Wherever you are reading this right now, find a good sized rock and heave it in a direction of your choosing. Now apologize, there is a 26.7% chance you just hit a family style Mexican restaurant. The West End is thick with them. We’ve been to eleven in the past two years and there are still a handful outstanding. So what kind of place would get my co-blogger, co-worker and co-friend so excited?
Chuy’s, a franchise that’s shadow recently fell over our river city. A place Ethan and his wife had fond memories of from their time in Austin. Richmond’s Chuy’s just opened up in Short Pump near Whole Foods. It is new construction, but you can’t tell from the interior. The decor plays on the edge of overly eclectic, but it balances its velvet Elvis paintings and aged wood pastel walls masterfully. It’s strong, but creates a fun atmosphere that we really enjoyed. There was a bit of a wait the day we went (15 minutes), but Chuy’s offers self serve salsa and chips in their bar. When we were seated, it was crowded, but the servers were prompt and friendly.
Ethan went with the Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom enchilada, a side green chile rice and a bonus Crispy Taco. The enchilada’s Boom-Boom sauce, comprised of green chiles and tomatillos, had a great flavor and mixed well with the rice. The taco was constructed from a fresh made tortillas shell (note: you can see them being made) that was delicious, but sadly the contents it delivered were forgettable. I had the Chile Rellenos in a green chile sauce, a side of Mexican rice and refried beans. The rellenos came in three varieties, but I went with the oven-roasted chicken and cheese. The chiles were deep fried and huge. The protein inside was juicy and well seasoned. The crispy exterior played well with soft interior and created a delightful texture. The Mexican rice was just OK, a bit dry actually. Next time I would get the green chile rice Ethan enjoyed so much.
Chuy’s was a big big hit for us. A fun experience from the decor to the food. Even waiting to be seated, chips in hand, was a good time. It is not the local hole in the wall, but as franchises go, it feels unique. This not the haunted house at the county fair with cracks of sun light peeking through its walls. Chuy’s is grade A, uncut quality, Disney level stuff. They are at the top of their game and it shows. Earning them a spot in our Hall of Fame.