Tag Archives: Green Line

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.

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!

Harry’s Bar and Grill: The Seabiscuit of Nachos

16 Feb

dsc03092February 5th, 2009: a day of epic nacho adventures, a day of nacho brilliance. Also, really really cold. Tag-teaming the pursuit for the perfect nacho, Nacho Patrol split up, one illustrious team tackling the world of post-Celtics-letdown nachos, while the other adventurers traipsed carefully over the ice fields of Brighton/Brookline to Harry’s Bar and Grill, a loud little sports bar located conveniently off the Warren St. T-stop. And though Skyler and Andi didn’t get to wear their favorite shoes (after seeing the thermometer, “feels like -2 degrees,” their choice of accoutrement quickly evolved from hot dresses and high heels to long underwear, jeans, and hiking boots), the two have a feeling that they made a wise choice in nacho locale.

  • Appearance: ( 7.5 ) No, these nachos weren’t exactly lookers. We’ve seen this layout before–a generous hump of chips coated in a helmet of melted cheddar. Sour cream and salsa were in little cups on either side. The one flaw: the cheese was a little burnt, resulting in a somewhat unappetizing first bite and thus our first note-worthy observation of the evening: starting off slow, these nachos do finish strong, thus earning the illustrious title, the Sea-Biscuit Award for Excellence in Race-Like Photo Finishes. Just a few less seconds in the oven, and these nachos might have got a 10 for appearance.
  • Quality of ingredients: (9) Yum Yum Yum! Nacho Patrol is impressed! “There are kidney beans!” exclaimed Skyler. “These are really good black olives!” Skyler yelled in jubilation. (For the record, I was yelling over loud music. But the olives really were startlingly delicious. –Skyler). Good, light tri-colored chips, unexpectedly delicious homemade salsa, wonderful guacamole and really good chili.  Even the jalapenos were good, and we don’t even like jalapenos!  Nothing was very salty, but there was so much flavor in everything that we didn’t even mind.
  • Distribution of ingredients: (9) Only one layer of cheese often sends us running for the hills, but these nachos had enough going on under the surface to make everything alright.  Instead of being on top, the chili was poured in the middle, eliminating any naked chips.  Indeed, it was difficult to find chips with which to sample the salsa.  Somehow, this unorthodox distribution worked, and deliciously so.
  • Price: (10) Something like $7.50 for an excellent plate of nachos is something we can absolutely get behind.  Two of us managed to finish it with only minor difficulty
  • Overall: 35.5.  On paper, these nachos are all wrong.  We expected little from them but were blown away when they won over our hearts and stomachs.  As we kept eating, they kept getting better: passing Beantown Pub, then Sol Azteca, then, when no one thought it possible, even Sunset Cantina itself.  It was a stunning come-from-behind victory, too good to be true, and although they did not make it to the absolute top of the nacho standings, they will forever be remembered as a stellar competitor.

Nacho Patrol aims to approach every review with an open and unbiased mind. However, it is a rare and magnificent day when we are truly surprised. You know it must be good when we must re-jigger our rating system to include decimals.