Last visit: August 2013
Mi Chula's opened right around the time I started this blog, but maybe surprising to you all, this ended up being our first visit here. The reason I'd held off was because of the fact that I knew it was related to Uncle Julio's, and figured it was just a "fast casual" variation of the same restaurant. Now we like Uncle Julio's, even though I haven't added it to this blog yet - primarily because it's been many a year since we last dined there. And, quite frankly, there are better options out there. And more or less, our presumption was correct: Mi Chula's is a quick service, order-at-the-counter, limited menu version of Uncle Julio's. In a nutshell, Mi Chula's is to Uncle Julio's what Pei Wei is to PF Changs. And, perhaps not surprisingly, they are located very close to one another - literally across the street. In reading articles from around 2008 or so, it's apparent from the beginning they were hoping to clone and franchise the concept for fast growth. But other than one opening in Plano, which has since shut down, Mi Chula's exists solely at this one location in Southlake.
We happened to be in the area, and decided to give it a try out of convenience. And... we loved it. Go figure. I'm a big fan of New Mexico styled red enchiladas, and so I tried one of those with chicken, and had a ground beef enchilada with chile con carne. Mrs. RJG went with one enchilada verde, and we both had the rice and borracho beans. Everything was excellent. I love their red chile sauce, and the seasoning of the chicken, which clearly happened before they were rolled into the tortilla. The verde is an excellent tomatillo sauce, not too bitter or sour as it sometimes can be. The Mexican rice was full, fluffy, and tasty. Perhaps the borracho beans were a bit of a disappointment, a bit too much lard for my liking. Mrs. RJG enjoyed it more than I.
Prior to our meal, of course, were the chips and salsa which are brought to your table after you order. The chips are the extra thin kind you get at the major chains like Chili's. It's OK, but I prefer a bit more thickness so they don't break in the salsa bowl (plus I prefer the real corn taste of homemade chips). Their basic red sauce is a roasted chile, and is really good. They do offer a hotter sauce if you ask, and out came this very fine green tomatillo. Definitely more fiery, and had a splendid taste.
I also went for a frozen margarita, which was really quite good - not too sweet as they sometimes can be.
Prices are about what you would pay at a full service restaurant (minus service costs of course), and the food does come out quick if that's what you're looking for.
We were very pleasantly surprised at the overall quality. We'll definitely be returning. I would say, however, it serves better as a lunch option than dinner.