Maybe it was the lime green snakeskin vinyl bench as well as the schools of wooden fish suspended from the ceiling of the lobby of Chuy’s Tex-Mex restaurant on Gunbarrel Road that made it happen. Or it might have been the Elvis tributes dotting the room, including a real shrine and paintings on the walls of celebrities dressed as Elvis from different periods of his life. Or maybe it was the display of chuys hours, themed with cheeky pop-culture references like “Finding Chuy” (with a fish), “Chattanooga Chuy” (with a vintage locomotive) or “PikaChuy: Gotta Eat ’em All” (with a fish popping out of a Poké Ball). Whatever it absolutely was, it took my 9-year-old around three minutes flat to provide me his verdict of this newly opened restaurant: “This place is fun.”
His instinct was spot-on, as our kids of four proceeded to possess a delicious meal with stellar service in a kitschy space that screamed “happy times.”
The food? We had barely gotten settled within our booth when our server, whose name tag indicated we must call him “Jon Snow,” stopped at our table with a basket of warm, crispy chips with bowls of salsa and the restaurant’s signature Creamy Jalapeno sauce. The salsa was filled with mashed chunks of tomato and onion and, even though it packed a good level of heat, the new tomato flavor is what really shone through. I used to be impressed at first bite.
The jalapeno sauce was surprisingly milder compared to the salsa. The creamy sauce tasted like a homemade ranch dressing pureed with cilantro and lime juice with chunks of green chilies and jalapeno. I needed to fight my children off for a few bites, which was shocking for something with all the word “jalapeno” within the name.
When Jon stopped to refill our chips and discover when we were prepared to order, he gave us the scoop on the menu, emphasizing the restaurant’s commitment to serving the freshest food with the highest-quality ingredients. The meats are grass-fed and non-GMO, and nothing nevertheless the fried potatoes and soft ice cream is ever frozen. Each of the salsas and sauces are prepared fresh daily, and diners are encouraged to swap them in the market to customize their meals.
The menu is really as extensive, with appetizers ($7-$10), salads and soups ($5-$10), burritos ($9-$11), enchiladas ($9-$11), house specialties ($9-$10.50), tacos ($8.50-$10.50), fajitas ($13.50-$14.50) and combination plates ($7-$11.50).
To sample a wider number of items, we started off with the Appetizer Plate, which included the essential Chile Con Queso, Nachos, two Deluxe Quesadillas, several Chicken Flautas and guacamole.
The queso was quite good, with its mixture of melted cheese and Green Chile Sauce and Ranchero Sauce. It enjoyed a sweet heat but wasn’t too spicy. It’s far more interesting than the basic white cheese and jalapeno dip you discover at more traditional Mexican restaurants.
Chuy’s doesn’t offer call-ahead seating or reservations, so plan accordingly. Our server was clearly very busy having a full section, but we never felt rushed. Jon was patient with the indecision, chatty however, not overwhelming, gave helpful suggestions ogywhf answered all of our questions such as a man who genuinely knew every item on the menu. He was kind and attentive to the squirrelly kids, and refilled my husband’s drink every time before it had been empty. He was easily one of the better servers I’ve ever encountered.
Family dinners out are a rare treat, so it’s important to locate a destination using a menu that appeals to a picky eater’s palate in addition to satisfies a parent or gaurdian who appreciates a quality meal. Using its fun, funky vibe and food that is a solid step above ordinary, chuy is the best pick to impress the masses.