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May 07/13

Little Rock’s first Chuy’s opens today Posted by: Melissa Tucker | 0 Comments

The first Arkansas location of the Chuy’s chain — pronounced “chewies” — opens up today in west Little Rock at the corner of Chenal and Kanis. Do you need an address? Nah. Coming from 630 on Chenal, look to your left for the large neon pink building. If you miss it, pull over and contact your optometrist immediately. Chuy’s is a Tex-Mex place with elements of a ’50s diner. One room has shiny hubcaps covering every square inch of the ceiling. Pictures of old cars and celebrities like Elvis line the walls. The servers wear T-shirts with slogans like “Kiss Me, I’m Mexican” and “Practice Safe Mex.”

The hubcaps on the ceiling and vintage car artwork at Chuy’s.

We attended a Monday night preview of the restaurant, which also served as a fundraiser for Camp Aldersgate. The menu at Chuy’s is huge but not surprising. The establishment really sets itself apart with its array of sauces, which can be matched with just about any dish for a customized meal. Servers will typically let customers have a sample of the sauces before they commit to the one that will top their enchilada or burrito, and they range from a creamy jalapeno — which is very much like ranch dressing — to a spicy hatch green chili to the standard Tex-Mex red sauce.

The restaurant is particularly proud of the “Boom-Boom Sauce” made with cheese, tomatillos, green chiles, green onions, cilantro and lime juice. It’s creamy and spicy, and would be perfect on just about any dish. It’s a $1 upcharge if you pick it. It’s also pretty tasty with chips. Like most Mexican joints, you’ll start out with the standard salsa, which is pretty kicky at Chuy’s. It’s chunky like pico de gallo, with no fear of jalapenos. Now, keep scrolling for more photos and info about the specific items we tried.

The Queso Compuesto ($6.99) with seasoned ground sirloin, pico de gallo and guacamole. Thick and creamy, but salt was the predominant flavor. Not a bad queso, just not very nuanced.

The fresh-tasting brothy tortilla soup had chunks of chicken, cheese, avocado, celery and carrots. It was topped with tomatoes, tortilla strips and cilantro. It had plenty of flavor, but no heat. This is a small size ($3.99).

The taco and enchilada combo plate with the red Tex-Mex sauce, even though I ordered hatch green chile. It included a cheese enchilada and a beef taco. I ordered refried beans and green chile rice. Overall, not bad. The red sauce had a predominately chili powder flavor, and it was fairly mild. My companion ordered charro beans, and those were much better — a slightly sweet pinto bean mixture that was much tastier than this standard refried variety. The green chile rice was a step above regular old Mexican rice. Chuy’s is not going to rock your taste buds, but you’ll have so much food, you won’t have much to complain about. And it’s fun to mix and match sauces, so why not go?

 


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