The about-to-be-just-opened new Chuy's Westchase at 9350 Westheimer was loud and busy Monday night as service staff tried to get their timing down before the public opening on Tuesday.
Full marks had to go to the wait staff -- besides our lead waiter Wesley who hustled, bustled and got us our food and drinks in good order -- there was a veritable pantheon of waiters and bus boys with cameo roles. We spilled our water and a platoon of soothing helpers appeared out of nowhere to wisk it away. We needed a couple to-go boxes; we ended up with six.
The location used to be home to a super buffet and before that a couple of seafood restaurants, manager Kyle Bowen told us as he took us on a quick tour. But Chuy's is certain this location won't be one of those restaurant death traps for it, thanks to one secret ingredient:
The secret ingredient? Population growth. On one side of Westheimer there are $500/month apartment dwellers, Bowen says. On the other, homeowners with half-a-million-dollar homes. All want a good restaurant, he says. In fact he's already got reaction from some neighbors, one of whom told him: "Good, finally a restaurant that will stay here."
Bowen has been with Chuy's for 16 years, 10 at its River Oaks location. This restaurant has a (usual) hubcap room and a patio room with garage doors that'll be opened up when the heat lessens a bit. There's a basket room with Mexican baskets hanging from the ceiling. And a pescado, or fish, room.
As for the food: We started out with the Panchos special nachos, which, along with the $3 margarita special (for any brand of tequila), is the way more dining nights should begin.
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From there we moved on to Chuy's Special (blue corn tortillas with chicken, cheese, tomatillos sauce and sour cream). The Chuy's Special was great, made distinctive by its green sauce. Alas, the rice that accompanied it was pretty run-of-the-mill and the charro beans were a little mushy and heavily coated in a thick sauce for our taste.
The Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom (two chicken and cheese enchiladas with Boom-Boom sauce) was very good - again, mainly because of the sauce. And the green chile rice that accompanied it was more distinctive than the rice with Chuy's Special.
Most of the meal prices were in the $8 to $10 range, with the appetizers coming in a bit under that. Our advice: Make sure you get the nachos and keep alert for those margarita specials nights.