Tag Archives: Disappointment

Mija Cantina: Not Worth Their Salt

13 Jun

The Boston Nacho News Network (BNNN) is all atwitter today with the news that Jalepenos is closing (the curse of Our House West rears its ugly head…). But with its passing comes another crappy Mexican restaurant–this time in the doldrums of Quincy Market. On first glance, Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar  seemed to be a lovely oasis with a design concept best described by our friend Zach as “pro-tourist salvage-yard neo-mexigoth.” We would have been wise, however, to heed the advice of the many Yelp reviewers who cautioned us to keep clear.

According to our server, Mija opened two weeks ago, but if we didn’t know better, we would assume someone had hauled in a wait staff off the street, forgot to train them, and then opened doors three months early. We didn’t even know where to begin in describing the problems with the service, so we condensed it down into a list:

  • Upon arriving, a nervous looking hostess told us it would be an hour wait for a table of seven. This was Wednesday early evening, and once we pointed to a whole slew of empty tables and told her we would just sit separately, she told us they could push two tables together.
  • While waiting for our table, we noticed numerous waitresses demonstrate an absolute inability to hold a tray.
  • Our waitress could only find one drink menu, and then brought out the wrong beer three times. We asked for a Long Trail IPA–first they served us Bud Light. Twice they brought out Harpoon IPA. We gave up after that.
  • It took five bartenders 22 minutes to serve us two margaritas so bad that we had to send them back.
  • In deference to our vegetarian table-mate, we asked for carnitas to be served on the side of our ‘chos. When the runner put the plate on the table, we saw a distinct pile of meat. Asking him if these had “carnitas on the side,” he quickly said yes and left before we could argue. We would have been grumpy about this until we noticed that the beans had meat built in. Which brings us to the issue of the nachos…
Based on the description on the menu, these nachos had promise: tortilla chips, charro beans (pinto beans with bacon and chorizo) , Monterey jack cheese, chile con queso, pico, crema, guacamole, and carnitas.
  • Appearance: (7.5) Attractive, with an artful drizzle of crema.  Points off for the “on the side” carnitas…
  • Quality: (7) We enjoyed the carnitas and beans; however, the chips were both unevenly cooked and unevenly salted, so much so that there were bites that left us choking and teary-eyed with sodium overdose (and Nacho Patrol LOVES their salt).  The guacamole and salsa were nothing special.
  • Distribution: (7.3) There were a lot of toppings, but overall the dish was heavy, rather than complementary. The unevenly cooked chips only added to the problem as some became incredibly soggy under the weight of all the toppings.
  • Price: (3) The management might think that $13 nachos (and $11 margaritas) are appropriate for the space and location, but we say they simply aren’t worth the trouble of dealing with this establishment.
  • Overall: 24.8/40.  These nachos aren’t bad, but please, don’t go.  This place hasn’t yet earned the right to be in business and we don’t want to encourage them!
We were lucky to share this meal with a small army of food industry professionals, and as they pointed out, a new restaurant needs a competent wait-staff to support it while it builds a reputation. Sadly, Mija’s under-qualified staff and overpriced menu handicapped what could have been a pleasant dining experience. We will be eagerly anticipating the next Mexican restaurant to sweep in on the Tex-Mex tides.
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CitySide’s Buffalo Chicken Nachos: The Horror, The Horror!

14 Jul
We really should have known better.  We’d had mediocre-to-terrible experiences with both CitySide and buffalo chicken nachos in the past– why tempt fate and try the combination of both?  Perhaps it was hopefulness, perhaps naivete, perhaps it was even the dreamy beefcake aura of American Leauge All-star starting catcher Joe Mauer emanating from the TVs above, but something drove us to think that ordering these nachos was a good idea. Featuring cheddar and blue cheese, shredded buffalo chicken, shredded carrots, sweet corn and sour cream, they had to at least be interesting, right? RIGHT? Wrong.  We were quickly plunged headfirst into a terrifying nacho nightmare.
  • Appearance: (3) Reminiscent of the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse in their lack of structural integrity, we knew from a distance that this plate was going to be, in one way or another, a beast.  Upon closer examination the first thing we noticed was the sour cream, which appeared to be curdling and separating, and we knew we were in for a struggle.
  • Quality: (1) We debated whether or not we should award these nachos a zero for quality. We’ve never doled such a woeful score, but then again, we’ve never had nachos this bad. There was absolutely nothing right about this plate. The chips were stale and occasionally burnt, the corn  and carrot strips were superfluous, and the salsa was from a jar.  The “buffalo chicken” listed in the description was such in name only, as it actually consisted of plain, unseasoned shredded chicken and a completely separate splash of buffalo sauce, which tasted like straight vinegar and black pepper and was entirely off-putting.  The blue cheese, which we were excited about, had decidedly past it’s expiration date and tasted strongly of mold (and not the right kind).  We can only hope that this means these nachos are rarely ordered, and thus that not too many innocents have met this dire fate…
  • Distribution: (2) Everything was haphazard and uneven.  Because of the way the “buffalo chicken” was arranged, these nachos were half chicken desert and half buffalo swamp.  When we flipped off the top few chips to rid ourselves of the sour cream, this is the horror that presented itself:

We found it akin to what the medical examiner would find in your stomach after you ate these nachos, suffered massive internal organ damage, and died.  It says a lot about these nachos that we were thankful the poor distribution, because the naked chips and bottled salsa were the only things worth eating.

  • Price: (1) Instead of $12, these could have cost 12 cents and they would still have earned a 1.  Such a total waste.
  • Overall: 7/40.  CitySide, you have hit a new low we never even thought possible.  Please, for the love of God, take this monstrosity off the menu.  These nachos were so bad, they have nearly turned us off food entirely.

Sports Depot: Back that Caboose Up

31 Jan

We’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on the Sports Depot in Allston. It’s not far from Nacho Patrol’s ancestral manse–located just under the giant Ace Tickets sign, right on the 66 bus line, next to a giant red caboose, we oft pass it on our travels to the much classier haunts of Harvard Square. To us, it became a kind of mecca, the holiest of nacho areas, the destination one waits her whole life to experience. And after sixty-some reviews under our belt, we felt ready to venture into what would surely spell instant enlightenment. No longer would we wander from incarnation to incarnation of less-than-stellar nachos: finally, after two long years, we would reach the pinnacle and ascend directly to the nacho lover’s equivalent of heaven: a 40/40 score.

Unfortunately, the road a nacho reviewer walks is a long one, one perhaps assigned by the stars to end in failure.

If there were a way we could put our blubbering tears into writing, we would add it right here. Suffice it to say, we have thesaurus.com queued to search “disappoint” as we write this.  Many metaphors were made on the spot in an attempt to vocalize our disappointment. Remember when you were so excited to see the last Star Trek: TNG movie? You were sure that auteur Brent Spiner was going to weave solid gold. You waited and pined and dreamed, but when it got here, you were so dismayed you couldn’t even a remember a day when Star Trek was good. Heartbroken and dejected, you had to create and watch an entire 60-episode Star Trek: TNG syllabus in the hopes of rekindling the dim light of joy in your heart. To use parlance our younger readers will understanding, imagine if you were expecting Bella Swan and Edward Cullen on their wedding night, and instead got the sordid tale of Bella deciding to go back to Phoenix and losing it to her three-week boyfriend in a tent after junior prom. Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s break down the gritty details:

  • Appearance: (6.3) with the tears in our eyes, it was hard to get a clear mental picture, but we will say these nachos were nothing to write home about. Again, we apologize for the piss-poor image quality as of late–after many long weeks, we finally have a functioning camera and we hope that soon we’ll remember to bring it. Highlights from this particular plate have to the fresh tomatoes and the chopped green onions. Low lights have to be…everything else. Who knew a place that has its own caboose would lack any originality in its food.
  • Distribution: (7) in our effort to be cunning linguists, we can only say that the distribution was pretty crappy. On first glance we expected a lot more naked chips than we got. The refried beans certainly helped add a nice coating of flavor, but there wasn’t nearly enough chili (in fact, there may have only been one bean and one substantial piece of beef) or cheese or tomato or guacamole.
  • Quality (6): The fresh stuff was the tastiest–the tomatoes, guac, and green onions. The refried beans were exactly what you’d expect from a can and there wasn’t enough chili to gauge the flavor.
  • Price (6): Before tip, these nachos were $9.99. Average for this area, but still shitty considering the size.
  • Overall: 25.3/ 40

We’ve been told long ago that success is a journey, not a destination. And as much as it breaks our spirit to admit it, Sports Depot seems to be just another, rather forgettable step on Nacho Patrol’s path toward nacho perfection.