Chuy’s, best Tex-Mex in town

Food & Drink, General, H-town

In my family, we go to Chuy’s for nachos. Actually, I should say that we go to Chuy’s when someone else in my family has a craving for their nachos. Usually it’s my sister. She always orders the Panchos (nachos with chicken), and always gets them without jalapenos. And I vex her repeatedly with my refusal to order them myself. If I’m feeling especially vexing I order the vegetarian enchiladas (made with chunks of zucchini), though I actually do that because it’s a really great dish.

Considered to be one of the best Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston (by me and many others), this restaurant chain got its start in Austin. They do a great job of incorporating Hatch Green Chiles into the menu in everything from sauces to sides to entrees. In fact, they have an annual Hatch Green Chile Festival with a limited-time menu… sometime over the summer. I have a friend who invites me to accompany her during that week, every year.

While Chuy’s does a great job with Tex-Mex cuisine, you can’t call all of their menu “traditional Tex-Mex.” The differences are seen immediately when you are given some creamy jalapeno sauce with your chips. And let me warn you that it’s truly addicting stuff. Several of the dishes are accompanied by green chile rice. Some of the dishes include blue corn tortillas. They offer baja tacos made of shrimp or fish (“baja” tacos are usually tempura-fried and topped with cabbage and some sort of sauce). They also offer special dishes such as the Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken — a chicken breast covered in potato chips, deep fried and covered in green chile sauce and cheddar cheese.

I recommend the nachos in all their variations. While I don’t order them any more, I often steal at least one or two from my sister’s plate and I can understand why she never ventures from her favorite dish.

The chicken tortilla soup is exceptional and the bowl will be more than enough as a meal.

If you’re venturing to the enchiladas, the Chuy’s Special Enchiladas is a good choice. They’re filled with chicken and covered in a tangy tomatillo sauce that bursts with flavor without quite reaching spicy.

The Veggie Enchiladas are also a good choice, but lately I’ve found the Ranchero Sauce a bit overwhelming. I like them because of the large chunks of zucchini and squash, cooked but still crunchy. A good idea is to ask for the tomatillo sauce instead.

The dish I order, almost every time I visit, is the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo. It’s a lot of food and very typical Tex-Mex: beef enchilada, cheese enchilada, chicken tomatillo enchilada, crispy beef taco, and a cheese tostada accompanied by beans and rice. All the crispy items are crispy without being greasy. All the enchiladas have unique and distinctive flavors. And, the test for all Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, the beans and rice are actually good. It’s enough food for two people. I always have leftovers to take home.

In addition to the food, Chuy’s is also well-known for its Elvis decor. I’ve included some pics below, but you really need to experience it for yourself. The glitz and theme are so overdone it’s actually cute.

If you haven’t experienced Chuy’s yet, you need to add it to your list. However, the Westheimer location (in River Oaks) is the best-known, the one I reviewed, and the one that gets so busy that parking becomes an issue. You’ve been warned.

The Food

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“Side” items for the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo.
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Creamy jalapeno sauce and chips.
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Chiles rellenos.

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Comida deluxe.
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Baja shrimp tacos.
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Panchos.
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Chuy’s special enchiladas.

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The Decor

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— Posted by Sandra Fernandez

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