Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chuyos is worth stopping for

I don't know if Alison Cook was being tongue in cheek when she wrote this, or simply innocent: 

"Suddenly I was looking for excuses to set out along the Gulf Freeway for League City, where this mom-and-pop Peruvian spot has opened, somewhat improbably, in a strip mall on the Kemah end of the main drag." 

Actually it's solidly in League City a short distance past Clear Creek High, and some would argue that Marina Bay Drive isn't really the main drag, but we'll forgive her for that stuff.  And judging by those imprecisions, her comments may have represented more of an innocent framing, rather than a veiled reference to League City's reputation as a place people drive through on their way to somewhere else.

She was talking about Chuyos, the "Peruvian fusion" place.
2500 Marina Bay Drive.  If driving northbound, it's probably most convenient to get to it via turning onto Constellation and then reversing direction back out.
The menu that is posted on the web link given above is a one-page PDF that appears to be limited to lunch offerings.  We went for dinner last night, and the relevant things to know are that most dinner entrees are priced as either $9.99 or $10.99, and the proprietors supply photographs of each dish to better communicate what your ordering options are.

Speaking of photographs...
This is THE absolute worst photo form on my part, because I'd already taken a few bites before snapping the photo, thus totally ruining the presentation.  But I didn't realize in advance that it would be worth taking a picture of, so there's my lame excuse.

This is the dish called "beef seco".  Beef in a spiced sauce that was heavy on its cilantro base, with beans and rice.  All fresh home-made. 

Here's one way to gauge the quality of a restaurant: you can eat the pinto beans without getting "digestive upset" afterward.  A good chef knows how to prepare beans to avoid that kind of thing, but it's a longer more involved labor process and most restaurants cut corners and simply do not make the extra effort. 
This was really good food, the type of stuff that many would call "comfort food", albeit with the obvious ethnic twist.  Actual food that is quite obviously home-made from scratch, rather than being franchise fodder hauled out of a freezer, incinerated, dressed up with greasy "smotherings", and served up as a mass-produced excuse for something you're supposed to actually pay for.  The latter being what is almost exclusively available in the suburbs, of course. 

So here's my suggestion: For all the folks who are inclined to diss the suburbs for being homogeneous cultural wastelands, get out there and patronize a family micro-businesses such as this, because it's destination-worthy, just like Ms. Cook claimed
I had to partially redeem my own awful photo above, so here is a screengrab of another dish from this gallery.  My husband and daughter both had this one, and it was also very good.

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