Well played, Mill Bistro, well played.
It’s a well known fact that any dish in need of improvement is a dish in need of pulled pork. Gone are the days when dehydrated beef and chicken scraps were the norm, and here to stay is a new era of refreshing meat bits.
The Mill obviously knows this best with their offering of an added pulled pork feature to their Mill Nachos.
The official kick-off to my Great Nacho Quest, Saturday night found me at The Mill hunched over a fat heaping platter of nachos.
Located on the stunning Coal Harbour waterfront, this bistro with a spacious patio and emphasis on seafood and comfort, is a popular summertime destination. Often overlooked in the colder months, it can be a lot like dining in your own private restaurant come Autumn.
As any responsible tortilla glutton will tell you, a chilled refreshing beer is the only way to chase your chips. Of course, any alcoholic beverage will do the job, but there’s something nostalgically special about the beer and nacho combo – a combo that says to people, “I’m just a small town girl, living in a lonely world. I took the midnight train. Straight into a pile of nachos.”
Armed with a cold Kronenbourg blanc, I’m ready to take on this challenge.
Any remarkable nacho platter can be judged on the basis of 5 key categories:
In the midst of composing myself for the upcoming feast, I catch a glimpse of my chips and all rational thought goes out the window. Even from a distance, I can see these nachos rank high on our first category.
Size – Big. Huge. Massive. One happy camper – I’ve no complaints here, top marks for sizing. These can easily feed three as a meal, and more than that as an appetizer. 9/10
Chip – Satisfying crunch, nice corn taste with a hint of sweet, and not burnt. A solid chip it is. 8/10
Toppings – Plentiful and quality. Cheese, juicy pulled pork with a nice sweet kick, olives, green onions, jalapeños – hip hip hooray. 8.5/10
Layering – The Mill’s achilles heel, therein lay its deadly weakness.
The key to any decent plate of nachos is in its layering. Upon devouring of first layer, I uncovered the second layer only to reveal minimal melted cheese. Dilemma. 6/10
Condiments – Solid marks here. House made salsa and guacamole, as well as sour cream. Salsa and guac was fresh and when combined with jalapeños, added a zing to each chip. 8/10
Final Score = 7.9/10
Any decent discussion of nachos should also include a mention of the nacho nucleus. What is a nacho nucleus you ask? As a scientific concept, it can be hard to grasp but bear with me because it is important.
Basically, nacho nucleus is a reference to the interconnecting of cheese and while it is often in the middle of the heap, note that this is not a requirement. It is the location of the most chips, cheese, and toppings in the dish and when lifted, affects all other chips present.
Nacho nucleus tonight was located to the left and under the generous serving of condiments, was quite impressive. A daunting experience to risk nacho nucleus destruction, the best method for me tonight was to begin at the fringes and work my way in.
Filled to the brim with tortilla, would I return?
These nachos ain’t cheap, but yes. At almost $30 for tonight’s serving, once the pork and guac is factored in, it’s a tough blow to the wallet, but justifiable once taken into consideration its size, quality of toppings, and even location.
Even despite their flaw in layering, and fatal flaw it is, I found it in my heart and belly to look past this detail on the basis of their strong rankings in all other categories.
The Mill might have gotten away with it this time, but make no mistake – skip a layer of my cheese, and you can be sure I’ll be skipping more than that next time.