Tag Archives: Brighton

Classics Revisited: Harry’s Bar and Grill

6 Aug

A year and a half ago, a little bar named Harry’s unexpectedly stole our nacho-loving hearts.  Coming from out of nowhere, this unassuming place gave us a plate that powered past nearly all of Boston’s nacho behemoths with its delicious flavors and artful distribution.  We have since returned many times, but never for the nachos.  Why?  Fear– fear that these were too good to be true, that we were wrong in awarding the silver medal of Boston nachos.  Also, we maybe had heard some negative reports.  Determined to nut up and do the right thing, we returned to Harry’s on the eve of our departure from the neighborhood, to either confirm their brilliance or set the record straight.

  • Appearance: (8) Much has changed from our original review!  Gone are the tri-colored chips, but to more than make up for it, guacamole, green onions and a tantalizingly non-sour cream dip on the side. Chili is now on the top, instead of in the middle under a helmet of cheese.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) As could be guessed from their fancied-up color scheme, practically every ingredient in these nachos had changed, generally for the better. The chili had a distinct, chocolaty mole flavor, something we rarely encountered.  The orange sauce on the side turned out to be a chipotle cream/mayo concoction, much more exciting that its sour cream predecessor.  Even the salsa was miles ahead of the canned stuff of yore– thin, fresh, and reminiscent of both gazpacho and our recent trip to Brighton Beer Garden (perhaps these two are in cahoots?). As before, the chili presented a kidney bean extravaganza, but gone were the black olives.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (8) Here Harry’s has completely changed their approach, trading in the “molten chili center” method for the more traditional “chili hat” distribution.  This created a few more problems with distribution, making it sometimes hard to get at sodden chips, and hiding the true melted cheese magnitude. Indeed, there was a lot of cheese but most of it near the bottom and some even stuck to the plate (it appears the Gospel of John Harvard’s is spreading!)
  • Price: (8.5) What is it with restaurants not having a website? Our blueberry beer-addled brains have failed us.  They are only listed without chili, at $7. We’re guestimating on this one.
  • Total: 33.5/40.  While they have moved down out of medal contention, we’ll still think of these as winners any day.  In an era where restaurants seem to be cheapening and dumbing down their nachos, Harry’s has upped their game with bold, original ingredients.  Hurray!
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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…

Moving Day

22 Jul

As our loyal fans know, Nacho Patrol World Headquarters is on the move. After two years slumming it in Brookline, we’re packing up the corn chips, sweeping away the old cheese, cleaning out the chili crock pot, and making our way across the river to the scenic Somerville/Cambridge border. What our new home lacks in yard space, it makes up for in pure colonial charm, and we cannot wait to see how it fairs during the first of many Nachopalooza events (block party?), tentatively planned for September 2010.

Though we are in no way shutting the door on our current neighborhood, we’re hoping over the next few weeks to visit a few of those restaurants we’ve unforgivably neglected, and we need your help to make sure we’re not missing anyone. As mentioned on our Master Nacho List, here are the places we’re already planning to hit up:

  • Game On! (Fenway) – coming very soon
  • Harry’s Bar and Grill (Allston/Brighton) – Re-Review
  • Porter Belly’s (Brighton)
  • Corrib Pub (Brighton) – coming very very soon
  • 973 Commonwealth (BU)
  • Center St. Cafe (JP)

And that’s where you come in…While we may consider ourselves experts of Boston geography, we have a few blind spots when it comes to the southern neighborhoods. If you’ve got any noteworthy nacho noshing spots you want us to review before we make our way north, please get in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook, a comment below, or at our email (nachopatrol@gmail.com).

We welcome all suggestions, especially outlandish ones.