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Taqueria and bar from Billy Dec and Rockit Ranch.

Our Review

At Ay Chiwowa!, the latest production from relentlessly chapeaued restaurateur Billy Dec, a general theme pervades when it comes to the food: it's tiny, and it's not very good. Order the queso fundido and by the time it reaches your table the cheese may have reached terminal coagulation, near impenetrable with the tools you've been given—four minitortillas, with the option to order four more for three dollars. Tacos, tortas, taquitos, a couple seafood things, quesadillas look to be a great deal, until they arrive. At $8, two shrimp tacos were so puny I wanted to put a jacket on them and feed them a home-cooked meal; carnitas tacos were bland and watery, and "Gomez shrimp" were just a few overcooked crustaceans with yellow mustard on them. There's a lot of tequila here, obviously—two vomit sightings, one on the front steps and one in the men's room, were two more such experiences than I've had at a restaurant before. Of the mixed drinks the best was "Billy's Beerita," a perfectly inoffensive cocktail that comes with a miniature bottle of Corona plunged into it, upside down. This presents two questions. The first is a matter of science: How come the beer doesn't cause the drink to overflow? The second is more prosaic: Where the hell do you put your nose? Read the full review >>

Sam Worley

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Bar Details

Rising from the ashes of Martini Ranch, where Rockit Ranch proprietor Billy Dec worked in college, is Ay Chiwowa!, a clubby "tavern" the specific flavor of which was actually crowdsourced. A question was posed online: What kind of bar would Rockiteers like to see? The people, who seem to work in corporate communications, spoke: "a play on 'dive bar' comfort and accessibility with a Mexican cocktail and food component." The food—tacos, tortas, a couple seafood things, quesadillas—is tiny, pricey, and not very good, but there's lots of tequila here, available by the bottle, and some mixed drinks. The paloma is watery; the tequila- and vodka-based "Señor Chicharron" (it includes orange juice and bacon syrup) about as good as you'd expect. The best we had is "Billy's Beerita," an inoffensive cocktail that comes with a miniature bottle of Corona plunged into it, upside down. This presents two questions. The first is a matter of science: How come the beer doesn't cause the drink to overflow? The second is more prosaic: Where the hell do you put your nose? —Sam Worley

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