The bar at Nashville’s Bastion restaurant offers plenty of cocktails and beer, but there’s just one item on the food menu: nachos. Served with or without meat, they’re a local legend, piled high with bold-flavored toppings like housemade tomatillo salsa and warm queso. Why nachos? The chef, Josh Habinger, has a theory that no one puts enough love into this dish. “We wanted to do one thing, and do it right,” he says.
Courtesy Josh Habiger, chef, Bastion, Nashville
- 12–16 ounces tortilla chips
- 1 3–4 pound rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup grated American cheese
- 1 cup Bastion Queso (recipe follows), warm
- ½ cup pickled jalapeño slices
- ½ cup pickled red onions
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- 2 radishes, sliced thin
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 1 cup Raw Tomatillo Salsa (recipe follows), for serving
Heat oven to 400˚F.
Arrange half of chips on rimmed baking sheet. Scatter half of chicken atop chips, then sprinkle half of American cheese over chicken. Top with second layer of chips, chicken and cheese. Bake until cheese has melted, about 5–7 minutes.
Remove nachos from oven. Pour queso over chips. Arrange remaining ingredients over chips, except salsa. Serve tomatillo salsa on side and/or drizzled over chips. Serves 6–8.
In large saucepan, combine ½ cup milk, ½ cup beer and 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño brine. Warm over medium-high heat until simmering. Whisk in ½ pound shredded Velveeta until sauce is melted and glossy. Keep warm until ready to use. Makes 1 cup.
Use blender to purée 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, washed and quartered, ¼ cup diced white onion, 1 chopped jalapeño and 1 chopped garlic clove. Transfer to bowl. Stir in salt and sugar, to taste. Refrigerated, salsa will keep up to 3 days. Makes 2 cups.
Tecate, a Mexican lager, is the classic go-to pairing, says Bastion’s wine director, Alex Burch. “At Bastion, we serve it three ways: naked, with a lime or ‘dressed up,’ ” he says. The latter of which is all about the details: a chili salt rim and lime wedge, with Cholula hot sauce poured on top of the can.
Burch suggests a Riesling like Peter Lauer’s 2019 Barrel X. “It has bristling acidity and citrus notes that can hang with a squeeze of lime and the tang of the pickled onions and jalapeños,” he says. “It also has just a smidge of sugar to mellow the spice of the nachos.”