I'm mostly a fan of the pub food at J.J. Foley's Cafe in the South End, but I tried their nachos last week, and they're made with a "nacho cheese sauce" that resembles the stuff that comes out of a pump at the cinema, blecch. How hard is it to use real cheese?
Coolidge Corner Clubhouse in Brookline has decent nachos. Their "half" size is enough to feed at least 4 people.
The key to good nachos is a place that evenly distributes the cheese throughout the nachos. There is nothing worse then getting a plate of nachos with cheese on top and eating the first layer only to find a bunch of bare chips underneath.
I went on a nacho-fest one week before and emerged nacho'ed out. The Taqueria La Mexicana was perhaps the best deal. For the money, I got a huge round tin of thick cut tortillas under melted cheese and carnitas, and stuffed with the densest toppings on earth. It made a huge mountain of shades of brown and gray, snowcapped by sour cream and scallions IIRC. It was incredibly filling and quite tasty.
The Rudy's black bean nachos were underwhelming. There wasn't enough good stuff, especially under the top layer, to keep it from being dry and uninteresting by the end.
The Forest Cafe was not that memorable...literally I can't remember it, except that it was not that great nor that bad. The same goes for Jose's.
The place I really want to try is Beerworks...I've heard the cheese is well-distributed.
But I think nachos are best as an appetizer in which you hand-wrestle everyone else to get all the good parts. The competition and smaller portions make it taste better. I am waxing philosophical about whether it's worth driving any distance for the nachos per se. Rather, I might go out with the kids for some steak, go to Bugaboo, and make sure to get their BBQ chicken nachos.
- i like the ones at redbones (even available late-night); the dish is on the smaller side, good for two people to share, but the cheese ratio is perfect and it's got the spicy/crunchy/seasoned balance down
- other side cafe piles on the vegetarian chili; ask for extra guac. quite hearty topped with the beans and grains. great grazing food, esp. on the patio.
- size-wise, and good when you're hungry late-night (serving until 1am), the paradise lounge nachos are the biggest bang for your buck (esp on cheap food nights). the tray is like the size of the top of oscar's garbage can, turned upside down, and piled with everything. the name says it all: "Big F’n Nachos"