Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I enjoy sharing tapas with friends and I love spicy Mexican food. I also really like a good margarita (with salt!). So when my sister came to town and we had the chance to go out to dinner without the kids, we figured we would try out Bandolero. Bandolero is a modern Mexican restaurant with a "small plates" type menu in Georgetown by Chef Mike Isabella (from Graffiato and a contender on Top Chef).
We arrived at Bandolero around 8:20pm, a little late for our 8:15pm reservation (which the staff was really nice about pushing back for us due to some late breaking child illnesses in our house). The restaurant was packed and the bar was full of twenty-somethings prepping for an evening out in Georgetown. We were seated at our table about 10 minutes after we arrived, which was great since there was no room for us to stand near the bar.
Despite other reviews I had read, I didn't find the music too loud or the restaurant too dark. But it was very busy. We ordered a pitcher of the Bandolero margarita made with blood orange, espolon blanco tequila, patron citronage, and lime. It was okay, but a little too sweet and not strong enough for my tastes.
To start, we ordered the La Muestra which came with guacamole, masa crisps, chicarrones, and salsas. I loved the different variety of dips for my chips and the guacamole was delicious. The salsas were good, I definitely liked the variety.
We also opted for the Snapper Ceviche which served red snapper topped with charred mango, jicama, peanuts, and mint. It was bite-sized, and light and refreshing. A good ceviche to go with the chips and dips.
For dinner, we shared a bunch of plates including the skirt steak, wild mushroom, quesadilla (with lobster), sweet plantains, sopes and crispy brussels. Everything came out from the kitchen quickly and most were plated on a simple wood board. The presentation was impeccable. But the taste and flavor overall, was average.
The skirt steaks were prepared well and topped with avacado, salsa, and crispy onions but lacked spice and flavor.
The sopes reminded me of sloppy joes made with lamb instead of ground beef. The crispy corn shell under the lamb was quite tasty though. Fine but not great.
Sadly, the crispy brussels disappointed. The brussels were toasted to perfection with the sweet, caramelized finish but the tamarind crema overwhelmed the vegetable. Maybe without the heavy cream sauce but with chile oil would be a little lighter.
Overall, our dinner was okay.... the service was efficient and the food was average. If I were going out in Georgetown for the evening, I would head over to Bandolero for dinner. But I wouldn't go out of my way for this restaurant... it was solid, but nothing special.