Ugh. Chevys. Steve and I made a grave error related to this dinner. We used to go to Chevys for happy hour at the Embarcadero Center location, back when the happy hour was a really good deal. It’d been a while since we’d done that though, and I guess Steve had forgotten that Chevys kind of sucks and he was really excited to go to the Chevys on Van Ness for happy hour. So excited in fact, that he couldn’t wait and we ended up at the Embarcadero Center spot before a movie (it actually ended up being the last day that location was open). And we were disappointed. Because Chevys food and service are both not very good. But we had already planned to go to the Van Ness location before going to a City Arts and Lectures show, and plans cannot be broken.
We sat in the bar so we could take advantage of the happy hour deals. It was pretty packed; there was a large group of white-collar types who were, by evidence of their matching t-shirts, on a softball team together. It’s loud in the bar, but not terribly so, and it’s nice and sunny, so at least there’s that. The service was terrible, as expected, but we eventually got chips and salsa and put in drink orders.
Chips and salsa are pretty solid at Chevys. The chips are made there so they’re fresh and the salsa has nice roasty toasty bits. There can be an odd bitter/sour flavor to the chips sometimes, but mostly I don’t mind it. These are the high point of a meal at this dump.
If I remember correctly, the happy hour deal for food is half off most of their appetizers. Not the fancy ones. Not the guacamole. So we ordered two un-fancy appetizers and a salad (you gotta splurge a little bit). Our drinks came. Steve had an Original margarita on the rocks. I had a mango margarita.
I was surprised that it was pretty tasty. In the past I’ve found Chevys’ margaritas to be either too sweet or too sour or just too weird tasting. This one had a well-rounded flavor and tasted like real mango, instead of bizarro chemical mango. Later I had a michelada, which was awful, so the balance of things was put back to rights.
Our salad, the Santa Fe chopped. Eh. It was bland, in spite of the bacon and roasted corn and peppers, the grilled chicken was dry and the dressing was sweet and watery. Yuck.
These red chile pork taquitos? These were actually really good. Crispy pork bits on the ends, soft innards, nicely chewy wrappers, deep chile flavor; it all came together like wow oh wow. I don’t why, but in the past I’ve been kind of anti-taquito, I’ve avoided them because I think of them as all crunchy taco outside with no filling. I’ve changed my tune after having awesome rolled tacos in San Diego and the new daily special taquitos at Olivo’s. And now even Chevys has proven me wrong. I’m pro-taquito all the way now.
These fajita nachos changed my mind too, unfortunately (or fortunately you could say) they were changing my mind about me loving fajita nachos. Fajita nachos had been my standby at Chevys, they’re hard to mess up, pile some beans, meat and cheese on individual chips, how could it be bad? We got a mix of steak and chicken, and all the meat was dry as dust. For whatever reason, the cheese was flavorless, excepting the flavor of grease, which is a flavor I’d like to except from my life. The guacamole, which could have saved these, was pretty lackluster.
So a big “meh” for Chevys. No surprises there. It’s not a terrible place for happy hour if you stick with the taquitos and the less adventurous margarita flavors, but otherwise it’s overpriced and shitty. Plus, you’re in San Francisco! Go somewhere else for Mexican food or you’re a tool.
Chevys Fresh Mex
590 Van Ness