You know what Boston needs more of? Establishments where ordering your beer in a comically large novelty glass is a viable option. So when the Yard House (henceforth to be read as “Yaaaaahhd House”) arrived in Fenway, we were jazzed. The world’s largest menu? Check. Full two pages of beers? Double check. And the ability to order beers by distance instead of volume? Sign us up! Adding to the excitement, the night that we attended was “Harpoon Rare Beer Night”, allowing us to sample all sorts of magical concoctions that we hope will soon make it to bars on a regular basis (Bacon Bock, anyone?). To pad our beer we ordered the Yard House chicken nachos, with spicy pinto beans, cheddar, jack, red & green sauce, tomato, cilantro, onions, guacamole and sour cream.
- Appearance: (8) First off, what is it with chain restaurants and flat nachos? See Pizzeria Uno. Very pretty, with lots of nice colors. We were a little perplexed by the ~3 blue corn chips that we saw on the plate– were those intentional or did they sneak in from somewhere else in the kitchen? And, #thingswenormallyaskduringlobsternight, what is that green stuff?
- Quality of Ingredients: (8) The green stuff turned out to be green chile sauce, which was quite tasty and something we haven’t seen on nachos in a while. We greatly enjoyed the pinto beans, and found the chunks of chicken to be rather well seasoned and not too dry. While it tasted OK, the guac was definitely not homemade.
- Distribution of Toppings: (7) Flat nachos have their benefits, including a generally equitable distribution of toppings. These were no exception, and the full coverage was also aided by the viscous chile sauces and saucy pinto beans. However, these nachos deteriorated quickly upon reaching the table. You know how on some lucky occasions the nachos arrive at your table with sizzling and boiling cheese? This was not one of those times. The cheese was on its way to congealing when we got them and continued on that path. The chips on the bottom, and those exposed to a lot of chile sauce, turned quite floppy. Perhaps Yard House should look into the Vito’s Tavern black bean scaffolding approach to distribution?
- Price: (7) $11 and easily demolished by two as a reasonable dinner.
- Overall: 30/40. Another solid addition to the Fenway nacho roster. We would highly recommend a visit, if not for the nachos, to gawk at the massive menu and epic beer list.
This week’s nacho review comes to you from
Bugaboo Creek Miller’s Ale House, conveniently located next to the Arsenal Mall in scenic Watertown. In an area that truly lacks tacky sports bars, Miller’s is a welcome change from the moose restaurant . The menu may be reminiscent of Friday’s, but the waitstaff is friendly, the drinks are fell-off-the-back-of-the-truck cheap, and the dining room is still shiny and new. We look forward to returning soon for our 1st Annual Classy –> Divey Western Ave Pub Crawl, starting at Miller’s Ale House, moving to the Boyne, and ending at the Bus Stop.
To punish ourselves for not eating nachos recently, we decided to indulge in two nachos: The Fiesta Nachos and the Zinger® Potato Chip Nachos (because nachos with a registered trademark are not weird at all). Just so you know, they also have something called the Chicken Enormous Nachos, but adding that to our tab would likely have killed us.
Fiesta Nachos: Crispy Tortilla chips Layered with Fresh Ground Beef Simmered in Ancho Chili Seasoning, Pico de Gallo and Jalapeños. Smothered in Jack & Cheddar Cheeses, then Melted until Bubbling. Topped with Sour Cream and a dash of taco seasoning.
- Appearance: (4) The overall theme of this review is “meh,” starting with appearance, which was–unsurprisingly–meh. We got chili on the side in deference to our vegetarian friend, but we suspect leaving it on would have done little to make these nachos exciting. Average corn chips, scant cheese melted and congealed until nearly solid, and typical pico and jalapenos. The only mark of distinction was the taco season sprinkled on the ball of sour cream. Nice choice–almost made sour cream bearable.
- Quality of Ingredients: (6) The only thing worth mentioning on this plate was the beef, which despite being ugly, was delicious. It nicely complimented the taco seasoning on the sour cream. Is it sad that’s the highlight? Cheese, chips, pico, and jalepenos were otherwise unremarkable.
- Distribution of Toppings: (5) We suspect someone in the kitchen was saving all the cheese for the Potato Chip and Chicken Enormous nachos, favoring the big brothers over the scrawny runt, the Fiesta. The sprinkling of cheese we did receive chilled too quickly, leaving us with a pile of naked chips and cheese we had to tear apart with our fingers. Chili-on might have helped, but there is no way to get around the fact that there wasn’t enough cheese.
- Price: (7) $8.99–an average plate for an average price.
- Overall: 22/40
Zinger® Potato Chip Nachos: Zingers® Tossed in Medium Garlic Sauce, Cut into Bite Size Pieces and Served over Homemade Potato Chips. Topped with Jack & Cheddar Cheeses, Diced Tomatoes, Green Onions and Sour Cream. We’re gonna call these specialty nachos.
We should start this by saying we still have no idea what a Zinger® is. We thought they were boneless chicken wings, but either they forgot our sauce or it somehow soaked into the breading during the walk from the kitchen to the table. As best we can tell a Zinger® is a chicken finger with some stuff on it–in the menu photos, said “stuff” glistens. In real life it doesn’t exist.
- Appearance: (7) Quite mouthwatering when compared with the Fiesta ‘chos, but rather monotonous on its own. We appreciated the lava-flow of cheese cascading into the chips, and the splash of color provided by the tomatoes and onions helped to ameliorate our concerns over the glistening grease of the chips.
- Quality: (4) A lot of problems and only a few compliments. We appreciated the attempt at thick-cut homemade chips. The ones un-soggied by cheese grease were delicious, but once they were even slightly moistened they ended up grainy and unpleasant. The Zingers® were equally unimpressive–maybe we should have chosen a more flavorful sauce (we elected to mix “medium” and “garlic”), but they just tasted like breaded chicken fingers. Overall, the plate was greasy and probably life-shortening.
- Distribution: (6) When it comes to potato chips, there’s a fine line between too little cheese and too much. In Miller’s case, they went a little overboard and we ended up with a greasy mess of off-textured chips and an iceberg of solidified cheese. Again, the cheese congealed too quickly and was sliding off the chips. We could have used more Zinger® as well.
- Price: (6) At ~$10, these weren’t outlandish.
- Overall: 23/40. We’ve had much better potato chip nachos closer to home at John Harvard’s and Orleans (and even as far away as Denver), without having to figure out how to incorporate a pesky ® symbol into a blog post.
Redbones, we are forever in your debt. When, after seven hours of plodding, we finished our first annual Walk (Amble) for Hunger, crawled back to Nacho Patrol World Headquarters and found ourselves in dire need of some hearty BBQ, you delivered…for free, and on a bike. The ample array of meat you provided that night gave us the strength to carry on (to the shower and then to bed). We’ve been craving you ever since. We’ve known for a long time that you had nachos, but the description wasn’t hurrying us out of the house: two kinds of cheese, guac, salsa, jalapenos and sour cream. The bartender Mike (or Eric, we’re not sure) must have agreed with us because he clued us in to the off-menu nachoption with all the above toppings and a heaping pile of pulled pork. From now on, we will always ask, “who can we talk to about nachos?” before we order.
- Appearance: (8) You wouldn’t see these on Top Chef Masters, but these nachos demanded our gastronomic attention. Don’t you just want to dive in and cover yourself in all that perfectly smoked pulled pork? The burnt chips and sour cream waterfall pulled down the rating a few points, but the guac, tomato, and moist mountain of meat all but makes up for any shortcomings.
- Quality of Ingredients: (9) We recorded our thoughts mid-nacho patrol, but we couldn’t hear anything over the sound of reckless crunching. The chips were thick–almost pita chip-like–and we could easily ignore the burntness (though they were a little under-salted). The tomatoes were fresh, and we enjoyed the guac, though we doubt it was homemade. As you could probably predict, the meat was the real stand-out of these chos. Oh-so-moist, oh-so-succulent, oh-so-flavorful! We were torn over whether or not we wanted a sauce…Oh, the selection of sauces! In our experience, BBQ sauce doesn’t go well with the overall palate of ‘chos, and it would probably be a shame to cover up the perfectly seasoned pork.
- Distribution of Toppings: (7) New restaurant, same distribution problems. Naked chips, sparse cheese, and a sour cream avalanche that smothers everything toward the bottom of the plate. Dare we say it, but there were perhaps too many toppings and not enough chips!
- Price: (7.5) The one flaw of off-menu-Groupon-nachos is that you have no idea what they cost. After some shaky math, we estimate they were about $13, which is a lot by Nacho Patrol standards, but cheap in the grand scheme of BBQ.
- Overall: 31.5/40.
You should never order off the “American”menu at a Chinese restaurant, and you should never order anything but BBQ at Redbones. So, while we wholeheartedly endorse these nachos, we implore you, don’t even bother unless you get them with the off-menu pulled pork. It’s shocking and disappointing that Redbones doesn’t even list pork nachos as an option. So for now, we are classifying these as “specialty nachos”, separate from the Best of Boston list. Redbones, if you want to be a contender, put these on the menu!