I'm not one to turn down a free meal, so when I received an invitation to the Chuy's Monday night pre-open I replied in the affirmative.
Before going, I scanned through the Chuy's website and learned that each restaurant prepares the chili sauces fresh, and that they use peppers from Texas and New Mexico, including the now famous, Hatch chili peppers.
Okay, now I'm ready.
Monday night: I ordered the Southwest enchilida dinner. That's a chicken enchilida with a spicy-hot, green sauce, and served with a fried egg on top. It was Deeeelicious. Marian had the chicken enchilada with a less spicy, green tomatillo sauce. I tasted the sauce from her dish. Again, very good. Both plates come with beans and rice.
The chips were light, the way I like them, and served hot and lightly salted. We ordered guacamole for an appetizer (hey, it was free) and I am happy to say that it, too, was good. It needed a little salt, and maybe some more chopped onions, cilantro, and peppers, but the avocado was fresh.
Chuy's salsa is pico-de-gallo-like and was my least favorite item. I prefer the more spicy-hot, but sweet, tomato-based salsa (think old, old El Chico's). That being said, Mexican salsa, like Italian spaghetti sauce, is very much a regional and family thing. As long as it's fresh I am happy. And it was.
Prices were in the $8 - $14 range, fairly priced. The portions: huge. If those are the normal portions, no one will walk away hungry from a $9 enchilada dinner. I did not have any of their hand made tortillas. My mistake.
The building layout, its design, and atmosphere are all fitting a new, mid-size chain of restaurants. It's a colorful, funky blend of the Southwest, Mexico, and Texas. I liked it.
Monday night's mood was festive, the restaurant was very busy, and everything seemed to be working well. I predict that this 7th Street location with its mid-range prices and Chuy's style of Mexican food will stay busy for a long time.
The biggest compliment I can give the Chuy's on 7th is this: I will be returning for that southwest enchilada dinner plate. It was very good.
Chuy's, the company, has been around a long time. They started in Austin in the early 80's, found success, and move outward from there. They now have about 25 restaurants, mostly in Texas, but also a few in the southwest USA. I think this restaurant is a nice addition to 7th Street.
FAQ: What do you post if you don't like a "special invitation" dinner, considering it is free?
I won't post anything at first, I return for a paid meal and then post my opinion, good or bad. For more information see: Policies