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.