It’s not difficult to make a good plate of nachos. But a great plate of nachos requires skill. Chefs Dennis Spina and Homer Murray of Brooklyn’s River Styx have proved their nacho prowess with their much-lauded plate of house-made tortilla chips, gooey stadium-style cheese, braised chicken and silky crema. It’s a piece of cheesy, crispy, alcohol-absorbing art—a dish that straddles some heretofore undiscovered line between precise haute cuisine and sloppy bar food. Here, the chefs share their expert nacho knowledge.
The worst tortillas make the best chips. “A tortilla that you would never want to make a taco out of that’s dry and weird and crumbly—when it’s fried, it turns into the best chip,” says Murray. “It’s handy for everybody because that way you don’t have lousy tacos and you get good tortilla chips.”
Nachos should turn into soup. “After 10 or 15 minutes you want your nachos to congeal and make the ultimate nacho—crispy on the outside, gooey in the middle,” says Spina. “And then you want it to turn into a soup,” says Murray. “It’s the evolution of the nacho.”