Monday, November 12, 2012

DC Spotlight: Mexican Small Plates at Bandolero

I've previously written about two local Mexican restaurants, Oyamel and El Centro D.F., that have separate vegetarian menus (available upon request).  A third restaurant does not have a separate vegetarian menu (yet), but its regular menu does offer a number of meat-free options, so it has now earned a spot on my static list of recommended Washington, DC Restaurants.

Bandolero, which opened in May by local celebrity chef Mike Isabella, is located in the heart of Georgetown in a large, two-level, energetic space, and specializes in modern Mexican cuisine.  The menu consists of small plates, many of which are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian or vegan (be sure to ask your server, however, as the veg-friendly menu items are not clearly marked).  Everything I tried, which is pictured below (minus the tequila), was absolutely delicious.

Homemade guacamole with masa crisps
NOTE: this dish also comes with chicarrones (pork rinds), but you can ask for it without them

Wild mushroom tacos with butternut squash, pickled onion, and crispy pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Empanada stuffed with spinach, leeks, manchego cheese, and plantains

Sweet plantains (without the cream and cheese that normally come with it) and black beans and rice (with chives)

UPDATE:  As of July 2013, according to the Washington Post, Mike Isabella formally separated from Bandolero after the restaurant failed to pass a health inspection.  Sadly, I must remove it from the Washington, DC Restaurants page of this website.  For a much nicer Mike Isabella dining experience, check out Kapnos, which I wrote about here.

 Bandolero on Urbanspoon