Taco Chulo

21 July 2010 by Lee Frank Category: reviews
Tagged: , ,   9 Comments

On a muggy Saturday night, I headed to Williamsburg for a birthday party with time to kill so with Nozomi, I went to Taco Chulo on Grand Street. When we got there, she said we couldn’t eat nachos because we didn’t have cameras with us. Fortunately, I didn’t let that stop me. We took out our smart brilliant phones and ate nachos.

We looked at the menu and saw Nachos Classicos and Nachos Chulos. Nachos Chulos had chile con queso (cheese sauce), which is usually a no-no, but it had the name of the restaurant in it, so we chose it. We also ordered margaritas, fish tacos and the Chulo Bowl. Our nachos came soon.

Normally, we hate cheese sauce, it’s true. But this time, I accepted it. In this case, it was delicious. Garnished with radishes and cilantro, the chos had pickled jalapeños, refried pinto beans, guacamole, crema, and pico de gallo. The chips were crispy and the “chile con queso” was cheesey and a little spicy. The guac was fresh and tasty and the tomatoes added a nice color to the plate. We tore through these and would gladly do it again.

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  • PQ said:

    I find it strange that you have a blog dedicated to nachos, and yet claim to be one of the unenlightened that don’t like cheese sauce.

    On nachos, cheese sauce is superior to real cheese, because it stays fluid. Regular cheese will always congeal before you get halfway through your nachos (an usually before it gets to your table). This means that many chips will have no cheese, and some chips will get more cheese than is necessary.

    The only time that real cheese works on a a nacho is when you have individually dressed chips. That is, you lay down an orderly layer of chips, and add cheese and other toppings one by one to each chip. Then you bake it.

    I think that many people will go down your path of thinking that real cheese is superior to sauce due to the quality (actual or just perceived) of the ingredients. Then there is the association of cheese sauce to 24 hour gas stations and high school football games.

    I remember when I lived in NYC and how hard it was to find cheese sauce. I don’t have the same enthusiasm for nachos, as what you seem to, so I simply made my own rather than seek stuff out. Anyhow, I applaud your dedication, but I sincerely hope you reconsider your stance on the great cheese vs cheese sauce debate. Also, if you are ever in Los Angeles, be sure to go to Carnitas Michoacan. This is where I had my epiphany regarding cheese sauce and quality nachos.

  • Heather D said:

    Cheese sauce is an important part of Tex Mex food & I think its pretty awesome, but also there are Mexican soft cheeses that are “real” that could work well on Nachos. Nothing beats real cheese, but Velveeta & Rotel defitely have a place in my heart.

  • lee (author) said:

    @PQ “Cheese Sauce” and Queso are different things and I admit that we’re not huge fans of either. The cheese sauce you’ll find in a majority of restaurants are reminiscent of cheese. We’ve written about it before. If it comes in a can, I’m not a fan. That said, a queso can be good, given that there is cheese involved. Still I vote for the real thing.

    You bring up the question of orderly laying down chips and putting cheese on them, I don’t see what the issue is with that. If nachos are to be delicious there should be dedication to the cause, delicious nachos.

    If someone makes a good product, like Taco Chulo did, we appreciate it. We appreciated these nachos.

  • Jennie A said:

    i fuckin love cheese sauce.

    and i agree with PQ: cheese sauce is fluid and can cover all the chips. its like multi-tasking, only easier.

    @ Heather D: velveeta will always be a high-ranking official to me, too.

  • sofia said:

    Cheese sauce has its own purpose – Sunday afternoon football, seven-layer dip, stadium food – but at a restaurant where I’m paying for a meal, and maybe a little bit of ambiance (of the Mexican restaurant variety), I expect something better. It’s a question of quality for me, and I strongly believe that in places like NYC and California, the quality Mexican cheeses (or just plain old real cheddar) is readily available, so why not use it?

    Also, regarding the uneven cheese spread on each chip, I think that’s one of the joys of nachos, especially sharing nachos: finding that perfect chip. I’d prefer a bit of imbalance of ingredients over a pile of tortilla chips drenched in a somewhat foul-smelling “cheese” sauce.

  • rawksavvy said:

    there’s a time and a place for cheese sauce (ball games, stoner sunday afternoons — stoner whenever, really — come to mind). i will always vote for real cheese over it, but sometimes you crave the queso. nothin’ wrong with that; it’s just not “authentic,” in my mind (unless you’re adhering to a tex-mex palate. lordy, it’s popular down there).

  • Jenny said:

    Hell yeah, cheese sauce!

  • Leigh Ann Dufurrena said:

    Cheese sauce has it’s place: sporting events and concerts, 7-11, and any well-used crockpot. However, keep cheese sauce away from real foods like cilantro and fresh vegetables. In my opinion, the two just do not mix!

  • MIKIE said:

    I agree with PQ … even tho the stuff is so bad for ya … It’s sooooo good !!

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