Call me crazy, but I have fallen in love with Mike Isabella’s crazy corn. Sometimes it takes me a full three or four courses to fall in love. Other times, all I need is one memorable dish. The crazy corn at Mike Isabella’s Bandolero in Georgetown is not all that complex. It’s grilled corn on the cob rolled in corn nuts, mayo, chile, and cheese. But, it’s perfection all the same. I can make a meal out of this crazy corn and be perfectly happy.
Actually, give me the corn and the potent Casa En Fuego margarita with habanero infused tequila patron citronage, strawberry and wine, and then I’m satisfied. Make that the corn on the cob, the margarita and the La Cata starter, which includes guacamole, sikil pak (pumpkin seed, jalapeno, and orange spread), and totopos (tortillas with ranchera and crema.) The La Cata is pretty irresistible.
Of course, the meal doesn’t end here. I’m with my kids and some cousins, primarily a group in their twenties, and there is more eating and drinking to be done. (My kosher-keeping daughter is only doing the drinking). We’re sharing food in pairs, which is a good way to deal with the small plates and not getting enough of a taste issue that I’ve been complaining about lately. I’m sharing with my son, who is a vegetarian. This gives me a chance to sample some things I haven’t had on previous visits to the Bandolero pop-up and the opening party (which it goes without saying that I was absolutely delighted to attend).
My son and I share our dishes which include tomatillo and avocado gazpacho with marinated watermelon. I’m not crazy about this. The flavors are muddy and something actually tastes odd (it may be Tequila in the soup) and the texture is too thick. Back to the corn.
On the plus side, I really enjoy a sweet and spicy wild mushroom taco. Empanadas with corn, potato, jack cheese, and poblano escabeche satisfyingly round out our selections.
Our group includes some not quite adventurous eaters, who do well with chicken tacos. The adventurous eaters in the group have queso fundido with duck confit, maitake, manchego, and egg. I’ve read more than a few raving tweets about this dish, so I take a break from my vegetarian dishes to try it. Perhaps it’s just too rich for a hot summer night, but none of us are fans of the flavor.
Bandolero is a bit pricey, and the sound level is beyond my comfort zone. Yet, I’m still a fan of Mike Isabella, his Bandolero, and most of all that crazy corn.
Been There, Eaten That review of Bandolero Pop-Up at Cleveland Park