Tag Archives: Bacon

Brighton Beer Garden: Right On, Beer Garden!

2 Aug

The Brighton Beer Garden once spent an illustrious summer as one of our favorite Stump! Trivia haunts.  Yet somehow, each time Wednesday rolled around, we found ourselves avoiding the nachos.  Extrapolating from the average-quality bar food making up the rest of the menu and the $14 price tag, we expected them to be mediocre, forgettable and overpriced, and so always managed to conveniently find something else on the menu that we wanted to order more.  But lo and behold, a new menu has debuted, featuring items like bacon-wrapped scallops and lobster ravioli.  Could this gentrification spread to the nachos?  We were determined to find out.

  • Appearance: (8) Our kidney beans runneth over, along with everything else!  These presented a visual feast as they approached, with their wide variety of toppings.  Significant naked chips left us worried, however.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (8) It’s a testament to how pleasantly surprising these nachos were that it took a few minutes for us to realize that they had BACON on them.  Bacon!  Only a small smattering, but still, bacon! Our attention was primarily taken up by the Garnish of Delicious Mystery, which, after sending a bartender off to the kitchen to inquire about, we learned was thin threads of beef jerky.  The chili was full of kidney beans, and the guacamole tasty enough, though Guacaholics Anonymous was still fresh enough in our minds to limit our intake to a few nibbles.  Chips were nothing special.  The salsa in the big cup off to the side was finely minced and deliciously fresh, a rare find indeed!
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) It’s hard to report on the naked chip situation because we didn’t make it through enough of these to have that be a problem.  This was a sizeable plate of ‘chos and while we barely made a dent in it, the parts we did get to had a decent distribution.  Even if a naked chip did arise, the guac and sour cream (not too cloying, fortunately) were there for the dipping, along with the delicious fresh salsa on the side.  At first we wondered why the salsa was presented on its own, but in the end it made sense– it was so pureed, almost gazpacho-like in texture, that it would have turned everything soggy. We applaud the chef’s good sense in this situation.
  • Price: (7.5) Nearing Sunset-esque proportions, these were worth more of their $14 than we originally expected.  Still, could do a little better…
  • Overall: 30.5/40.  Better than anticipated, with some welcome surprises.  Certainly a better bet than their Brighton Center competition…
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John Harvard’s: Ivy League Nachos Without the Pretention

2 Jun

Dark days have fallen upon Nacho Patrol.  Our Master of Margs, Queen of Qdoba, Siren of Sports, Smashley, has relocated to the warmer climes of California.  For her last goodbye, we met at the place that best represented the six years we had spent with her: Border Cafe, for a Cuervo Gold margarita, rocks, no salt.  Border Cafe, however, had quite a wait for a table so we sought solace in the warm bosom of another familiar Harvard Square establishment: John Harvard’s Brew House.  With its stained glass windows and dark wood features, John Harvard’s is a great place to hole up and get friendly with our favorite holy beverage, beer.  They brew their own and while the varieties can be rather hit or miss, it’s at least more interesting (and just about as cheap) as your average bar with the trinity of Bud-Miller-Sam.  We got especially friendly with their nachos:

  • Appearance: (8) It’s like the Hasty Pudding Parade in there!  These nachos let it all hang out and only left us wanting to know more.  A cacophony of colors and textures, we could tell from the start that this was going to be no normal patrol.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (8) While all the ingredients in nachos tend to take their flavors from the same set of Tex-Mex seasonings, each topping here had its own, very distinct flavor. The pulled pork was juicy and smoky, with a pronounced “bacony” flavor; this at times came close to crossing the line into overwhelming but never quite did.  The salsa had a wonderful garlicky bite, which we had never come across before.  The tri-colored chips were house-made, crispy and fresh.  We loved the addition of olives, scallions and jalapenos, and found the latter to be of the perfect spice, pickle, and size.
  • Distribution of Toppings:  (10) If their nachos are any indication, many establishments in Boston seem to be suffering from some sort of cheese shortage.  Well, we have found the reason: John Harvard’s is hoarding it all.  It seems that they literally had more cheese than they knew what to do with, because on top of a respectable cheese layer and numerous wonderfully melty cheese pockets, they pulled a move that we have never in all our reviews ever come across: a preemptive layer of cheese on the bottom of the plate! What??  It worked wonderfully, as the plate itself was hot enough to keep the cheese liquid, allowing for a little extra cheese reservoir for those odd naked chips.  Which, much to our delight, were blessedly few and far between.  Not only did the distribution do an excellent job of ensuring that every chip had something on top, every chip had multiple toppings. Just take a look at this beauty:

On top of the chip, which is barely visible, we’ve got cheese, pork, guacamole, a black olive, and a single decorative scallion for good measure.  Every chip presented a unique combination of distinctive toppings, making these a fascinating delight to consume.

  • Price: (8) Not having paid attention to the menu, we feared the worst when the check arrived.  How much must John Harvard’s demand for such delectable nachos?  To our glee, they came to $10.50.  Nowhere near as large as Sunset but with these, size is not the prize!
  • Overall: 34/40.  After much middling nachos, we are thrilled to welcome John Harvard’s to our Top Five.  It’s been great having you!

Loco Mojito: Bad Nachos, Good Casserole

25 Jul

London’s Brick Lane is known for its never-ending parade Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants—all of which have the No. 1 chef, were at some point Restaurant of the Year, and offer “special deal 20% off and wine bottle just for you pretty lady.” Among these, Loco Mojito stands out due to its Mariachi music, cowboy hats on walls, and faux cowhide barstools. It tries. It tries very hard.

Loco Mojito appears to be suffering from an identity crisis.  The sign proclaims “Cuban Mexican.” The menu amends that to “Tex Mex,” and doesn’t have a single Cuban dish—not even a gringo-ized Cuban sandwich!  Then there’s the “BLT enchiladas” issue. Seriously, Loco Motjito? Nacho Patrol is a fan of bacon, but it seems unlikely that the sheer awesomeness of bacon could offset the grossness of baked lettuce covered with cheese and hot sauce.

There were four nacho options: vegetarian, pulled chicken, ground beef, and chorizo / olive. The waitress informed us that the portion size was “normal.”  She seemed slightly confused when we asked what “normal” meant? (Answer: “uh, normal.”) We started with the pulled chicken nachos.  After making it through that plate (and a pitcher of sangria) we also tried the chorizo / olive nachos.

  • Appearance: (5) The nachos looked fairly chaotic. The sour cream and guacamole were relegated to their respective corners, while the middle of the plate was piled with everything else.loco mojito
  • Distribution: (3) A single layer of chips was sandwiched between the chicken and the cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. We used most of the chips for the top layer toppings. By the time we reached the chicken, there were hardly any chips left, and the few remaining ones were too soaked with salsa and cheese to be of any use.  The nachos morphed into chicken-cheese casserole and we switched over to forks. There was also way too much sour cream and not nearly enough guacamole. Though, to be fair, we’re not sure there can ever be enough guacamole.
  • Quality of toppings: (8) It may have turned into chicken-cheese casserole, but it was good casserole! The chorizo was excellent, as was the pulled chicken. Too often, chicken appears in nachos as large chunks that can’t be scooped up with chips. This chicken was well-seasoned and tender enough that we could pull off small pieces with the chips. Interestingly, the chips had subtle seasoning that gave them a kick.
  • Price: (7) 4.25 GBP / $6.98. We’ll concede that the waitress was right; the portion size was “normal.” We thought these nachos were a good value considering the quality of the chicken.
  • Overall: 23/40

We see potential for great nachos, just by adding more chips. As for Loco Mojito’s larger identity issues, though, we’re not sure what the fix is.