lively atmosphere, pitcher upon pitcher of margaritas and sangria, and a delightful plate of what we affectionately categorize as “specialty nachos,” Cantina just might be for you.
- Appearance: (7) These nachos weren’t exactly lookers. To complement the burnt brown cheese, we had inelegant beige chips. Still, we enjoyed the sprinkling of greenery on top.
- Quality of Ingredients: ( 8 ) We always worry about nachos with chicken. This particular protein tends to err on the dry side, leaving us screaming for some moisture to wash it all down. Cantina, however, somehow did the impossible, serving melt-in-your-mouth shredded chicken, wet down by a glob of refried beans. The onion and cilantro combo on top also provided a welcome freshness to complement the mixture of cheeses. We would have liked to see a little more variety of flavors throughout–perhaps some tomatoes or salsa to mellow out the greasiness of the extra-thick tortilla chips.
- Distribution of Ingredients: (9) You wouldn’t guess from looking at them, but these nachos had plenty going on under that outer shell of cheese. Coated throughout with chicken and cheese, naked chips certainly weren’t a problem. Of course, we still don’t understand the “beans on the bottom” trend in distribution. Why should we dig to find that holy grail?
- Price: (8) For $8, these nachos were the perfect appetizer size for 4 people.
- Overall: 32/40. Big fans.
As a side note, this will be the original Nacho Patrol’s last review together until 2010. Don’t fret, though: to sate the burning roneriness and utter despair of separation, we’ll be enlisting innocent bystanders and doing solo reviews from all parts of the world, from Boston to the Midwest to London to New Zealand . After all, nothing tastes better with tears than a steaming plate of nachos.