Tag Archives: Cheap beer

Newtowne Grille: But the Chips are From Oldtowne

31 May

We’ve lived less than three blocks from Newtowne Grille for nine months now, and since we’re not townies or college students, we’ve so far elected not to go in. We’re past the days that we need a $12 pitcher of beer and a $4 pizza…okay, that’s a big fat lie. But when Christopher’s is marginally closer and 1000% better, we just can’t be accountable for never going. Given the sorry state of the nachos, we might be completely justified.

  • Appearance: (5)  The photo here does this particular plate too much justice, but trust us, the tomatoes were wan and the cheese pre-congealed. The chili looked delicious, but god damnit there was lettuce! Cue a very passionate out-loud groan.
  • Quality: (2) We don’t even know where to begin. First of all, we liked the chili. The chunks of meat were ample and not of the ground-beef variety. The extent of our compliments need to end there, because the only other part of these nachos that didn’t make us cry was the lettuce (and black olives! -ed). That should tell you a lot about the quality. The chips were absolutely the stalest we have ever encountered.  Our Guest Correspondent Tim described them as cardboard, which is probably as apt a metaphor as we can give you to describe the stale, soft, and salty foundation of our chos. Normally when you bite into a chip you expect a bright crunching sound. When you bit in to these chips, it sounds a little bit like shattering safety glass. We wondered aloud, what happened to these?  Had someone accidentally left a bag of chips open since last summer and then tried to make nachos with them?? Louder groan!
  • Distribution: (5) The cheese was cold even before it got to our table, making it very hard for it properly coat the chips. The chili was ladled with a heavy hand but unfortunately, only on the very top of the chips, leaving many naked below.  This worked to our advantage as it was easier to spoon off and avoid the abominable chips, but that really doesn’t deserve extra points!
  • Price: (5.5) At $10, why not just pay a dollar more and go for the $11 pitcher-of-PBR-and-pizza deal, and save yourself the jaw-numbing, soul-crushing apocalypse that is these nachos?? Really.  Save yourself.
  • Overall: 17.5/40.

Here’s a question: how long do these nachos have to go un-ordered before Newtowne takes them off the menu? Three months? Six? We, say, however long as it takes.  People of the world, unite! Boycott this disaster!  Down with stale chips!  Viva la PBR and pizza instead!

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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!

Classics Revisited: Our House West

16 May

Not far from Nacho Patrol World Headquarters lies a place shrouded in mystery. Surrounded by a fog of Brubakers (too soon?) and Old Spice Body Wash, there are thing one would do in Our House West that might otherwise be considered below the standards of decency.  And we have done most of those things, yet somehow, they still let us back in.

  • Appearance: (7) Colorful enough, but rather flat. We liked the inclusion of fresh veggies but were taken aback by the rogue chili bowl off to the side.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) We remember generally liking everything but not much else stood out…
  • Distribution of Toppings: (4) Last time we came here, we forgot to order chili on our nachos and sorely regretted it.  This time, we rectified the error and received…regular nachos with a bowl of chili on the side??  Our House, you have reached a new low in nacho-distribution laziness.  Sure, there was ample melted cheese, salsa and guacamole to provide excellent coverage, but we aren’t going to let you rest on that.  We have principles to uphold, and we do not approve of cutting corners when it comes to nachos!
  • Price: (8) At $8 with chili, these are still pretty cheap.  Small, but if you only have a few people, worth it.
  • Overall: 26/40 When we originally visited Our House West for the nachos, it was one of our very first reviews, and we have often wondered if we were perhaps too lenient.  It turns out that we were– like everything that comes out of this place, these nachos are passably decent yet utterly forgettable.

As a side note, if you’re planning on abstaining from booze for the evening, you’re in for quite a surprise since they charge for refills on soda. If you can name one bar IN THE WORLD that does this, we will buy you…a soda from Our House West. We’re not bitter or anything. And no, we didn’t pay for it.