BUSBOYS AND POETS: Nachos are normally a very cheesy affair, which usually makes them off limits if you don’t eat dairy. Busboys and Poets is one of the few places where you can get a decent nacho platter regardless of whether you’re an omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan. The regular version comes loaded with the usual pico de gallo and guac, along with black beans and sweet roasted corn, while the vegan version features dairy-free cheese and sour cream and black-eyed peas and red pepper salsa. Meat eaters can add chicken or chili for some extra protein. —Alicia Mazzara
Busboys and Poets has four locations in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.
Last month when I went for the cooking workshop in Northeast, I stopped by the 5th and K outpost of Busboys and Poets. I usually go the 14th and V location in Northwest as regular readers know. While the artwork was spectacular at the Northeast location (peep the portraits of Mama Maya and Alice Walker on the staircase!) the vibe wasn’t quite as laid back as the restaurant in Northwest. I saw that nachos appeared to be a popular menu item so I ordered them expecting the regular version. Instead I was given the vegan version which were actually very tasty! Honestly I couldn’t tell that they are dairy free and the black-eyed peas were a nice unexpected touch.
DCist also mentioned a couple of other places that I have been to but I did not try the nachos while I was there. One is Smoke and Barrel where I had a rib platter and the other is Tryst which I have written about on this blog. To be honest I am not a fan of BBQ nachos having tried them in New York at Virgil’s. I found that the BBQ smokey flavoring was overwhelming and the sauce made the chips go soggy.
SMOKE AND BARREL: I have a theory that BBQ places make the best nachos (see: American Ice Co. above). Smoke and Barrel’s BBQ nachos help back up that theory. Your choice of pork, brisket, chicken, veggie chili, or tofu is loaded into a mountain of tortilla chips topped with nacho cheese, jalapeños, red bell peppers with sides of salsa and sour cream. It’s a nacho dream, you guys. —Matt Cohen
Smoke and Barrel is located at 2471 18th Street NW.
TRYST: For the fully loaded nacho experience, try the Nachos Locos at Tryst. These puppies come piled high with black bean dip, grilled peppers, sour cream, guac, jalapeños, and your choice of beef or pulled chicken. Hate it when your chip doesn’t have enough toppings? A hefty coating of melted white cheddar cheese completes this monster appetizer, ensuring that every inch of the plate is covered in melty goodness.—Alicia Mazzara
Tryst is located at 2459 18th Street NW.
One place that wasn’t mentioned by the DCist that I like is Pica Taco. I went to the Florida Avenue location and had the chorizo dip. While it isn’t nachos per se it was still delicioso! www.picatacodc.com
All photos by D. Bell 2014