It’s all about the salt. Or the lack thereof.
Stick with me, here.
When you go out to any restaurant, what’s the first thing you normally do when you get your food? You salt it, often before you’ve even tasted the appetizer. Don’t fret, I’m guilty of the exact same thing. I know I like my food saltier than the average bear, so I just dive right in with the grainy mana from heaven, so to speak.
Except for Jimmy Changa’s, that is. Situated just south of the I-10 Freeway at Westgreen, this Tex-Mex Katy newbie offers a large patio, a children’s play area, free ice cream for the monkeys (however old those monkeys may be), ample seating and a good-sized bar as well as a separate takeout area for those not staying for the excellent service.
First things first, though, with a mea culpa: I’ve been to this restaurant like 10 times since they opened, and Every. Single. Time. I’ve had a good experience, even when it was just take-out. I kept saying, “I better write that review,” and yet somehow I never got around to it. So here’s the review I’ve been promising William (one of the managers, and a great one) for like six months.
Here’s the TL/DR for those who’ve run out of patience:
Jimmy Changa’s in Katy has excellent food and great service for a reasonable price, and their green sauce is good enough to eat with a spoon. Not that I would do that… again.
I’ve eaten a lot of stuff from their menu, but my favorite has to be the Bad Daddy Chimi – a “giant flour tortilla stuffed with fajita beef & cheese, lightly fried, smothered in queso, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream & avocado-ranch — refried beans & Spanish rice.”
It’s like… well, I’ve had it more than 60% of the time I’ve been to the restaurant, and not just because I’m uncomfortable with change. It’s delicious. Tonight, I decided to venture outside my comfort zone a bit and try something new, though:
GUACAMOLE FRESCO (starter)
fresh avocados blended with spices, onions, cilantro & topped with queso fresco
rotisserie ranchero-chicken enchilada, two taquitos, rotisserie ranchero-chicken tostada — avocado-ranch
And, because it had been a long, long day at that point, I had 2 “Changa Ritas” on the rocks with salt: sauza 100 años tequila reposado, premium liqueur, Tropicana® orange juice & lime juice.
I was surprised how many people were there on a Sunday night, but the wait was only 20-25 minutes. For one person, it seemed kinda long, but the hostess mentioned I was free to take a bar table that’s first come, first served. There’s no smoking in the restaurant, which is a huge plus for me, and so I decided to hedge my bets by taking a buzzer and waiting for a bar table. The bar came open first, and I swooped down on that clearing table before the seat was cold, like some sort of avenging Mexican-food-loving angel (or demon, depending on whom you talk to).
I’ve either been very lucky every time I’ve had table service at Jimmy Changa’s, or they hire some excellent wait staff. I’m leaning toward the latter, because each time has been an enjoyable service experience, and this from someone who knows whereof he speaks (as my waistline can testify). Tonight I was helped by Anthony, who struck that ever-elusive balance between being there when I needed a refill and not leaving me feeling like he was dining with me, like some servers.
I ordered quickly, after refusing the red sauce (because it would just be wasted on me, since the green sauce is JUST THAT GOOD). The starter was super-quick, and the entrée came out in two sections, with the tostada and other cooler items first, followed shortly by the warm items (taquitos, black beans, and enchilada). It was a LOT of food, y’all. Your friendly neighborhood Hitchhiker had to get a to-go box, which almost never happens.
Here’s where the salt thing comes in – as in, I didn’t use any. Not one jot, not one tittle. Okay, I used some on the chips, but nothing on the entrée or starter. It was delicious, and had no need for anything else. Like a steak without sauce, it was cooked just right.
I only have a couple very minor complaints, and neither were with the food or the service:
First, the margaritas are a bit small for the price, despite their ‘premium’ status. Similarly-constructed margaritas at other restaurants in the area are either the same price for a larger drink or a lower price for the same size. The drinks were good, but with the glass half-full of ice to begin with… I’ll think twice before ordering them again.
Second, ice cream in a paper cone? Yes, I get that it’s free, but the texture of paper and ice cream just doesn’t mix. Either go with standard cheap edible cones, or use disposable plastic bowls – either can be taken with the customer outside and likely cost only marginally more – and don’t leave your customers feeling that unpleasant raspiness of the paper. Bleh, I can still feel it, just writing about it.
Other than that, it was a great experience, as I expected from my multiple former visits. It’s my go-to place for good tex mex, and certainly better than some of the other chains in the area, and even some of the mom-and-pop shops that I’ve frequented. I’ll definitely be back, and often.
Sans salt, of course.