Charley’s Eating and Drinking Saloon: Rime of the Ancient Westerner

8 Jul

Scenic Newbury Street. Now that summer has descended upon us, we love settling down in one of the fine outdoor restaurant patios that line Boston’s famous shopping district and basking in the cool breeze of car exhaust. Charley’s has been on our sights for years now, and in preparation for relocation to Somerville, we thought it time to close the book on some of our long-standing nacho holdouts. We were impressed by the chic, yet casual atmosphere at Charley’s, and though the drink list was a little pricy, we had no problem finding an appropriate beverage to keep at bay the subtle heat still lingering at sundown.

  • Appearance: (9) Quite colorful and cheesy, with a lovely dab of guacamole on top and a ramekin of salsa on the side.  We couldn’t wait to dig in!
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6.4) In our first bites, we detected a distinct, puzzling flavor in the cheese.  Slightly off, slightly processed…could it be the dreaded American Cheese Menace?? We nibbled and pondered and conferred with our waitress, who assured us that it was actually monterey jack.  If it indeed was, then it was Industrial Monterey Jack Cheese Product #5 (TM), for it left us with a distinct reminiscence for elementary school cafeterias.  Furthermore, the guacamole was INCREDIBLY salty, so much so that it absolutely had to have been a mistake by the chef. Though we loved the chili, tomatoes, green onions, and salsa, we couldn’t get past the burning aura of salty guac which devastated everything it touched.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (8) Though we weren’t wild about the cheese, there was a lot of it, and if there is one universe rule of Nacho Patrolling, it is that lots of cheese somehow makes even the worst cheese better. There was also a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it) glob of chili, and a well-proportioned quantity of the fresh stuff (tomatoes and green onions). We would have, however, liked the cheese to have spent a little more time on the chips and slightly less melting to the plate. And the salsa was good enough that it could have been distributed on top rather than relegated to a too-small-for-dipping ramekin.
  • Price: (8) At $9.75 with chili, these are a solid investment in your fat rolls. May we recommend the sangria as a pleasant refreshment to counteract the salt lick guac.
  • Overall: 31.4/40
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