Readers' Choice: Benny's Restaurante y Tequila Bar
It's papadum, not tortillas, and the salsa isn't a cruda or a fresca, but a spicy-sweet tomato chutney. And it's served in a Tibetan/Nepalese restaurant, not a storefront dive on Federal. Still, the chips and salsa at Sherpa's Adventurers Restaurant are deserving of not only this prize, but many others. For starters, they're free; there's been a disturbing trend lately of some places charging for their chips and salsa, which, in our world, is tantamount to a dive bar charging for bowls of stale pretzels. Second, they're good. The papadum are crisp, light and nutty, and the broken-up pieces fill a generous-sized basket; the salsa is smoky-hot, complex in flavor, and layered with an underlying sweetness that makes it absolutely addictive. And third, the world is changing. So let Sherpa's award be the clarion call. Cuisines are no longer as distinct and insular as they once were, and those Mexican joints that used to be the sole purveyors of the chips, salsa and three-beer lunch are now in contention with comers from around the globe.