It isn't often that during your first visit to a restaurant, you discover a dish that you'll think about over the next many days. But that happened with me and the brisket nachos at Candente, the Montrose Tex-Mex restaurant from Sambrooks Hospitality Group (The Pit Room, 1751 Sea & Bar, Pi Pizza, Sam's Fried Chicken & Donuts).
Candente, set inside a former Cane Rosso down the street from The Pit Room, is already dazzling visitors with its big plates of enchiladas, fajitas, and brisket queso. There's also a ridiculous burrito filled with Frito Pie ingredients (it's called the Frito Burrito, naturally). I just love that Candente is having fun with Tex-Mex.
But "fun" doesn't even begin to describe the brisket nachos.
I consider myself something of a nacho connoisseur. I'm the guy who used to order nachos as my entree at the local diner, the sports bar, the mall chain restaurant—you name it. I'm a stickler for nacho construction and absolutely loathe the thought of a dry chip sliding out from the bottom of the pile. Soggy chips that fell victim to an overload of refried beans or cheese? Nope. Worst of all are crumbs. I have a mouth and not a vacuum, thank you very much.
Candente's brisket nachos start with extra-thick and large corn tortilla chips that can withstand all the toppings and sauces. And those toppings include Pit Room brisket, crema, melty cheese, refried beans, pickled onions, and cilantro. At the very least you'll get beans, cheese, and brisket on a chip, but they're so big that you're bound to get plenty more. The chip holds together and snaps when you bite it.
The alchemy of savory, fatty beef with tangy cheese, salty beans, and crunchy chips is hard to compare. I didn't miss the usual nacho fare like tomatoes and olives—having them here would've only detracted from the experience.
I've only tried the brisket nachos once, but the dish has already blasted toward the top of my all-time nacho rankings. I may need another taste or two to verify its spot—ugh, if I have to ...