I'm bracing myself for some hate mail.
My two best friends like these two restaurants and so I tag along for reunions. My strongest impression at Chuy's was the ridiculous fish-shaped sopapillas. Seriously. Why the heck would anyone make fish-shaped sopapillas?!?!?! If they were any good, I wouldn't complain, but they were half-ass attempts at sopapillas. The dough was tough and tasteless. I don't care if Tex-Mex is supposed to be different from Mexican. If you call something a sopapilla, it better be a sopapilla and not a gigantic gold fish. I didn't bother taking a photo of it.
Let's start with the good at Chuy's and the little sister, Hula Hut (instead of Tex-Mex, it's Mexonesian). The queso compuesto and jalepeno ranch dip are addictive. If I order anything again at either places, these will be it. Chuy's serves the queso compuesto with ground beef while Hula Hut serves it with fajita meat. It's good enough to lure me back as much as I oppose the establishments.
Chuy's Queso Compuesto and Jalepeno Ranch Dip; Hula Hut Queso Compuesto
On to the bad. Nothing on the menu ever appeals to me so I order what everyone else at the table orders-Chuy's Chuychanga and Hula Hut's Pipeline Enchilada. Gigantic portions of just stuff. I get tired of putting one forkful after another of the same Tex-Mex flavor and texture in my mouth. Here's the glob of melted cheese and sauce, there's the chunk of meat and sauce, ah here's the glob of cheese and sauce again, and the meat and sauce, ah some rice and beans to mix things up a bit...oh wait...here's the sauce again. Boy I barely made a dent on that Chuychanga/Pipeline Enchilada.
Chuychanga-fried tortilla with chicken, cheese, cilantro and green chiles; Beef Fajita Pipeline Enchilada-fajita steak with monterey jack and cheddar cheese in a guajillo sauce