Tag Archives: chain restaurants

Yard House: Want Some Nachos With That Beer?

2 Jun

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.
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Regina Pizzeria: The Great Cheese Flood of 2012

10 Apr

Despite the fact that nachos are about as far from Italian cuisine as you can get, the Boston Italian Restaurant Industrial Complex continues to test the barriers of Tex Mex, with Nacho Patrol ready and willing to serve (or as usually is the case, be served). In our last post we chronicled our myriad attempts to find good Italian nachos, culminating in a delicious trip to Ducali Pizza. This time, we’re at Regina Pizzeria in Allston (formerly The Sports Depot), where if the cheese doesn’t kill you, the terror of the commuter rail flying by your head just might.

Regina Nachos: Corn tortilla chips piled high with melted Pepper Jack and Mozzarella cheese, Regina sausage, tomatoes, chopped red onions, black olives and sliced hot cherry peppers.  Garnished with sour cream and guacamole.

  • Appearance: (7) In our three and a half years of eating nachos, we have never seen this much cheese. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but there is actually an ocean of cheese on that plate. A Mexiterranean Ocean of cheese. In theory, a glut of cheese should be delicious, but in practice it’s not exactly aesthetically pleasing. It consumed the tomatoes, olives, and onions, drenching the chips and obscuring the lovely painted plate. Luckily, the guac and sour cream were on the side, else we’d have a downright mess on our hands!
  • Distribution: (7) We thought we’d never say this, but there was too much cheese. Side effects of Too Much Cheese include soupiness, chip drenching, cheese sweats, soggy chips, and watching years of your life disappear. We appreciated that the cheese completely ensnared the other toppings creating perfectly proportioned bites.
  • Quality: (8) In deference to our vegetarian allies, these nachos were sans sausage or chicken, but our friend who ordered a side of sausages said they were delicious. For the most part, the other toppings were average–the guac, tomatoes, olives, and chives were nothing special. The peppers were a nice touch, not too spicy, but a pleasant kick of flavor. The real delight was the mix of Pepper Jack and Mozzarella, combining to make the whole plate taste like pizza (See…these are Italian nachos!), and as we all know, pizza is what Regina does best.
  • Price: (7) You can get the basic nachos (as listed above) for $10. For an additional $5 you can add buffalo chicken. $10 is average for the area, matching the cost of the former Sport’s Depot nachos, but we find the concept of $5 chicken so offensive that we’re knocking them down another point.
  • Overall: 29/40. We loved the flavors and passion with which the cook layered on the cheese, but ultimately these nachos suffered from too much of a yummy thing.

Do we risk getting whacked if we keep writing average-to-negative nacho reviews of North End hot spots?

Miller’s Ale House (Boston): Mediocrity®

27 Feb

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.