Tag Archives: breweries

Rock Bottom Brewery: We’ve Hit That

16 Nov

If you’re a chain restaurant/brewery (and there are a lot of you), then you’ve got to do something to stand out from the crowd. For the Rock Bottom Brewery, originality comes in the form of forgoing dishware altogether.  From what we witnessed, the pretzels and beer flights come out in wire carriers with handles, and our nachos arrived not on a plat but on a raised metal stand with a tray on top.  They may have been trying to stun us with their presentation, but a word of advice: we aren’t super short ladies, but we found this towering display too high to get proper perspective on chip selection, and exceptionally messy to eat from.  There is also the lurking danger of dropping a topping off of the plate or on your chip into your beer.

  • Appearance:  (7) Once again, flat nachos! What they lacked in a 3rd dimension they definitely made up for with the other two, as these elicited gasps of surprise as they graced the table.  Twin scoops of guacamole elegantly framed a languid pool of salsa.
  • Quality of Ingredients:  (5) “Greasy” is one of the first words that comes to mind.  Ground beef was the topping on these nachos, and it definitely suffused the plate in fatty residue, compounded by the already somewhat greasy chips.  While the beef was moderately unflavored, taco seasoning made it’s appearance on the black beans.  We did enjoy the just-right jalapenos, and the guacamole was excellent.  Still, a little too heavy to really devour.
  • Distribution of Toppings:  (7) Despite the low profile, the cheese didn’t make it everywhere it was supposed to; slightly hardened cheese and greasy chips only made it stick less.  Salsa and guacamole were well-placed, allowing for sampling but not getting in the way.
  • Price:  (6) With the add-ons of meat and guacamole, these were up there in price.  Large for sure, but not entirely worth it.
  • Overall: 25/40.  A mediocre nacho on an unusual serving vessel is still just a mediocre nacho.

The Asheville Brewing Company

26 Oct

Today’s nacho review takes us far, far away from the cold, Bud Light-drenched land of Boston to the warm, welcoming bosom of Western North Carolina.  There, the beers are locally brewed (and cheap!), the hippies run wild, and it’s still out-door dining weather. We found all three of these things in our recent trip to Asheville at the Asheville Brewing Company, a converted bus station turned brewpub/movie theater.  The covered outdoor patio resembled a less dodgy and much better ventilated version of Our House West, with a rack of board games (including a giant custom-made Jenga set) and a corn hole game. Were the nachos too a step up?  Here, we were confronted with two options: one nacho plate with corn tortilla chips (Nacho Mama), and one with flour (Nacho Daddy).  We went with the flour chip offering with chicken, in hopes it would be the most original.

  • Appearance: (7) Did we order pizza?  These nachos blew Uno’s out of the water in the “Flattest Nacho” competition; and the finely-chopped toppings did nothing to dispel their pizza-like image.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6) The chips were bizarre, like nothing we’d ever tasted on nachos but at the same time familiar.  It took a few bites but we narrowed it down– they tasted exactly like the wrappers on crab rangoon. Interesting, but a bit too heavy after a few bites.  The chicken was in tiny pieces and rather dry; black beans and some veggies were a nice touch. The salsa was pretty tasty, too bad it was on the side in a tiny container!
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) It’s hard to mess up distribution when your nachos are at max two chips deep.  However, these still could have used a little more viscous ingredients.
  • Price: (7) At $7.50, great for Boston, just OK for the boondocks.
  • Overall:  28/40.  While tasty, these nachos suffered a bit of an identity crisis.  Pizza? Chinese food? Or ‘chos? Until they make up their mind, unless you are really jonesing for some nachos you are better off looking elsewhere on the menu.

John Harvard’s Kettle Chips: Baked Potato Nachos

7 Jun

Specialty nachos, much like love, adventure, and drug dealers, are everywhere if you know where to look.  It takes a keen eye in reading a menu, the confidence to ask for something off-menu, and a patience with not-so nacho-enlightened waitstaff, but it can be done.  During our recent nacho expedition to John Harvard’s, we spied something promising: their Kettle Chips, described as “fresh fried potato chips, cheddar cheese, crisp bacon, scallions and sour cream.”  After making inquiries with our waitress (“So, are these nachos?” “No, they are potato chips.” “But do they resemble nachos?” “Well, no, they aren’t corn chips, they are kettle chips.” “Let us clarify: are they some sort of chip, covered in some sort of cheese and toppings?” “Well, yes…”) we took the plunge and were in the end rewarded with this:

  • Appearance: (6) Much more Sahara than Garden of Eden, but we swooned over the oozy, melty, occasionally crispy cheese coating.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6) We were expecting more substantial pieces of bacon, but they were so small to be almost powdery.  Still, this “bacon crust” provided nice crunch and flavor. The chips were thick and freshly fried, and we love potato chips, but they tasted a little overdone at times. The cheese was excellent and deliciously melty.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) Once again, the bottom layer of cheese on the plate blew our minds.  There was so much cheese, but even on these, the sour cream was a little cloying.  With these nachos, they omitted all the lighter ingredients and gave us the straight goop– greasy, gloppy and artery clogging.  It was a little much, and difficult to eat.
  • Price: (8) At $7.99, these come out to approximately 1,376 calories per dollar.  Quite the value, eh? Depends on how you count.
  • Overall: 27.  It’s a good concept but not for the faint of heart.  Seriously, they should require a doctor’s note and an electrocardiogram before they place your order.