Zuma Tex-Mex Grill is an easy place to forget. We consider ourselves fairly adept when it comes to the Tex-Mex joints in the Boston area, so we were shocked to discover that Zuma’s had slipped under our radar for so long. Call us idiots, but we’re willing to bet you didn’t know about this place either. Located in the basement of one of the long retail buildings abutting Quincy Market, we were inclined to forgive Zuma’s the musty smell, the dank atmosphere, and the decorative can of Manwich, when we saw the sign for $15 pitchers of margaritas. In the abyss of Faneuil Hall tourist traps, we thought we might have found a little slice of Nacho Patrol heaven. And while these nachos did present some very creative distribution, we can’t say we’ll be going back for seconds any time soon.
- Appearance: (4) We were generally underwhelmed by the muted tones of this plate. Even the tomatoes and lettuce seemed sad. The chicken, cheese, chips, and pinto beans bended together in a wash of beige and orange. Quick–somebody grab the Cholula! (Don’t worry…They keep it on the table! Take that Border Cafe!)
- Distribution: (9) We’re clearing out a new page in the Nacho Patrol Book of Distribution (in between the Book of Hot Sauce and the Book of Dive Bars) and saving it specially for Zuma’s. Instead of using chips, the ingredients were sandwiched between two large, flat tortilla shells, which were then doused in a heavy coating of cheese and beans and then baked till melty. The whole mess was then cut into triangular portions, perfect for team consumption. We might liken it to Taco Bell‘s infamous Mexican Pizza. The slices were finally arranged around a nest of pico, lettuce, and sour cream to create a successful and unique presentation. Not one chip was sparse, though we did take off a point since we would have liked the salsa on top rather than on the side.
- Quality: (3) There’s not much in terms of quality that we liked. The chicken was flavorless and the beans came straight from a can. The tomatoes were overly ripe and there is almost never an occasion to put lettuce on nachos. On the upside, we did enjoy the globs of cheese.
- Price: (6) $7.99 is a fairly reasonable price, but quality and serving size seemed to suffer as a result. In this case, it is certainly true that you get what you pay for.
- Overall: 22/40
Next time we’re at Zuma’s just give us the can of Manwich.