Due to uploading difficulties, this tuesday reviewsday is brought to you on Wednesday. I warned you I like being fashionably late, didn't I?
My awesome brother, who I've probably (hopefully) mentioned before, has been working here for the last year or so under Chef Mike Isabella, and totally loving it. You know who else has been totally loving it? Me. The food is always fantastic, so I'm always happy to oblige friends who need a buddy to try the restaurant with. I'm such a good friend.
So when my family heard that Isabella was opening a new restaurant, and running a pop-up just before the official opening, we decided we had to go. My brother is helping with the opening and moving to the new joint full time, so he was already working when we went in. The pop-up offered a five course tasting menu, where you can pick any five dishes from the menu. We ordered margaritas ("our way", to be exact - just one of the 10 they have, and this one will apparently be on tap once they open! Blood orange citrusy goodness) to start, and enjoyed some fresh chips and chicharrones with a trio of homemade dips (salsa roja, guacamole, and sikil pak) while we selected our food. Actually, that's a lie. We did almost no selecting, and left our menu up to the brohim. We trust him. The sikil pak was something I had never had before - a paste made from pumpkin seeds, with some sesame seeds and orange rind mixed in. The more I ate it, the more I wanted more! Kind of like those hint of lime Tostitos chips.
The trick at places like Isabella's, where all of the dishes are small, is to go with a larger group of people. That way when you do the tasting menu, you can try more things! The whole menu for the pop-up had maybe 25-28 items on it, and they were out of a few, so between four of us we were able to try almost the entire menu. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd go with the short rib molé. Had there been a bone, the meat would have been fall-off-the-bone tender. Seriously guys, it cut like butter. The molé, something I'm not always a fan of, was light enough to not be overpowering, but you definitely got that little hint of chocolate and cinnamon that made the rib taste more like chocolate butter.
Note to self: try making chocolate butter
If I described in detail every dish for you, we'd be here for about a month. Instead, enjoy some pictures! And when Bandolero opens, go. For all our sakes.
chicken molé enchiladas rojas
seared steak w/ chile sauce
pulled pork tacos
mushroom enchiladas verdes
The short rib molé - doesn't look like much, but trust me on this one.