In typical order-at-the-counter style, our chips and guac were immediately placed on a tray. We grabbed our cups from next to the beverages and filled them with our selections before seating ourselves at one of the tables. Bandito Southside is divided into two rooms. The first is a one smaller front room with the counter, kitchen, soda bar and a sprinkling of tables. The second is a larger, more dimly lit room where the nightly live acts are located. The artists rotate through and a schedule is available on the tables listing not only the music, but also the daily (food and drinks, 11-6) and evening (drinks, 6-9) specials.
We sampled the chips and guac while waiting for our burritos. Growing up in California made me an unabashed avocado snob. Most of the avocados you can buy at the supermarket are…horrific. However, certain local restaurants seem to have figured out the secret to a decent avocado supply chain and so fresh guacamole is rarely something I can resist. Bandito’s guacamole was blissful. Semi-pureed, still slightly chunky fresh avocado with bits of onion, garlic, tomato, and salt. It wonderfully complimented the thin, crispy, oiled chips. Unsalted, they were a bit plain on their own, but as a vehicle for the avocado? Just lovely. My only complaint was the wimpy chip to guacamole ratio. We had at least a 1/3 of a basket of chips left when we (sadly) finished the guacamole.
For the burritos, I had ordered a Grande burrito with pork. This is slightly off menu and a bit of a crapshoot. Sometimes I end up with a a burrito so spicy I can hardly manage to eat it. Sometimes, there is nary a sizzle of spiciness in sight. One of the menu items is a Chille Verde Burrito which DOES list pork as an option so I’m guessing that sometimes I get a Grande with pork and sometimes I get a Chille Verde. The server called my order a Chille Verde Grande, so I’ve given up trying to figure it out exactly.
Bandito is the rare establishment that is a locally owned, provides a venue for local acts, and has a liquor license. While I’m exceptionally taken with their guacamole, I find that their food runs saltier, heavier, and denser than I really prefer. That said, those (like my husband) who enjoy that style of Mexican fare will adore this place. It is “authentic” in that their tortillas and beans both taste as though they are made on site (no doughy tortillas here!).
Total for the meal: $18.93 (included one Grande Burrito Dinner, one Grande Burrito with pork, one order of chips and guac, and two drinks)
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