Chuy’s

Cuisine: Tex-mex
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Ana says…

The bottom line: Save your money. Seriously.

Maria and I usually don’t write about chain restaurants but like the foodies that we are we each went during separate times to try the new kid on the block. When I went to Chuy’s for the first time I didn’t go with the intention of writing a review. I was there with friends (one who is a fan of the Chuy’s restaurants in Austin) on a Sunday morning. Our service and food there were so subpar that I just couldn’t keep this experience to myself.

The moment that super greasy tortilla chips were set down on the table I should have known that what to expect from the rest of the meal. It is all not doom and gloom, I did like the decor. And my side of beans. See I can find the silver lining of the cloudiness that was my experience at Chuy’s in Charlotte. Upon entering the restaurant you will find different rooms with very eclectic, colorful, and fun decor. There are lots of visuals to keep you entertained as you wait for your food. They also have a patio by a fountain. And bees, lots of them, that will pester you as you try to eat. Ok, to be fair that’s probably not a regular problem but it was an annoyance while I was there.

One of the reasons that I just wasn’t happy with my experience at Chuy’s was the service. No it is not acceptable to serve chips that are so drowned in grease that they are soggy. Somewhere along the process of picking the chips up, making the trek outside to our table, and setting them down the waitress should have realized that this was not acceptable. I debated whether to say anything. I don’t like being that pain in the butt but after the waitress took our order I did mention it and she brought a new basket but left the other two greasy baskets on the table. She mentioned that the manager was going to do something about it but that moment never materialized during our time there. The waitress also didn’t feel it was necessary to bring us napkins. And they also didn’t bother to really pay attention to what everyone at the table ordered. Our dishes were brought out and were simply yelled out for their owner to claim.

My meal was ok. I had the one of the enchilada dishes, Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom. This dish is pulled chicken and cheese with a ‘boom-boom’ sauce that is made with cheese, green chiles, tomatillos, green onions and cilantro lime juice. I expected it to have more flavor. Frankly, I will tell you that there are more inspired dishes out there to try at many, many other places. The highlight of my meal were the charro beans, they are made with brown beans, were flavorful and lighter than refried beans.

Will I be back to Chuy’s? Honestly, I don’t know. I hate writing off a place based on one bad experience but others have reported less than stellar experiences there. It’s not my usual type of place anyway.

Maria says…

The bottom line: Not impressed…and I love Tex-Mex food!

Although I thoroughly enjoy bringing to you good news about amazing places we discover to go out to eat at I also find it my duty to talk about those that don’t quite necessarily cut it for me. Sadly Chuy’s falls into that category.

About a week ago I went to Chuy’s to have lunch with two other friends. I was really looking forward to this lunch because Tex-Mex is one of my favorite food to try (as if you haven’t noticed already!) and because we were going to be able to catch up after a long hiatus. In reality I have a love-hate relationship with Tex-Mex for various reasons. However, any chance I get to try a new place I jump at the opportunity. Luckily, when I go somewhere new I don’t have high expectations in regards to their food. It is better to be pleasantly surprised than to be extremely disappointed. In the case of Chuy’s I am glad I took this approach.

Like Ana, to start off I was disappointed in the chips. I am a huge chips and salsa eater. My meal can consist of chips and salsa anytime. At Chuy’s I have to say that the chips do leave a lot to be desired. I don’t think mine were as greasy as hers however they were not what I would expect to have at a more than casual restaurant. The chips were up to par to those found at places like Salsarita’s, Moe’s, and such. Not that there is anything wrong with them per say but if I wanted slightly crispy cold chips then that’s where I would go instead (and don’t get me wrong, I love me some Moe’s!). The next thing that turned me off about Chuy’s was the napkin situation. Basically there is only one napkin per person. I don’t see this being as much of a problem if they were cloth napkins but these were paper. We expressed our need to the waiter for more napkins and it took some time to get them to us. To me the solution is simple, add a napkin dispenser to the table.

For my meal I also had the Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom (great minds think alike huh?) Overall, I thought this enchilada was decent. Here are the two things I would complain about: the saltiness of the dish and the level of spiciness. I’ll start with the spiciness because I do like spicy food. However, I think this dish had a high degree of spiciness that prevented me from fully tasting the flavor of the ingredients. I think it would also be a good idea for the restaurant to have a guide that shows how spicy their dishes are. It actually was the waiter who warned me about it but I think this is highly subjective as the degree to which a person can handle spicy food depends on what they like so it varies from person to person. The food was also a bit salty. More poignantly it was the pulled chicken that was salty. I tasted each component of the dish individually so that I could pin point it and it came down to that. Extra spicy plus salty is really a bad combination that does not make for a very happy foodie! I was able to try their steak burrito and it seems to me that this was a better option to go with.

Service wise I think that there is room for improvement as well. The only good comment I have to say about my visit to Chuy’s is regarding their Mango Margarita. It was the frozen kind and was actually quite delicious…to the point that I had 2! It was a refreshing, had a mango flavor, and was not light in alcohol. Margarita wise I give Chuy’s a passing mark. But in the grand scheme of things what can you conclude from a restaurant where your drink was the best part? :/ I don’t know if I’ll be back but it’s close to home so I might give it another try just to make sure I am not committing any injustices here.

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