You ever have one of those days where you end up working for 10 and a half straight hours and then when you leave are exhausted but see that The Shining is playing at a theater nearby in an hour so you drive and get there thirty minutes early only to find that the app you used to check movie times was wrong and it is actually starting in two hours so now you’ve got an hour and a half to kill and the restaurant in the actual theater doesn’t have nachos so you walk over to the nearby Red Robin to get a burger because you didn’t think they had nachos but it turns out that they actually do so you figure you have to get them because you write for a nacho review site and you need to try new nachos because that’s how you generate reviews?
Over the years I have gotten plenty of burgers and bottomless fries and registered trademark Freckled Lemonade® from Red Robin, but was never aware that there were nachos to be had as well. I took a seat at the bar and had mentally prepared my guts for more fries than they could handle and a case of heartburn from their seasoning, so was shocked and overjoyed at the sight of NachO.M.G.™, which were just trademarked but not registered trademarked. That these were in turn covered with trademarked Red's Chili Chili™ brought me joy at the pure ridiculousness of the trademark system.
What arrived shortly was a very good looking plate of nachos, so much so that the people next to me at the bar even commented on it. Going with the choice of diced red onions and tomatoes to contrast the yellow of the cheese and green of the guacamole shows that someone knows their plating. I was also thrilled that these weren’t just a pile of unlayered chips with cheese and chili on top and sour cream/salsa/guac in little bowls on the side as so many other bar nachos are. After metaphorically eating them with my eyes, I was cautiously optimistic, but only by eating with your mouth can you truly gauge a meal.
In the good column, whatever proprietary chips they use were each 1 by 6 inch wavy tortilla strips that remind you of the ribbon candy your sainted grandmother would get along with her jelly fruit slices and Necco wafers. It is a rare, rare thing that a place mixes up their chips with anything out of the ordinary, but perhaps that’s what you need to get trademarked these days. The chili was also not some loose weak soup or ground beef slurry, but instead nice and chunky, perhaps even “hearty”. There certainly wasn’t enough of it, but is there ever? There was one thing that stuck out as missing the most, which was strange because the Red Robin website in fact shows it with the nachos...
The main issue with these long fellas is that they’re very lowest common denominator when it comes to flavor, specifically in that they are very bland. This is something that could very easily be addressed by the addition of actual salsa (which they say is on there but I don’t see it) or pico de gallo, or like the picture on their website shows, a ramekin of jalapenos. These jalapenos are not mentioned anywhere in the item description, so I can’t take umbrage in them not being included, but cilantro also could have been used to boost the flavor, and that was mentioned in the description but not included on the nachos. If you look real close at the guacamole you can see little green specks that could be them, but I was promised “Sprinkled with cilantro”, not “Maybe the lump of guacamole we scoop on top has the barest dusting of cilantro.” Also of the two cheeses featured, one shredded and one nacho, the shredded ones weren’t very melted, so there’s that too.
Are these the best nachos you will ever eat? Of course not, but if you’re going to a burger place and for some reason don’t want to eat the burgers they’re known for… well, I don’t know why you’re going to a burger place in the first place then. Maybe you were kidnapped? Who can say, but know that if you do have to get some nachos there for some reason, they’re better than you’d think. Also, they were only $9, which isn’t bad. So say what you will about the nachos, but if nothing else they will certainly inspired you to look up some of the intricacies of trademark law.