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5 reasons to cheer the new Chuy's

Posted 3:56pm on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010

Five things we like at the new Chuy's

Yes, the crowds are intimidating at the new Chuy's, which opened at So7 in Fort Worth on Tuesday. And the whole parking thing leaves something to be desired. But Chuy's offers enough for us to get over all that. Here's what we're enjoying so far.

1. Green chiles: Hooray! Here are Hatch green chile-infused dishes that are as good as those in New Mexico. The Southwestern enchiladas are true to those we love from Santa Fe to Alamogordo, the style featuring stacked blue corn tortillas layered with pulled chicken breast, cheeses and freshly roasted green chile sauce, topped with a fried egg (which was cooked precisely the way we asked).

2. Elvis lives! The original Chuy's in Austin launched the paying-homage-to-the-King deal long ago, and it remains fun in a goofy way. There's a shrine to E - best seen from the second floor - and a dish named Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken that stars a juicy chicken breast, crusted in crushed Lay's potato chips, fried and then smothered in that same fabulous green chile sauce (see above). It's good enough to put the peanut-butter-and-banana jokes to rest forever.

3. Salads: You can eat healthy food at Chuy's and not feel like you're missing out. Our Mexi-Cobb salad was exceptional, with plentiful cubed, grilled chicken breast, freshly chopped, roasted green chiles, cheese, avocado and tomato atop a big bed of crisp salad greens. We had creamy jalapeno and cilantro vinaigrette dressings on the side for a bit of judicious dipping.

4. Drinking: Yes, the Bush Twins made the margaritas at Chuy's famous all those years ago, but we're partial to the Texas Martini. That's a big shaken cocktail made with Sauza's Giro tequila, Patron Citronge, fresh lime juice and a jalapeno-stuffed olive. And what could be wrong with that?

5. Good service: While we've been known to rail against chains, we often cut slack to those that are relatively local (how can you not like a Mexican food place out of Austin?) and we always admit that these places are where you'll usually find a staff that's been properly trained. This is true especially of Chuy's, where every employee we had contact with on opening day seemed to know what the heck they were supposed to be doing, and they seemed happy to be doing it. And that makes for a pleasant experience.

Just be prepared to deal with a crush of patrons. Bring your patience, along with your appetite - and don't worry about the parking. It won't kill you to walk a few blocks after a big supper, right?

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