You all know the story of nachos, how they were a novelty item until the folks at Arlington Stadium decided to pour orangish goop over chips. Then Howard Cosell raved about them on Monday Night Football and the rest was history.
At least that's how we heard the tale.
In this week's toque to toque smackdown, we're not just pitting any old piled of cheese drenched tortilla chips against each other. No--these places ramp things up a bit. Kenny's serves ahi tuna nachos while Fish City touts their "famous" oyster nachos.
That's right, it's a battle between delicately seared and deep fried. The only thing in common are the chips...and even those are different.
Kenny's in Addison drapes silken strips of sushi-grade tuna over crisp won ton chips. Fish City--we visited the Henderson location--sets a single fried oyster on regular old grocery grade corn tortilla chips. And this does make a difference: Fish City's seem rather pointless and eventually begin to sag. Kenny's won ton chips, on the other hand, contribute an essential character to each bite.
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Otherwise, these are both well-considered starters. Yes, Fish City's are sloppier, spilling chunks of fruit and vegetables as you pick them from the plate. But rich and earthy shellfish hide under a burst of bright salsa, emerging on the palate as the sweet-sharp twang of tomato, onion and cilantro begins to fade. Behind all this, a spicy sauce waits, leaving a trace of heat that lingers nicely.
The ahi version at Kenny's is more up market, of course. The tuna is scarcely seared, leaving a luscious ruby-colored robe touched with wasabi cream and a counterstroke of sweet soy that resembles Indonesian kecap manis. In combination, you find sweet and hot, tacky and smooth, crisp and silken all in one bite. Yet the flavor of tuna is never completely covered.
Naturally the price favors Fish City ($6.99 to $9.99)--but that can't be helped.
I would call it a draw, but the oyster nachos at Fish City are more substantial and closer to the original intent of a nacho, what with all that salsa. So the edge goes to Fish City Grill on this one.