Syrian Nachos

For 18-months of my life I lived in New Bedford, MA. Located on the south coast of the state, the city is known as the historic capital of American whaling and famously as the starting point of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Today, the scallop fishery dominates the local economy, and provides diners with a bounty of delicious bay scallops.

I arrived in the city expecting good seafood, and was never disappointed. Unexpected were the unique nachos at Freestone’s City Grill (located at 41 Williams Street). Dubbed Syrian Nachos, these are a local favorite and unquestionably Freestone’s finest invention. The New York Times urged visitors not to miss them when the 36 Hours series hit New Bedford, and it is not uncommon to see groups order one plate per punter.

Strictly speaking, the syrian nacho is not a nacho. More of a glorified pita pizza. Syrian flat bread is slathered with a spicy tomato paste, topped with cheese and bunged under the salamander. The result is a roughly 12-inch diameter pie of bubbling perfection. Over the crisp base, the cheese and tomato paste merge beautifully and offer a mild kick. The lone accompaniment, sour cream, nicely tempers the bite and the sharpness of the cheese.

There a quite a few people who’ve claimed that Freestone’s offers the best nacho they’ve ever eaten. A bold statement, to be sure, yet the unusual nature of the product and its sublime simplicity certainly yield a very high mark. Again, the only strike against the dish is that, well, are they really nachos? I guess, when push comes to shove, it’s that kind of question that drives us as NACHO HUNTERS.

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5 thoughts on “Syrian Nachos

  1. Nachohunter, I found your site while googling the recipe for syrian nachos. I haven’t been to Freestone’s in years, and what I’ve read today makes me disinclined to now that I’m in New Beige for a visit, but I must tell you that what you described are NOT the syrian nachos everyone remembers eating at Freestone’s.

    Back in the day, syrian nachos were made of wedges of pita bread that had been soaked in a mixture of olive oil and spices, then baked and topped with cheese, and served with ramekins of sour cream and a chili-sauce kind of salsa for dipping the nachos. They were awesome, and it wasn’t uncommon for people to order more than one plate because they were just SO GOOD!

    Sorry you missed the real thing–it truly was a tasty treasure!

  2. Wait!!!!! Has Freestone’s changed it’s nacho recipe. I moved to Texas from New Bedford 21 years ago, but I return to visit family once a year. last summer, they were still the same as they were when I frequented Freestones in my early 20’s (I’m now 50).

  3. Hello, I am a New Bedford native (really Dartmouth), and I can assure you that the Syrian Nachos remain a Freestone’s culinary delight. Their recipe has not changed; they’re still served w/ sour cream and a type of chili sauce. By the way have you ever tried their Apple Crisp and Carrot Cake… yum!

  4. Our grand son loves Freestones Nachos. He is communing to dinner tomorrow night and we hope to make some for him as we just ate there the other night.. Love them. Jmkb

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