Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bandera Restaurant

Bandera Restaurant is a chain restaurant that doesn't act like one. Lighting is dark; black vinyl booths with dark wood tables line the walls; barstools are made of cowhide; and a huge rotisserie oven roasts several dozen chickens at a time. The restaurant is usually jam-packed with locals.

Bandera's Restaurant menu of comfort food is small, but portions are big--and boy, just about everything's good. Delicious cornbread is steamed with butter, laced with just a hint of jalapeno and served up in a cast-iron skillet (or get a big piece for just $1). Slow-roasted chicken is simple and wonderful: The meat falls off the bone, and the dish comes with about a pound of chive-studded mashed potatoes. Burgers are big and fat and juicy, while "macho" salad is a feast of greens loaded with dates, nuts, goat cheese and shreds of chicken still warm from the spit. You won't have room, but the Oreo ice cream sandwich is a great way to finish.