Chimi's: Owner puts fresh spin on longtime Mexican chain
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, November 29, 2012
11/29/12 at 6:57 AM
When Brandon Fischer moved back to Tulsa in 2006 after a decade in California, he was discouraged to find Chimi's Mexican Food restaurants weren't what he remembered.
"My parents moved here in 1980, and Chimi's was one of my mother's favorite places," Fischer said. "I remember it being the best Mexican food in town.
"I went back to California in '95. When I came back in '06, I ate at three Chimi's restaurants, and they weren't very good. I didn't know what happened, but I learned the original owner wasn't able to be much involved with the restaurant toward the end."
Fischer became intrigued with the idea of reviving Chimi's, and after a few inquiries, he was able to purchase the restaurant in 2007.
"I spent the first few years getting things right and getting consistency with the three restaurants," he said. "The last two years I've been going through all of the recipes. I can't think of one thing that isn't new or hasn't been tweaked."
I interviewed Fischer at the 15th Street location in Lincoln Plaza, but we dined at the restaurant on 81st Street east of Sheridan Road, simply because it was more convenient at the time.
We ordered the El Ranchero platter ($11.99) because it gave us a trio of items to taste, a shredded beef chalupa ($7.99) and a beef tamale ($3.50) on the side.
The platter included a chicken burrito, a cheese enchilada and a shredded beef tostada with sides of black beans and rice.
Dinner burritos are made with 12-inch tortillas, but the platter burrito was half that size, like burritos used to be years ago. It wasn't smothered in sauce, either. As a matter of fact, it had no topping but was loaded with chunks of chicken, refried beans, white queso and a ranchero sauce, and it was delicious.
The thin enchilada was covered in cheese and chili, and it had a rubbery texture, which became more rubbery the longer it was on the plate.
The tostada was simple but delightful with flavorful shredded beef topped with refried beans, lettuce, tomato and Monterey Jack cheese.
The chalupa topping included shredded beef, refried beans, lettuce, tomato and shredded cabbage, but the crispy tortilla was a little too crispy, burnt on the bottom.
The tamale, wrapped in a corn husk, had a bit more masa than I prefer but still included a generous portion of shredded beef filling topped with a tasty chili con carne.
Thick, dark black beans make a perfect side dish for this type of food. The rice, sprinkled with chopped green onion, and refried beans were fine, too.
The complimentary salsa fresca, a mild mix of chunky tomatoes, onions and a little cilantro, always has been a highlight at Chimi's. Diners also may request the picante, a smooth, medium-hot salsa, and "Dads," a spicy-hot salsa.
Fischer said some of the most popular dishes include street tacos, steak carnitas, chili verde enchiladas and shrimp cocktail.
Chimi's has full bar service, including a variety of margaritas and specialty drinks.
All of the Chimi's locations have inviting ambiences, and I am particularly fond of the 15th Street location, whose second-floor patio has a great view of the downtown skyline.
1304 E. 15th St., 918-
5320 S. Harvard Ave.,
6709 E. 81st St., 918-
(on a scale of 0-4
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
and 11 a.m. to 10
at Harvard and 81st
stores; 11 a.m. to 10
and 11 a.m. to 11
at 15th Street location;
major credit cards.
Original Print Headline: Reviving a favorite
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
Street tacos may be ordered with a choice of steak, chicken, carnitas or chorizo topped with red onions, cilantro and verde sauce. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
The chili verde enchilada includes diced pork with mild green chilies wrapped in a corn tortilla and topped with verde sauce, Monterey Jack cheese and strips of lightly grilled jalapeno peppers. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
The Mexican shrimp cocktail is filled with large shrimp in a zesty sauce of tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, avocado and cilantro. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World