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Chips and Giggles

Homer Murray makes jokes, kick-ass nachos
Homer Murray's Nachos
Photos & Video: Dave Katz/Tasting Table

"Just 'duh.' You ever had a nacho? Not bad, right?"

That would be Homer Murray, the rambunctious chef of Brooklyn's River Styx, expounding on what makes nachos so awesome.

"Nachos can be anything to anyone," Murray continues, dancing a little bit as he swirls tortilla triangles around in bubbling hot oil.

His version, which has been on the River Styx menu since before day one ("We had a friends and family, and the only thing people liked was the nachos," he jokes), might be the best we've ever had (see the recipe).

That's because, despite Murray's nonchalance, they're made very carefully with close attention to every crunchy, gooey, cheesy detail: Just-fried tortilla chips are hot and heavily salted. His queso, which could easily pass for the movie theater "cheese" that's pumped out of giant vats, is a thick, oozy combination of American cheese, heavy cream, hot sauce and pickled jalapeños. The chicken is braised in ancho chile-laced beer before Murray shreds it. The crema? Spiked with a little mayo and lime. A smattering of crisp radish slices, jalapeños, fresh cilantro and chopped chives, and Murray's nachos are finally ready to go.

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"There's so many different flavors," Murray says. "You can start just getting a chip with some cheese on it, then you can cruise to the radish area, then make your way to the jalapeño zone. When you get it all together, ding dong, baby, it's on."

"There's not a lot to say," he continues. "They're goddamn nachos!"

He's right. And besides, our mouths are full anyway.

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