Tag Archives: Dive Bars

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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Jalapenos: Our House South of the Border

21 Mar

Do you remember a scant 29 months ago when we questioned the strange allure of Our House West (in case you don’t, you can get nostalgic here and here)? That “den of vice, iniquity, and many a lost Tuesday night” kept us coming back week after week despite its many, often very apparent, flaws. Sure, the nachos weren’t that good, but they had board games and curly fries. It was like college, but sexier.

Reader, in recent months you may have noticed a painful cry rushing away from the dingy streets of Allston. Have you paused to listen to that sad moan hanging in the wind? Have you heard it whisper, “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuddddde…..I looooooovvvvveeee yooooooooouuuuu” and then vomit? Well, that’s just the ghosts of the recently deceased Our House West fleeing that immortalized basement to make room for the bright and beautifully whitewashed Jalepenos. Ditching our mourning shrouds and bolstering our spirits with thoughts of Mexican food, we headed back down that well trod road to Our House–I mean Jalapenos.

  • Appearance: (6) Segregation was ruled unconstitutional years ago, but Jalapenos missed that.  One half entirely cheese and veggies, the other split between pico and a torrent of jalapeno peppers?  It didn’t make a lot of sense to us. Also, the cheese sauce had a very suspiciously too-orange color…
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) The homemade chips here are good, and while the salsa is more like pico de gallo, it was fresh and bright tasting.  The veggies were large, well-seasoned chunks of roasted zucchini, summer squash and eggplant.  The cheese sauce was…cheese sauce.  We had been hoping for something along the lines of Border’s queso dip, but this unfortunately had more in common with Velveeta.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (6) Does anyone really need that many jalapenos? Really?  We scraped them off and they filled a whole appetizer plate.  The cheese sauce got so cold that it formed a skin and didn’t properly coat the chips.
  • Price: (7) We’re pretty sure these were in the $10 range–so average, it’s not worth discussing.
  • Overall: (26/40) Jalepenos may have upgraded the decor, but sadly not the nachos. Tying with the Our House West re-review, we’re unsure why the cheese sauce on the nachos was different from the queso dip on the menu and why they found it necessary to douse the whole plate in jalepenos. Was it an edible homage to their name???? Genius!

Saying goodbye to Our House West was hard, but it’s nice to see the space growing up with us. And no matter what, we still have our memories–or rather, hazy drunken recollections of questionable decisions gone by.

Jeanie Johnston: You Can’t Put Lipstick (Cow) on a Pig (Nachos)

10 Nov

If dives are your thing and you ever find yourself near the Forest Hills T stop, you might want to check out the Jeanie Johnston.  The lighting is low, there are TVs everywhere, the Guinness is certainly well-poured, and the trivia host was doling out Halloween candy.  Spying nachos on the menu, we were pleasantly surprised to see a few unconventional toppings, and went for steak and mushrooms in hopes of a novel experience.

  • Appearance: (4) Lettuce! Our sworn enemy!  Just when we thought that we had escaped your clutches, you taunt us yet again!! And you aren’t even green enough to make these appealing!
  • Quality of Ingredients: (4) Well, the steak bits were good…and that’s about all.  Mushrooms were thin, dry and sparse. Cheese was congealed.  Chips, salsa, jalapenos, etc. were utterly forgettable.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (4) Piled too high on a small plate, with a single layer of cheese on top.  Once we had picked off the good stuff the situation got dire, but we persevered out of hunger. Our thoroughness lead us to an extra added bonus item: a lone french fry nestled deep in the mountain of chips.  After the steak, splitting this fry was one of the highlights of these nachos.
  • Price: (7) Where many other restaurants would probably try to get away with charging an arm and a leg for steak, it was refreshing to see only a $2 .50markup, the same as chicken or chili.  Mushrooms were another $1.50 (and definitely not worth it).
  • Overall: 19/40. To cite Wikipedia: “Put lipstick on a pig: a rhetorical expression, used to convey the message that making superficial or cosmetic changes is a futile attempt to disguise the true nature of a product.” These nachos immediately brought this phrase to mind, as they were nothing but sub-par nachos with a little fancy dressing.  To be fair, this place is a dive and the nachos weren’t pretending to be much more than they are, but the steak (and bonus french fry) was the only thing that made them worth the time and effort.  Just skip right to the good stuff and order some steak tips, maybe with a side of chips if you’re really jonesing for ‘chos.