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Not So Average Nachos

Photos by Matt Haas

December 2015

My fiancé and I consider ourselves nacho connoisseurs. We’ve scoured the city in search of the tastiest take on the Mexican mainstay, and if there’s a nacho dish on the menu, it’s likely we’ve tried it. Local restaurants are reinventing the dish’s flavor profile, often focusing on a distinctive protein, and leading contenders include versions topped with barbecue pulled pork or buffalo chicken. But time and time again, we find ourselves returning to Balzac, the European-inspired wine bar and small plates eatery located just north of Brady Street, to indulge in our top pick — the restaurant’s duck nachos.

Balzac’s general manager and head chef, Rebecca Berkshire, says the dish was originally developed by the restaurant’s owner, Leslie Montemurro. "We braise whole duck from Maple Leaf Farms in lots of wine and aromatics until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender," Berkshire explains. "The cheese component of the dish is comprised of some Wisconsin-made Swiss and mozzarella cheeses along with a good old processed pepperjack to help keep them melted as you eat them." House-made corn chips, pico de gallo, scallion creme and bacon crumbles complete the plate.

The proof of the dish’s success is evident in its tremendous popularity with diners. "I can say that we sold nearly 6,000 orders of duck nachos in 2014," says Berkshire. 1716 N. Arlington Place, (414) 755-0099,


This story ran in the December 2015 issue of: