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Nov 3, 2007 10:47 AM

Dragged Kickin and Hollerin Into Chuy's on North Lamar

I feel like the Marquis in front of the tribunal.I expect the Host to have a long pointed nose and be wearing a steel helmet.
I expect the multitude of culinary sufferings to be of the kind that will make me grieve with an intensity heretofore unimagined.

These are my thoughts as I walk the walk of Chowhound shame...the walk that ends with the doors of Chuys being swung open and the very bowels of culinary Hell flayed open for all to see.

I can hear MPH's deep mocking laughter in my head as I'm seated.Not a good harbinger by any stretch.

I'm here unwillingly so I order the most innoccuous thing I can think of:Queso,small and a Bohemia.The Queso arrives in a small monkey cup with a basket of chips and two salsas:One red and one white with lots of green flecks.The chips are the highlight of the meal[along with the service which is both charming and rapid].House fried thin corn chips with a touch of corny flavor.The red salsa is bad but the white salsa is worse.The red's main problem is the only flavor is a disagreeable vinegary note.On second thought it really reminds me of when lime juice spoils.It's good one day and the next the lime is done.My guess is they used spoiled limes in the production process.The white salsa is spoiled.It's a sour cream base and I love sour cream and all it's iterations:Crema,Creme Fraiche,table cream,clabbered name it.If it comes from a good Guernsey or Holstein Cow then I'm down.But this salsa needs to be carted out to the dumpster.It's rancid.The Queso is the classic Extra Melt version available all over town with the exception of this version being scorched...not burnt mind you,scorched.It's inedible but the good part is I'm stuffed.When you eat food this bad you fill up real quick.

Later in the evening following a show I needed to soothe my tattered taste buds with some goodness.So it's off to Saul's on East 6th St in the Primo's parking lot.It took a good half hour or so to get fed because the word has finally gotten out.If you need Hog Testicles[and who doesn't?]or Pig Ear tacos then this tiny food cart is the place to be.I've written before about these beauties[Chowhound Assignment:Go A Place Never Reviewed On This Board]and the words still ring true.This is straight up Mexican Soul Food served from the heart of Blanca,a very fine Mexican cook.

I'm sure the Chuy's apologists are firing up the laptops and channeling Evelyn Wood as they send me all their favorite Chuy's menu items."you haven't lived til you've had their.......".I'm not interested.I'm sure there are many fine dishes on their menu but I'm not returning.With all the fantastic Mexican and Tex-Mex in Austin I don't have the time,money or energy to pay Chuys a return visit.

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  1. We were up there last night looking for Marisco's Tampico - I must have gotten the directions wrong because I couldn't find it. As we were driving by Chuy's, I said to my wife "don't even think about it." She laughed because she knows that I hate it. We went to T&S instead and had salted egg w/pork mustard green soup, some wonderfully huge, meaty oysters (I think that they were called San Diego oysters - one shell was over four inches by three inches) and S&P fish instead.

    I love north Lamar restaurants - I find myself going up there again and again. Next, it is going to be that Mojarra place where Ba Le was.

    Oh, and you haven't lived until you are awakened at 3 AM with gastrointestinal duress from a Chuy's avocado bomb.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rudeboy

      You've probably figured out the location of Marisco's Tampico by now, rudeboy, but I'll note (just in case) that the north location is between Rundberg and Braker at 10601 North Lamar. On my way to Pho Saigon and Saigon Market yesterday, I checked out both MT North and La Mojarra Feliz Ostioneria [which is next door to Pho Saigon, for those who don't know].

      And scrumptious, your purgatory at Chuy's would elicit some shudders of compassion from this 'hound in addition to that fiendish laughter that you imagined. After all, it could have been me—or any one of us. The horror! The horror! ;->

    2. Chuy's sucks. If you say otherwise, your opinion is null and void on this board for eternity. :-P

      That "white salsa" is ranch dressing with mild jalapeños diced up in it. It was the house dressing until some frat boy decided to use it as salsa and it caught on like a venereal disease.

      2 Replies
      1. re: achtungpv

        I love their fajitias with the fresh tortillas, queso and jalapeno ranch sauce!!!

        Everything else is just ok.

        1. re: achtungpv

          Speak for yourself, achtungpv

          Chuy's isn't THAT bad.

        2. I still have a gift certificate from Chuy's given to me five years ago by an apartment owner who wanted to compensate me for the inconvenience of a remodel he was doing. Not even the prospect of free Chuy's is enticing enough to drive me to that degree of self-flagellation.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Twill

            Well, I'd go if it were free. I actually like their hamburgers and wedge-cut fries. Want my mailing address?

            1. re: rudeboy

              Thanks Rudeboy, I am probably one of the very few Texans who does not like Mexican food. Once it gets past the chips and salsa, I just don't care for it. I usually look for the hamburgers and you'd be surprised how good the hamburgers are at Mexican restaurants. I sometimes get wired in with the work group to go to Chuy's for lunch. Now I can look forward to it.

              1. re: Meshelle

                I actually was at the Chuy's for a Dining for Life group dinner. (I was outvoted.) I was hungry waiting for a table to open up for such a large group so I tried the sauces and it was exactly how sc discribed them. When the food came, the waitress gave me my Chuychanga, leaving the last plate balanced on one side of the tray to go crashing to the ground and spraying our feet with food and shards of glass. We had management come over and I actually felt bad for our server because it was clear she was visibly shook up afterwards.

                1. re: QTG

                  Well, if you find yourself in that position again, order the wedge cut fries, but order them extra crispy. You have to insist that the server will actually place the order properly...sometimes they will just nod and they are not crispy. When they do come out properly prepared, they are very, very good. Besides those fries, the burger, and the green chili stew, the food is almost as bad as Serrano's or El Mercado. But not quite that bad.....

          2. I'm in a contrary mood today, so I'll go ahead and post this. This is for those of you all who would be caught dead in Chuy's.
            Not only is there something good at Chuy's, it's a menu item eschewed by chowhounds. That's right, the kids' menu chicken nuggets (or is it chicken fingers?) are good. I ordered some for my toddler on my last visit there (about 2 months ago) and they were actual chicken, deep-fried. Which is what most chicken nuggets/fingers purport to be, but are not. I kept stealing them from my kid, who wasn't going to eat that much anyway, and they were far better than my whatever-covered-in-green-sauce.
            Please disregard all my posts now, I've confessed to liking something from the kids' menu at Chuy's.

            1 Reply
            1. good lord. it's just another popular tex-mex place... why so much hatred? the regular salsa is about the most basic salsa you can make (tomato, onion, cilantro, lime, garlic, etc.). i find it tastes just fine... not good, not bad, just middle of the road. and the creamy jalapeno is just ranch dressing (not sour cream) with green chilies and jalapenos. do you hate ranch all together? do you hate peppers? i don't see how this could possibly be so offensive.

              i'll agree with you on one thing... the queso. it is consistently burned and never worth a damn.

              now i'm just an average joe with a paasion for food, which is why i read this here board. i won't claim to have the most descerning palate or the most excuisite tastes in cuisine, but i think anyone could have an agreeable time at chuy's if they take the time to dismount their culinary high horse.

              i could go on to name my favorite items off their menu, but i'll refrain as that seems an exercise in futility. just my two cents :-)

              1 Reply
              1. re: dwohlfahrt

                If you have 1 or 2 of their Mexican Martinis the food doesn't taste as bad.

                The drinks are good and strong.