Tag Archives: Newbury Street

Charley’s Eating and Drinking Saloon: Rime of the Ancient Westerner

8 Jul

Scenic Newbury Street. Now that summer has descended upon us, we love settling down in one of the fine outdoor restaurant patios that line Boston’s famous shopping district and basking in the cool breeze of car exhaust. Charley’s has been on our sights for years now, and in preparation for relocation to Somerville, we thought it time to close the book on some of our long-standing nacho holdouts. We were impressed by the chic, yet casual atmosphere at Charley’s, and though the drink list was a little pricy, we had no problem finding an appropriate beverage to keep at bay the subtle heat still lingering at sundown.

  • Appearance: (9) Quite colorful and cheesy, with a lovely dab of guacamole on top and a ramekin of salsa on the side.  We couldn’t wait to dig in!
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6.4) In our first bites, we detected a distinct, puzzling flavor in the cheese.  Slightly off, slightly processed…could it be the dreaded American Cheese Menace?? We nibbled and pondered and conferred with our waitress, who assured us that it was actually monterey jack.  If it indeed was, then it was Industrial Monterey Jack Cheese Product #5 (TM), for it left us with a distinct reminiscence for elementary school cafeterias.  Furthermore, the guacamole was INCREDIBLY salty, so much so that it absolutely had to have been a mistake by the chef. Though we loved the chili, tomatoes, green onions, and salsa, we couldn’t get past the burning aura of salty guac which devastated everything it touched.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (8) Though we weren’t wild about the cheese, there was a lot of it, and if there is one universe rule of Nacho Patrolling, it is that lots of cheese somehow makes even the worst cheese better. There was also a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it) glob of chili, and a well-proportioned quantity of the fresh stuff (tomatoes and green onions). We would have, however, liked the cheese to have spent a little more time on the chips and slightly less melting to the plate. And the salsa was good enough that it could have been distributed on top rather than relegated to a too-small-for-dipping ramekin.
  • Price: (8) At $9.75 with chili, these are a solid investment in your fat rolls. May we recommend the sangria as a pleasant refreshment to counteract the salt lick guac.
  • Overall: 31.4/40
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Trident Booksellers & Cafe: Shallow End of the Pool

13 Sep

Newbury Street often reminds us of a high school cafeteria: while inhabited by a number of widely disparate groups, they stick to their own clearly defined turf. Hipsters rule the west end, starting at the Otherside, mingling with the tourists at Urban Outfitters and extending up to around the area of Espresso Royale.  The opposite end belongs to the rich– they shop at Chanel, Burberry and Louis Boston, brunch at Stephanie’s, then get a $75 blowout at Enzo’s. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Trident Booksellers & Cafe stands as a just-hip-enough neutral zone, where these two groups (and everyone else in between) can mix and mingle over breakfast, beers, and hard-to-find ‘zines.   On a recent weekday afternoon, we enjoyed the late summer sun on the patio and played a round of our favorite Newbury Street people-watching game, “Gay or European?” while noshing on the Trident fries and a plate of nachos:

trident1

  • Appearance: ( 8 )Deliciously melty, mottled cheese with a sprinkling of spicy  chopped green…something.  A few tomatoes peek through.  Salsa and sour cream (not pictured) arrived on the side.  Sadly, a bit of char brought them down a few points.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (5) Good cheese, decent chips, but not much else stood out.  There were some very spicy peppers hidden in the midst which caused a minor crisis, as the waiter had neglected to bring our beverages.  Overall, these just weren’t that good or memorable.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) The idea of layering clearly never crossed the chef’s mind. One solid layer of cheese on top of several layers of chips does not a good nacho make. Adding insult to injury, most of the chips on the bottom were broken into pieces too tiny to be at all helpful in scooping up stray toppings. After exhausting all of the tasty bits, we were left with a depressingly full, boring plate.

trident2

  • Price:(7)  $7, which wasn’t too bad. We didn’t finish them, only because we really didn’t want to. We don’t, however, appreciate that adding chicken would have brought them up to $12. That had better be some damn fine chicken….
  • Overall: 25.  The Trident is a great indie treasure on Newbury Street, and much of their menu looks delicious and inventive. It’s a shame that they went the boring, generic route with these nachos. They should do everyone a favor (and heed the Border Cafe, for once) and just take them off the menu.

The Otherside Cafe: Double hipster, hold the cheese

23 Apr

Otherside1Let’s start by saying we have a love/hate relationship with the Other Side Cafe. Some of us hate it, some of us love it. They’ve got some good breakfast and if you’re one of those vegan hipster types who listens to awesome music that doesn’t even exist yet, you’ll be right at home. Every now and then they even have a good draft list. We (okay, one of us) had high hopes for their nachos. Not often do we get all P.E.T.A and eat veggie/vegan nachos (we went home and ate Shaws value-pack steak afterward to compensate), so we were excited to bring a little herbivorian diversity to our master list. But then we got the nachos…Other Side, unfortunately you’re not hip enough to get away with having such atrocious food (oh wait, as long as hipster pants keep cutting off the circulation to the communal, supercool, gearless-bike, hipster brain people will still flock to this dark, crowded, poorly serviced hellhole like it’s mecca).

  • Appearance: (4) A barren, bleak desert of wan chips, with a barely discernible sprinkling of dull-colored cheese. The twin oases of chili and guacamole were not nearly enough to make it hospitable.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6) Guacamole was pretty good. There was so much of it we couldn’t finish it. Chili was…vegan. Depending on where you stand, that can be a good thing. However, we at Nacho Patrol like our protein less of the Textured Vegetable side and more on the slaughtered, ground and stewed side. Chips were standard, a bit oversalty. We honestly can’t comment on the cheese because there was so little of it.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (2) Uh, what distribution? Chili on the left, guacamole on the right (+2 for those of you who get the R. Kelley reference), suckiness all around. The cheese was practically nonexistent and what was there wasn’t even melted.
  • Price: (5) $8 for the basic, an extra $2 for guacamole. While we appreciate the ample serving of guac, we felt that these were overpriced on the whole. They even had the gall to charge $1 for sour cream! Egads!
  • Overall: 17. Otherside, step in to our office. We need to have a little chat. I know you think that you are too cool for school and all, but we need to drop some knowledge. You’ve heard of nachos, right? You know those things with layers of toppings spread over tortilla chips? Yeah, the key word there is LAYERS. Not piles. And cheese? Well, it’s sort of the foundation of nachos. MELTED CHEESE. You can’t just toss half a handful of unmelted cheddar on there and call it a day. I know you’re all about scoring brownie points with the dirty, sleeved, no-assed vegan fixie hipster crowd, but sometimes you need to pay respect to the canon and GIVE US SOME DECENT FUCKING NACHOS.

Much love,

Nachopatrol

PS. try again, bitch.Otherside2