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The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Bandoleros balances unique Mexican flavors with an elegant ambiance

Srivas Arun
Bandoleros Mexican Grill in Concord is an elegant new restaurant adding new unique twists to well-known Mexican dishes.

Large glass panes shine warm orange lights into the parking lot. Dark wooden fixtures, hanging plants, and a painting of charros, Mexican horse back riders, line the inner walls of the brick building, making the feel both modern and traditional. While the elegant interior Bandoleros Mexican Grill will draw you in, its balanced and flavorful food will keep you coming back for more.

My family and I arrived at Concord’s newest Mexican restaurant at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening. For a weekday night, the restaurant was bustling with eager patrons and although they have not yet set up a reservation system, we were able to call ahead and put our names on the waiting list.

After just a couple minutes of waiting, we were seated and five minutes later, we had two complementary pails of homemade chips and salsa, as well as water, to whet our appetites. Both the chips and salsa tasted fresh and were seasoned perfectly. The chips were not oily and had a hearty crunch full of the robust flavor of toasted corn. The acidic, bright, and fairly mild salsa paired perfectly with the chips and was imbued with the flavor of roasted tomatoes.

Complimentary chips and salsa arrive at the table in a small pail and bowl. (Srivas Arun)

Even before we could finish scarfing down our chips and salsa, our server, Madeline, took our orders and gave us a refill of chips and salsa which we quickly cleaned off. After about fifteen minutes, we were served our first appetizers and drinks.

We wasted no time digging into the Chicharrones ($14) and the Flauta Taquitos ($15). The Chicharrones, or fried pork belly, had a crunchy exterior hiding behind it a juicy, well-seasoned cut of pork. Biting into a piece of pork belly topped with a dollop of guacamole and a few slices of pickled onions took the dish to another level by balancing the fatty, acidic, and creamy flavors. The taquitos on their own were slightly under salted compared to the pork belly, but scooping on a bit of the extra sauce they were served with lent a lot of flavor to the dish which had a great mix of textures, including crunch from the fried tortilla shell and tender chicken. 

Ten minutes after receiving our starters, our entrees arrived one by one. I took a bite out of my Carnitas Tacos ($20) first. In the past when I have ordered carnitas, they have been dry and lacking flavor, but the Bandoleros’ shredded pork was flavored very well and was nice and moist. Both the rice and pico de gallo that were served on the side were flavorful and seasoned well, but the hot sauce was bland and lacked spice.

Bandoleros Carnitas Tacos (Srivas Arun)

I also ordered the Chicken Chimichanga ($19). Despite the fried burrito being quite thick, the thick covering of cheese sauce overpowered some of the other flavors and weakened the crunch, but it could be mellowed by adding additional rice and pickled onions. The chicken inside was cooked well though and with additional toppings, it was still a pleasant and filling dish.

My younger brother’s Carne Asada ($29) was the one other dish that came out on a board, and along with the two cuts of grilled steak were multiple unique sides. The items included pickled onions, pico de gallo, and rice as expected, but there was also a large piece of grilled panela, a salty, firm Mexican cheese, and a grilled jalapeno and onion.

Bandoleros demonstrated their ability to perfectly balance dishes once again as a bite of all the additions highlighted the best of Mexican flavors. The panela lent the dish a salty, rich flavor which was contrasted by the sharp acidity of the pickled onions and the freshness of the pico de gallo. While the steak itself had a smoky flavor, the roasted onion and jalapeno allowed for a truly grilled flavor to shine through.

A painting of charros fills a wall of the restaurant. (Srivas Arun)

Impressive additions to dishes were not exclusive to the Carne Asada, however, as my dad’s Texas Fajitas ($32) came with warm, freshly made flour tortillas. While the blue corn tortillas served with my tacos were tasty, the flour tortillas stood out among the tortillas I’ve tasted due to their delightfully stretchy and chewy texture. Paired with the steak, chicken, shrimp, and vegetables that were served in the traditional sizzling skillet, the dish was imbued with an excellent smoky, grilled flavor.

My mom is a vegetarian who gets unapologetically dragged to meat-centric restaurants often, so she was pleasantly surprised to see a few good vegetarian options. She chose the Chile Poblano ($19) which was filled with chihuahua asadero, a Mexican cheese, and served with rice, and criollo sauce made of tomatoes and peppers. The large pepper was cooked well and balanced by the mild cheese and flavorful, umami sauce.

For dessert, we ordered the Churros ($12) and Flan ($12). The churros were a true spectacle, arriving in a wooden cart along with small cups of vanilla sauce, chocolate sauce, and fruit jam. They were delicious with a crunchy exterior and a fluffy interior filled with the creamy dulce de leche. The cinnamon flavor was not too overpowering and they paired well with each of the sauces which were thinner than they I have had before, but they were still packed with flavor. The flan was also delicious with a delicate caramel flavor and a light sweetness that paired well with the creamy texture and the whipped cream and fruit it was served with. It was topped with shredded coconut which gave it a unique taste and added a bit of crunch.

Overall, while the meal was more expensive than some other Mexican restaurants in the area, Bandoleros’ good portion sizes, balanced flavors, and excellent ambience make it well worth it in my opinion. The restaurant mixes casual dining with an elegant atmosphere which make it perfect for a date night, birthday, or special occasion with family and friends. Their unique spins on dishes and exceptional flavors stand out and leave me excited to go back to try their other offerings.


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About the Contributor
Srivas Arun
Srivas Arun, News Editor
Hello! My name is Srivas Arun and I am currently a sophomore  and a co-news editor for the Ghostwriter. You can find me on the cross country and track teams year round. I am interested in spreading information to the student body about WA and its community.

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    Anne CayerApr 12, 2024 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the detailed, excellently written review. I’m looking forward to going to Bandoleros and trying some of the dishes you suggested.