Thursday, May 2, 2013
In the late 1960's Oscar Gutierrez relocated from California to Huntsville, Al. With Oscar came years of experience in the restaurant business. In the fall of 1990 he decided it was time to open his own place. Serving burritos, tacos, tamales and the like. Oscar's place would do as much from scratch, in house as would be possible. The resulting consistency was the back bone of the business. Bandito Burrito Company has gone on to become a local icon, win several awards and has found their Fish Taco's named #7 on al.com's list of Huntsville's 20 Most Distinctive Dishes.
Occupying what seems to be an old Burger King or some other fast food restaurant, BBC offers parking in front. I hear plenty of comments that the place looks abandoned. Not so, the faded facade only adds to the charm.
Inside the décor matches the outside. A little worn but all in all, charming. It’s typical fast food in that you walk in, order, pay then take a seat in the dining room.
The kitchen is in back and that’s where all the good stuff comes from.
So let’s get a look at these Mexican goodies.
Situated by the cash register is a dispenser labeled "Ghetto Grape Drank." The obvious question begged the young lady serving us, what exactly it was. Well, we're told it's Grape Kool Aid loaded with sugar. Me being me, I just had to try it. That said, I'm not stupid nor do I want diabetes. So just a taste was all I permitted myself. I can assure you it's not as sweet as I was expecting and to be honest, in a small dose it was actually quite pleasant. The word is, one customer not only drinks a full cup with his meal but also gets two refills. Wow!!
The Taco Burger is pretty neat. It’s simply a taco (Old El Paso style) in a cheap burger bun rather than a shell. There’s not much more to say other than 1 or 6 of these seems like something perfect for those either stoned or drunk.
You get a side of salsa and corn chips with your order and really, they're worth the price of admission on their own. The chips are cut up tortillas that are deep fried, not from a bag. The salsa is just plain fabulous. Nice and fresh tasting with a pretty decent amount of heat.
The burritos are well known around these parts. This Combo Burrito is filled with a cumin and lime seasoned ground beef, refried beans and cheese. All in all, about exactly the taste you'd expect and very well executed. You could tell that they use nice fresh cumin. Cumin doesn't sit well for long periods once it's ground (not that it won't hold it's flavour for a while mind you) and I find puts a displeasing taste on things. While freshly ground cumin adds such a nice, sweet earthiness that screams Mexican.
The refried beans are nice but nothing special. Nor is the rice. I don't have a problem with that. They're serviceable sides to the main.
The Enchilada and Chili Rellenos platter here is good but not great. The relleno is really quite tasty. Like a large jalapeno popper without the heat. Sadly, the enchilada for which this combo platter is named really misses its mark. The tortilla/filler combination is fine but the pink highlighter enchilada sauce is thoroughly unflavourful. I tried it plain and it just didn't deliver anything. So, being the creative person I am, I poured a bit of the salsa on it. Much better. The beans and rice are the same as the other meals.
That list of Huntsville's 20 Most Distinctive Tastes is what first led me here. The Fish Tacos are simply awesome. White corn tortillas stuffed with a filet of lightly seasoned tilapia, cabbage, tomato, onions, cilantro, lime and their special dill sauce. The magic is in the sauce. Made with lime, dill and Mexican Crema it added a certain richness that became very addictive.
So there you have it. Terrific Mexican food in a Huntsville legend.
You can find Bandito Burrito Company at 3017 Governors Dr SW. Huntsville, Al.
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You can also find them on facebook.
Well that's all for now folks, see ya next time in the food court.