Simple in premise but with endless variations in execution, behold the nacho. When done properly, a plate of nachos becomes an act of excavation, a work of edible archaeology. We set out to explore some of the more interesting nachos in and around Dallas, and so we present the Nachodyssey. Here we will document the nachos we love -- the curious, the outlandish and above all the delicious. So, sing to us, O Cheese.
See also: The best mac and cheese in Dallas.
Gecko Cafe's Seafood Nachos Seafood Nachos $8.50
I admit that we approached this one with trepidation. There are a lot of ways this combo could go wrong. The shrimp, imitation crab and scallops (though admittedly we saw no scallops) are topped with primavera sauce and melted jack cheese, which runs the risk of being cloyingly heavy. But the saving grace is the house-made pico de gallo, which brightens everything.
Herrera's Café Supreme Nachos $10.95, half order $7.75 Many nachos can have well-prepared, fresh ingredients and remain structurally unsound. Herrera's Supreme Nachos may not be inventive, but they're architecturally impressive. The layout is relatively simple but structurally sound: Every chip is amply coated with the dappling of chili con carne, beans, tomatoes and other staples.
Gloria's Restaurant & Bar Chicken Fajita Nachos $10.99
These nachos don't come in a mound, piled haphazardly. They're classier than that. Twelve chips come arrayed on a plate and individually topped with grilled chicken, cheese and a luscious black bean spread. What you gain in elegance, you lose in tactile pleasure. Perfect for those more interested in taste than the act of digging.
Spiral Diner Nachos Supremos $9.50
If you haven't tried these before, vegan nachos probably invite skepticism. That skepticism is unwarranted though: These are amazing. Strange as it sounds, the olives, quinoa, and black beans are a rich substitute for chili and refried beans. But the most incredible part is the "cheese," which is just a sauce made from cashews and bell peppers. It tastes just like decadent nacho cheese without any of the subsequent sluggishness. Possibly the tastiest nachos on the Nachodyssey.
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Angry Dog Nachos $7.50, Half Order $4.75
At Angry Dog the emphasis is on simplicity and deliciousness, winning "Best Nachos" in years past from the Observer. Beans, cheese, chicken and/or beef, topped with guacamole, sour cream and jalapeños. As straightforward as nachos come, and while there was a cache of dry chips underneath, the satisfying corniness of the chips and ample, succulent chicken more than makes up for distribution problems.
And so ends our first voyage. There are some glaring omissions, to be sure. We have no barbecue nachos in this list, only because in all honesty we can only eat so many nachos in a 36-hour period. We have no doubt missed your favorite. Please share it with us so we can include it in following entries to the Nachodyssey.