By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com
A new chain restaurant popped up in Little Rock, Arkansas recently and the sign outside identifies it as Chuy’s. I first heard about Chuy’s at a local pet store where they were passing out appetizer coupons to anyone who had their dog’s picture taken (to later be put around the bar area.) It’s a nice touch and I know the buzz helped me to hear about the place at least!
The interior of Chuy’s is as loud as the exterior with rooms full of hub-caps, a bar with hundreds of dog photos, and crowded spaces for the patrons. If you are looking for a open, relaxing place to go, it may not be your ideal destination. The food matches most Tex-Mex restaurants with the usual suspects ranging from fajitas, to enchiladas, to burritos, and well known appetizers such as cheese dip.
After a 45-minute wait at 1:30pm on a Sunday we sat down in a booth in the aforementioned hub-cap room. One order of obligatory cheese-dip later and I perused the menu. The menu claims the fajitas are marinated for 24 hours prior to cooking and I want to put them to the test. All too often fajitas are bland and boring and 24 hours should be enough to inject flavor into anything. Others at my table order the chicken quesadilla (plain with cheese only) and the chicken taco salad. I also ask for a bowl of their hatch green-chili sauce to go with my fajitas as it is the hottest they offer.
The cheese dip is of the yellow variety and pairs well with the supplied chips. It is not as creamy as the white variety, but is thick enough to stick. Although it tastes okay, you would be much better off ordering queso from Local Lime down the road.
The food eventually comes out, taking a little longer than usual, but it’s hot and looks good. My fajitas sit atop several sizzling vegetables and the tortillas on the side are fresh and fluffy. I pair a few slices of meat with veggies, sour cream, cheese, and the hatch-green-chili sauce on a fajita and go at it. The meat is not tender enough to get a bite without pulling it out of the tortilla, but it tastes okay. It is not bland, but it is not very flavorful either. Luckily, the hatch-green-chili adds some flavor, but it is not spicy. I am guessing they have kept their food on the “cool” side to appeal to the majority of people but I do wish they would offer spicy food, especially when their menu says it is spicy! The owners should take a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings if they want to experience a chain restaurant with a few spicy sauces.
Overall the food is average. It’s not the best in the world and it’s not the worst either. I personally am not in a hurry to return but I can see it as a place to go on a lazy Saturday afternoon (before/after the crowd gets there.)