Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chuy's Mexican Restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee; My dining experience

When I reviewed Chuy's Mexican Restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee the restaurant was bustling with activity. Our wait for a table was about 30 minutes at Chuy's. It's a long wait for a Knoxville eatery to have on a Monday night. It made sense when I found out that we arrived during happy hour.

The wait gave me time to take in the unusual Chuy's Tex-Mex decor. Right by the door is the Elvis shrine that helped put the restaurant on the map. My mom would have gotten a kick out of it. I still remember her blue, Moody Blue album. But, I digress.

Elvis shrine at Chuy's
The decor is eclectic. In our room, the ceiling was decorated with hub caps. They were polished to a high gloss and added to the uniqueness of the room. The hubcaps and bright colors give this Chuy's a festive atmosphere.

It also has a loud atmosphere. Of the Knoxville eateries that I've been in, this is definitely the loudest. Hubby and I were reduced to almost shouting at each other to be heard. I have to wonder if this fed into the lackluster service that we received.

Before we talk about the crappy service let me tell you about the food. Hubby and I both ended up with burritos and each of these were in a different sauce. We also ordered a queso dip.
The queso was good and pretty typical for the Mexican restaurants in Knoxville. However; the burritos were very large, came with rice and the salad and pico that you see here. (Never mind that we both asked them to hold the pico but at least you can see the full meal.)

Chuy's has several different types of sauces that you can choose from. When I ordered the mild sauce, the server said that it was usually served to children. So be it, I ordered the sauce anyway and was glad. It was flavorful without being too spicy. To me, it had just the right amount of heat without overpowering the dish.

Hubby enjoyed the creamy jalapeno sauce. It seemed to be a mix of ranch dressing and jalapenos. He said that it had a moderate amount of heat and liked it.

The fajita beef burritos were stuffed full with chunks of beef. I was told that Chuy's seasons them with beer, serrano peppers and lime juice along with the fajita seasonings. The result was a savory burrito that would be worth a return trip.

My burrito at Chuy's in Knoxville, TN
Poor customer service at Chuy's in Knoxville almost eliminated fun of the dining out. The server was knowledgeable about the dishes but that was almost the only thing that was right. Problems started with the pico an slid downhill from there. When the error was pointed out, the runner didn't offer to take it back despite me telling him that it was a food allergy.

After waiting several minutes for the server we finally gave up. Hubby scraped it off and I just didn't eat that portion of the burrito. When she did come by the server's response was to say that she was glad that we fixed it and started to fill my iced tea glass with water. I gently reminded her that it was supposed to be iced tea.

A little while later she came back by with water and the check. I reminded her about the iced tea and asked how long Chuy's restaurant has been open. She didn't know and got the manager. When he came by, he apologized and said that he didn't know but that he would get another manager who could help. Really??

While we were talking with manager number two the server came by with water (again). I reminded her that it was supposed to be iced tea. She took the check and said that she would be back. It only took her a few minutes to return with my credit card and the water.
Chuy's receipt.
I said something to the manager. (After all, he was standing right there when she filled the glass!)  He kept telling me all about Chuy's Tex-Mex in Knoxville. They've been open over three months, make food fresh daily and it's a great company to work for. Tortillas are constantly being made by the Hispanic women that you see behind the glass.

That's all well and good but he never acknowledged the iced tea issue. Frankly, the restaurant is so very loud that I'm not sure he heard me! I'm glad that he could answer my original question but it would have been nice to have had and acknowledgement on the customer service issues.

Dinner was a reasonable $26 dollars and the food was good but it isn't enough to overcome the icky service that we received. My review on La Palma de Oro tells you why we'll ignore Chuy's in Knoxville and head over there instead.