Tag Archives: Queso

Vito’s Tavern: Leave the Gun, Take the Nachos

13 Oct

We normally avoid the North End like overpriced, overtouristed area should be avoided, but also because even if we did manage to find Italian nachos, they would probably be terrible. After a mediocre experience at Anchovies and a downright disastrous attempt at making our own pizza-inspired ‘chos, we had little hope.  But hunger goes hand in hand with poor judgement, so we found ourselves at the semi-new Vito’s Tavern in the North End, to try their ‘Bruzzese Sausage nachos, with “the usual.”

  • Appearance: (8) Ooze is the name of the game here, as we immediately spot the double-team of cheese AND cheese sauce.  Red-white-green toppings were very appropriate, considering the neighborhood.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) Even without our most cheese-sauce-friendly correspondent in tow, we had good things to say about the cheese sauce. It was right on the border of homemade-or-not, enough so that we still aren’t sure if it was from a can or the kitchen.  The chips were also debatably made in-house.  Guacamole was fresh, heavy on the red onion, and the salsa was more of a pico of fresh veggies.  We enjoyed the Italian sausage, though larger pieces might have made a bigger impact on the palate.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (8) Vito’s employed a distribution tactic we had never seen before– a layer of black beans on the bottom of the plate, but nowhere else.  We found this a little odd until we considered that the beans elevated the chips enough to keep them from getting totally sodden in cheese sauce. Was this intentional?  Unknown, but it did work. As could be expected, the combination of cheese and queso sauce left practically no chip untouched.
  • Price:  (8) At $11, these provided an ample amount of heart-stopping goodness for two people.
  • Overall: 31/40.  These were more Italian-inspired than a direct translation, earning them a place in the Best of Boston rather than the Specialty Nacho category.  But who cares? They were pretty darn tasty.  We are curious to come back and try the vegetarian nachos, with roasted and sauteed veggies.

Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC: The Nacho Speaks of Rivers of Cheese Sauce

9 Aug

Next up in our summer series, “Nachos From Exotic Locales To Make Up For Rarely Posting,” is the lovely Washington DC!  We’ve reviewed here before way back in 2009, and arrived for this visit hungry for more museums, monuments, nachos, and above all, functioning air conditioning.  We found the latter two at Busboys & Poets, a bar/restaurant/bookstore/meeting place/social justice center (?) named in honor of Langston Hughes.  The “social justice center” part had us slightly concerned about the tempeh-to-cheese ratio, but what we found caught us completely by surprise:

  • Appearance:  (5) A toupee of shredded romaine alongside a vat of orange cheese=NOT what we were expecting!  With their green-and-gold color scheme, these could easily be the official nachos of the Green Bay Packers. Congealed cheese and a hint of tomato were the only signs of life from beneath.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) In deference to our vegetarian host Natalie we skipped the beef chili and got these with only the the roasted corn and black beans, which we very much enjoyed.  The chips were homemade but slightly stale and not salty enough.  The guacamole was fresh and citrusy and we appreciated the fresh jalapenos, which have proven to be exceedingly rare on nachos. And while we never like lettuce on nachos, we must acknowledge that it was fresh and romaine.  The real cheese was slightly burnt, and we were divided on the cheese sauce (surprise!)– some found it too cheap and generic-tasting for these nachos, while others found it a pleasant addition.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) There was not nearly enough salsa and cheese, so the cheese sauce did come in handy for some extra oomph.  We would be interested to try these with chili…though with all the other toppings, it was not too badly missed.
  • Price: (9) At $8, these were not at all the tourist trap we were expecting!  Finished handily by three.
  • Overall: 26/40.  You’d never guess that these nachos came from “a haven for writers, thinkers and performers from America’s progressive social and political movements”.  They seemed so…normal. That couldn’t be!  Perhaps the juxtaposition of the two cheese forms represented the immigrant struggle between assimilation and traditional culture? Was the oppressive lid of romaine a symbol of white male patriarchal domination?  And what does the heat of the jalapenos have to say about pacifism? We pondered until our ponderers were tired, or until it was time to catch our flight. Perhaps there is no subtext, no meaning, just a plate of mid-level nachos.

Cornwall’s: Rock Me Like Hurricane Earl

5 Sep

When it’s birthday time, nothing can stop us from partying.  Not rain, nor wind, nor a hurricane expected to bring both.   Friday night found us out in Kenmore, rain/drinking boots on, doing our part to combat Hurricane Early by drinking enough hurricanes to lower him to just a tropical storm.  And it worked!  Celebratory nachos seemed to be in order, so we took a break from darts and charades at Cornwall’s to try out the ‘chos.

We’ve unofficially reviewed the nachos at Cornwall’s before and found them….less than satisfactory.  But if so, then time to put it on the books!  Without consulting their menu, we alerted our waitress to our desperate need for the house nachos (they don’t normally come with chili so we went without).

  • Appearance: (6) Certainly cheesy, with oozing white cheddar barely masking some tomatoes and serious jalapenos.  On the side in plastic cups, the holy trinity of nacho condiments: salsa, sour cream, and…..queso dip? Huh??
  • Quality of Ingredients: (5) The melted white cheddar was delicious on top.  The salsa and queso….not so much.  The cheese sauce was barely even warmed!  Had we wanted to pour it over it would have been nothing but a big glob.  Salsa was nothing distinctive, chips likewise.  The black pepper on top was inspired.  So simple, yet so delicious!
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) There was a ton of cheese on top but nothing on the lower layers.  It suddenly becomes clear: the double-cheese is deliberate, knowing that we’ll get bored with the naked chips underneath and need something to dip them in.  Why not just skip the queso altogether and just divide the cheese into two layers? Efficiency, people!
  • Price: (4) Since we flagged down a waitress and hollered for nachos rather than seeing the menu first, we knew that a lot would depend on the price.  And…$9? Without chili or chicken or anything?  Talk about a shock!
  • Overall: 20/40.  We always forget that this place has food…and for good reason.  A great place to get your drink on but the nachos are a total waste of money.