Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
Let me start this week’s spotlight with a little Lionel Ritchie: ”We’re going to party, karamu, fiesta, forever … all night long!”
I can’t think of a more fitting song to introduce the electrifying Mexican restaurant that’s taking Indy by storm. With a location in the Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville and the newest location in Carmel (10325 N. Michigan Road), Chuy’s is bringing fresh Tex-Mex and a downright good ol’ time to the Hoosier state. The original Chuy’s got its humble beginning in Austin, Texas all the way back in 1982, and the franchise has been booming ever since with numerous locations in nineteen states and counting.
When you first set foot through the front door, it’s like you’re walking into a fiesta. The lively décor is bright and full of energy and enthusiasm. Don’t think that Chuy’s is a cookie-cutter chain either. As they like to say: “If you’ve seen one Chuy’s, you’ve seen one Chuy’s.” The Carmel location has an amazing outdoor patio, an Elvis Shrine (uh huh), incredible hubcap art, and, of course, wooden fish swimming throughout the bar area. They even have a Nacho Car where they pop the trunk on weekdays from 4 p.m. -7 p.m. and fill it with free chips, salsa, queso, and other goodies. If that wasn’t enough, Chuy’s will trade you a free appetizer for a framed picture of your dog to hang at the bar. If you’re not excited by now, you might want to see a specialist about that.
Now let’s move on to my favorite thing about Chuy’s — the food! Everything that comes out of the kitchen at Chuy’s is made from scratch and always fresh and never frozen. Their produce is delivered fresh every day to maximize the flavor of their dishes and signature sauces. They also have tortilla experts on site to hand roll tortillas all day long from their house-made dough. The menu is loaded with traditional Tex-Mex favorites such as burritos, tacos, and enchiladas; but they also have a number of house specialties that are sure to wake up your taste buds. With all of this great food, I’m guessing you might need a recommendation or four. Well, since you asked, here are my “can’t miss” items from the Chuy’s menu:
Steak Burrito: The burritos at Chuy’s are famous for being “big as yo’ face” and the steak burrito is king. This mammoth is bursting at the seams with huge chunks of mouth-watering grilled steak and cheese. They start with a twelve inch flour tortilla and jam as much steak and cheese inside as they possibly can, then they ladle on spicy Green Hatch Chile sauce for some added flavor and kick. This beauty is a feast in and of itself, but make sure you leave room for the green chile rice and charro beans. One thing is for sure, you’re gonna have to bring you’re A game to finish this one off.
Chile Rellenos: The literal translation here is “stuffed chile”, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Chuy’s uses a fresh Anaheim pepper that is blanched and fire-roasted before being stuffed full of goodness and then battered and fried to a golden brown. What goes inside the chile is entirely up to you: choose from cheese, seasoned ground sirloin, oven-roasted chicken, or my personal fave shrimp & cheese. The finished product is drizzled with sour cream and then you’re ready to indulge.
Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom: If you don’t already love this dish just from the name alone, just wait until you sink your teeth into it. This is an Enchilada dish, but before we get there, let me tell you about the chicken at Chuy’s. Fresh (never frozen) whole chickens are roasted in house every day and then the white meat is gently pulled by hand. These big chunks of chicken are the foundation of a lot of the menu items at Chuy’s. The chicken is then combined with cheese and packed into homemade corn tortillas and then smothered in Boom-Boom sauce. What is Boom-Boom sauce, you ask? Well, it’s a sauce that is made with cheese, roasted New Mexican green chiles, tomatillos, green onions, cilantro and lime juice. Mouthwatering, right?
Baja Tacos: Last, but definitely not least, we head over to the Taco section of the menu for some scrumptious seafood tacos. Your choice of fried or grilled fish or shrimp is nestled into one of the freshly made flour tortillas and then topped with cilantro, red cabbage, and Creamy Jalapeno sauce. Let me give you a tip: ask for a bowl of the Creamy Jalapeno with your chips and then thank me later. The Baja tacos are fresh and full of flavor!