When one sees nachos on the menu at a midtown Irish pub, it tends to have all the appeal of a Chinese laundry serving ravioli. And when you see the “Nachos Grande” includes “spicy beef”, you figure it’s an ingredient an Irish bar usually offers in a secret room or is code for something untoward the IRA are planning in someone’s shoes. As keen nachos enthusiasts, we lean heavily towards no meat on our nachos, but we ordered from our esteemed server and waited with the eminent patience we are famous for.
Well, a whole 5 minutes later a steaming plate of richly dressed nachos is placed before us, a glistening well baked mess of cheese and chips and accordingly scattered jalapeños adorned its fiery slopes. Alas, the waiter then placed an anaemic plate of guac, sour cream and salsa, contained within the usual small plastic containers one finds your mayo and ketchup at a NASCAR pop-up. A discernible sigh emanated from our table, the napkins fluttered to the floor and the music seemed to dim apologetically. Accordingly we dumped the disinterested toppings on to the pile, where they sat rather like Christmas decorations at a minimum security prison.
We hoed in. And with each bite the enthusiasm rapidly reached a level that surprised us. The chips were home-made and had a wonderful snap and crunch, holding the sauces and cheese with uncommon strength, allowing us to dig with the kind of gusto one often finds lacking in nachos. The spicy beef was appropriately “spicy” and tender and had the mouth feel of a quality chili. The meal was hot and rich, the conversation consisted mostly of grunts and snuffs, napkins lustily removing sauce from beards, and within a few minutes the plate was empty, bearing the delightful smears of a well enjoyed meal.
All in all, a surprisingly good platter of nachos. Care had been taken, pride in their product was evident. My main issue was, like most nachos with a meat sauce, it tended to overload the flavor quickly and the deeper you got the more soaked with chips were and thus each mouthful tended to be a meat fest. Fortunately the meat was nicely done, so I’m not complaining too much. Points were deducted for the careless attitude to a key ingredient (guacamole no less!) that appeared to be pre-made and, obviously, the toppings coming on the side.