Nacho toppings have taken on plenty of extreme themes in recent years — but the addition of raw fish remains a rarity. At Mesa Grill in Las Vegas, however, diners can try out tuna tartare nachos. In addition to uncooked tuna, the dish is completed with three more decidedly extreme ingredients: avocado crema, mango, and habanero hot sauce.
To think, the nachos of our forebears weren't even topped with beef or chicken. These days, restaurateurs have taken carnivore-lover chips and dip to the next level by adding some unexpected meats to the Tex-Mex mix. At the Gage Hotel's White Buffalo Bar, in Marathon, Texas, diners can try “Venison Fajita Black Bean Nachos,” which feature free-range venison that's butchered in-house. And if that's not exteme enough for you, chef Tim Love could whip you up a batch of kangaroo carpaccio “nachos,” with avocado salsa and habanero-fig demi-glace at Lonesome Dove in Fort Worth, Texas. (Incidentally, his burger joint Love Shack makes a mean batch of nachos.)
For the ultimately indulgent nacho experience, consider stopping off at New York's Cowgirl Seahorse Restaurant. Their “Hurricane Nachos” are a jumbled heap of just about everything: beef, pork, shrimp, chicken, black beans, grilled veggies, carrots, two kinds of cheese, and piles of salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. You're going to need a fork for this one.
At Seattle's Americana Restaurant, low-brow food favorites — mac and cheese, burgers, deviled eggs — are given the haute-cuisine treatment. And that includes the nachos. The restaurant's duck confit nachos combine rich, salty duck meat with diced tomatos, scallions, and sauce made from Saint André cheese.
The nachos at Yucatan Taco Stand in Forth Worth, Texas, were dubbed one of the country's best by Bestcovery.com. They might also be the tallest — a “foot high tower” of chips, lettuce, meat, sour cream, and guacamole. “You get all kinds of reactions, from just absolutely astonished to people's jaw dropping,” Curt Voirin, Yucatan's director of operations, said last year.
Taking the definition of “nachos” to its very limit, the chefs at Do or Dine Restaurant in New York are serving up the most eccentric version you're likely to see. Most notably, there's nary a chip in sight. Instead, deep-fried pork dumplings are topped with more conventional accoutrements — cheese, sour cream, and salsa.
Nachos without tortilla chips? Such a thing occurs across the country at Irish bars, which often serve up nachos based around fried potato wedges (other nacho mainstays, like cheese, jalapeños, and tomatoes, are still heaped on top). J. Gilligan's Irish Bar, in Arlington, Texas, claims to have invented the dish in 1979.
A chic bar serving pretty typical nachos, except for the chic price tag. At $19, Bar 89 in New York's tony Soho district offers diners a platter of tortilla chips, cheese, jalapeños, tomato, peppers, olives, and onion. “Why did these cost $19?” asked nacho expert Lee Frank of NachosNY.com. “Let me know if you figure that out.”
You're probably familiar with dessert pizza. But it's not the only greasy menu item getting a sugary makeover. At New York's Treats Truck, chef Kim Ima serves up the ultimate dessert nachos. Chips made of chocolate and vanilla cookies are topped with crumbled bits of brownie and and Rice Krispies squares, and then doused with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
Nachos aren't necessarily gut-busters? Who knew? At least, not if you eat those served at Sun Café in Los Angeles. The raw food, vegan restaurant uses jicama instead of tortilla chips, and tops the crispy veggies with cheese made of cashews, fresh guacamole, and faux-chorizo made from dehydrated sunflower seeds.