I want to start out by describing to you the long term love affair that I've had with Chuy's. The first time I ever entered a Chuy's was in Austin, Texas; I was visiting my brother and in order for us to find a table more smoothly, we put our names down for several different Tex-Mex restaurants and then ate in the one who called us first. It was not, unfortunately, Chuy's. At the time I was working at a pizza restaurant in Waco called Rosati's; the man who hired me, Danny Brown, left shortly after started work and became an opening manager for Chuy's. I assume he left Rosati's because of his severe regret at his last hiring decision, and knew that it was something he'd regret the rest of his life. Thanks to his belief in my success, I'm currently working in my third pizza job. He came to Houston a little before I did, and my freshman year I was required to tour a restaurant and interview it's GM and write a paper. As he was the only person I knew in this big city, I called him and can now tell you that 25% of Chuy's food revenue comes from alcohol, and 33% of their refrigerator space is filled with more liquor than I have ever seen before. Had ever seen before. (Then I turned 21 and started frequenting the Spec's on Louisiana; truly, mine eyes have been opened.) The first time I ever ATE at a Chuy's was in Waco, at a birthday party; the circle was complete. After all the teasing, the putting of my name on the waiting list, the touring of the kitchen, the watching of the preparation of the refried beans (they had an Asian lady making their refried beans; I know, it was weird), I'd finally eaten their food. I loved it.
This past Thursday, however, I went to eat at the Chuy's in River Oaks and I have to admit to you guys that it wasn't the best experience of my life. The problem, of course, was the reason I was there: my professor had assigned the class the task of writing a restaurant review. -9000 Dr. Titz was asking me to review a restaurant, any restaurant of my choice. At first I was excited. As you guys know, I'm an expert at writing restaurant reviews. But then I started looking at the assignment criteria. He didn't ask a single thing about the decor! Nothing about the cute signs they have by the patio about how you can't bring your dogs inside. Nothing about the security guard posted in the parking lot, who smiled and nodded at me and looked very serious in his uniform. It was all supposed to be based on "procedural and convivial factors." Are you kidding me? I haven't considered the procedural or convivial factors of ANY restaurant since I started this blog! And you know something? They weren't great! Our server spilled Thomas's queso on the floor next to our table, narrowly missing my leopard print pumps, and barely even seemed to notice. He never brought me the additional salsa that I requested. After our dishes were removed from the table, he didn't even ask if we wanted dessert, he just dropped the check! He never even smiled at me once! Guuuuys! It was awful. But really it was awful because I never even would have noticed this sort of thing if I hadn't been required to by my assignment. No salsa? Who cares, I probably didn't need the carbs and definitely didn't need the sodium associated with the half shaker of salt I would have added. The queso spilled? No biggie, my shoes were spared, and it's not like they were my new nude pumps with the pink roses on them. And I never eat the salsa in restaurants anyway! Basically this whole assignment just ruined my life, is what I'm trying to say to you.
I'm going to try and rally for you, though. I'm going to try to express to you what a happy place Chuy's normally is.
The important thing about Chuy's is that it is the only thing on earth who's love for Elvis rivals my grandmother's. You open the front door to Chuy's, the very first thing you are confronted with is a shrine to Elvis himself. All Chuy's have certain different aspects of their decor, the one I toured has a ceiling completely covered in baskets, which was wacky and fun, though I can't help but believe spider infested, but they all have this one element, the Elvis shrine. +18 The one on River Oaks features a really creepy Elvis head, which I love; just imagine if you were a burglar, trying to get into Chuy's in the night. The whole store would be dark and you'd finally jimmy the lock and get through the front door and there, floating before you, the disembodied head of Elvis. +23! it's the best anti-burglary system ever installed and I'm thinking of putting one in my apartment, just to be safe, not that I have any valuables at all, just to let you know, potential burglars.
To let all of you who were worried about my missing salsa incident know, they actually have a salsa bar inside one of their multiple dining rooms. This is good because in case your server forgets about you, you can take care of yourself, but also because they have queso inside the salsa bar!! +81! Everybody charges extra for queso, but apparently not Chuy's! They just leave it hanging around for anybody to have that wants it! But it's even better than that, everyone. This salsa bar? Is located in the trunk of half of a powder blue Cadillac. +30 It's even better than having a good server, honestly. Why didn't Dr. Titz's review form have a question about this??
And finally, I want to share with you my favorite feature of the dining room I was seated in: a TV, playing the image of a fire crackling in a brick hearth. (The brick hearth was around the TV, just to clarify; the TV only showed the image of the fire.) Instantly the restaurant seemed warmer and more "convivial", to steal a phrase from Dr. Titz! It transformed a routine assignment completion date into an actual romantic evening! Thanks, Chuy's, for your help!
Look guys I know there's a moral in here somewhere but I'm not going to spoon feed it to you. All I'm saying is maybe Dr. Titz should spend a little more time reading my blog and a little less time coming up with mean homework assignments.