Bill and I flew from Chicago to Austin on April 6, arriving at dinner time–el perfecto! Bob and Debbie picked us up at the airport and took us straight for a Tex-Mex infusion. Stat! (Although we could have found local Tex-Mex and BBQ at the airport, that’s beside the point.)
I recently saw Chuy’s on a list of over-rated Austin restaurants, and I get some of the reasoning. Chuy’s is very popular in the way that makes it crazy busy. Flashing coaster busy. Chuy’s is a chain, albeit a local chain that started in Austin several decades ago. Chuy’s is undeniably not the most authentic taco joint in Austin.
But Chuy’s is an institution that is still worth a visit. Chuy’s food is consistently good. That steak in the steak burrito is why we eat cows. The boom boom sauce is spicy and luscious. The bright, fresh flavors in the green chile rice stand up to the rich entrees. (I usually consider rice superfluous on a Tex-Mex plate.) The jalapeno ranch is delicious and drinkable.
More importantly, Chuy’s updates its menu every year during the green chile festival. All Chuy’s dishes are identifiably Chuy’s, just as all Chuy’s restaurants have the Chuy’s quirk. Maybe Chuy-Mex & Quirk are starting to feel a bit manufactured to some (and the franchising across the South has required Chuy’s to be packaged, no doubt), but as long as Chuy’s delivers on taste (and super service I should add), I’ll keep flying across the Atlantic to eat there. Austin has a dizzying array of Tex-Mex and Interior Mexican dining options, and we all should try all of them! (Check out Taco Journalism for suggestions.) But, pick a time when the wait is less than 20 minutes, and go to Chuy’s.
Bill and I are featured here with the Steak Burrito with Green Chile Sauce and the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom enchiladas, respectively.