Nachos are the friendliest of shareable foods, inviting everyone to the party with familiarity and craveability in every scoop. Taking cues from the loaded fries movement, chefs are turning to nachos for fun, creative menu offerings that interpret trending flavor systems and key into their brands’ personalities. Next-level nachos serve up a fan favorite while offering a low-cost carrier primed for clever upgrades.
They also help translate a trending flavor while keeping it in the comfort zone. Butter chicken might sound a little too exotic as an entrée, but entices as butter chicken nachos, combining a bed of crisp tortilla chips with curried chicken, scallions and spiced yogurt.
Party Fowl in Nashville expands on its hot chicken them with Hot Chicken Nachos: Tortilla chips, hot chicken, white beans, cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, jalapeño, lettuce and sour cream.
Chefs can also explore the Eastern Med trend with a shawarma or gyro nachos, adding harissa spiked garlicky yogurt, for instance. Samurai Burrito, a Japanese fusion restaurant in Fountain Valley, Calif., menus Sushi Nachos, chips topped with raw fish, sesame seeds, wasabi mayo and togarashi.
“Nachos are a dish that many consumers are familiar with, so using that as a base is a great way to introduce diners to unique flavor combinations,” says Amanda Topper, associate director of foodservice research at Mintel.
“With the popularity of fusion cuisine, operators have the opportunity to incorporate international components to this dish. The pickled and spicy elements of nachos are primed for experimentation. Instead of pickled jalapeño, include kimchi, or use a gochujang hot sauce instead of salsa.”
3 Ways to Nacho
Fried Chicken Nachos: Fried chicken, pimento cheese, tortilla chips, lime crema, corn pico de gallo and candied jalapeño
—Honey Butter, Chicago
Lamb Keema Papadi Nachos: Spicy lamb keema, papadi chips, tamarind chutney, Provel cheese and cucumber-tomato kachumbar
—Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Nashville, Tenn.
Kimchi Nachos: Chicken, bacon, kimchi, scallions, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, Sriracha aïoli and sour cream
—Komodo, Venice, Calif.