Retail stores be damned, Christmas is eons from now — and just think of how many food holidays those crafty corporate vendors could be celebrating in the meantime! Like today, for instance, it’s National Nacho Day, surely worthy of a little fanfare. We’ll take any old excuse to chow down on a platter of chips and cheese; it seems like an ideal Wednesday night activity. Here are five spots to get your fix.
Pork Slope, 247 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn
Slide onto a stool and order the loaded nachos at Dale Talde’s Park Slope bar; you’ll get a gut-busting pile of fixings built on paper-thin tortilla chips. The bar goes the molten route when it comes to cheese, which inundates the beefy chili, jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions — but if you’re a cheddar purist (or a diehard cheese fiend), take solace in the fact that you’ll find the real stuff shredded over the top.
Bronx Ale House, 216 West 238th Street, Bronx
It takes some commitment to get up to the North Bronx — especially if you’re headed that way from another of the outer boroughs. One place that makes the hike worth it is this craft beer bar, where rare brews rotate on draft. Pair your drink to the alehouse nachos, a nontraditional take that sees potato chips saddled with tender hunks of braised barbecue pork, tart pickled onions, and a thick blanket of salty queso fresco.
The Commodore, 366 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn
¡Oye! Comida columnist Scarlett Lindeman recommends the nachos at the Commodore, the Williamsburg bar that turns out a respectable round-up of bar food. This vegetarian version of the treat is also classic — the kitchen loads up its chips with queso, jalapeños, pinto beans, tomato, onions, sour cream, and a trio of salsas.
Sabor a Mexico, 160 First Avenue
Lindeman also says to head on over to Sabor a Mexico, the place that turns out the breakfast tamales she profiled earlier today. There, you’ll find the cheesiest entrant on this list; the chips also get a generous smattering of chorizo, jalapeños, and pico de gallo.
They are also an architectural marvel, whether you order them in entrée- ($16) or appetizer-size ($8). The thick tortilla chips jut vertically like an iceberg, with sharp pockets of spicy chicken tinga that counter the creaminess of the luxurious silken cheese sauce. A thicket of crisp radish and long tufts of cilantro sprout from one side. Wedges of pickled jalapeño and coins of carrot en escabeche add a second layer of heat to the molten cheese. Does that ethereally smooth dairy start with a classic French bechamel? A cream-laden mornay strained repeatedly to remove every lump? Spina laughs. “It’s just American cheese, heavy cream, and Frank’s Red Hot.”