Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Restaurant review: In a world of bad Tex-Mex, Bandito’s stands out above the rest
It's great for vegetarians too.
PLANO I purposely have been avoiding places with the words "Tex Mex." I realize this presents a bit of a conundrum since I live in Texas and am writing about Mexican food. However, since my foray into Mexican food eating and writing 15 months ago, I have eaten more than my fair share of bad Tex Mex. Lard, lard, and more lard.
Some friends recommended Bandito's, which opened last summer across from the Blue Goose Cantina. I haven't visited the Blue Goose yet, but the empty parking lot doesn't bode well for its future. Banditos seems to be enjoying a thriving business.
Banditos' niche is Austin Tex-Mex, which according to their mission hasn't been seen in these parts since the 1970s. I'm not enough of a Tex-Mex history expert to know what distinguishes vintage Austin Tex-Mex from contemporary Dallas Tex-Mex, but clearly they are doing something right.
The atmosphere is casual and relaxed. My friend ordered the aged ribeye tacos. At $17.95, this was one of the pricier items. I broke my no meat rule and tasted it. The steak was tender and juicy. It didn't melt in your mouth like filet, but had a slight smoky flavor. A serious cut above the typical fajita meat. Definitely worth the price.
I had the Lavaca enchiladas -- two spinach enchiladas with poblano sauce and jack cheese. Sauce for spinach enchiladas can be tricky. Ranchero doesn't complement spinach. Mole can sometimes overpower the taste and sour cream sauce is just plain gross. I'm not sure exactly what was in the poblano sauce besides the roasted poblano chilis, tomatillos, onions, and cilantro, but it was delicious and a perfect balance to the spinach.
Guacamole was fresh -- nothing memorable. We didn't have the margaritas, which Banditos is known for. I would definitely go back and try more dishes and chill out listening to some good Austin music.
Pegasus News Content partner - Colette's Dallas Mexican Food Reviews