Bandito combines ambience with flavor

Habanero shrimp at Bandito.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

One of 2017’s most anticipated off-Strip restaurant openings is finally upon us. There’s been hype around Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina since longtime Border Grill GM Kent Harman announced his ambitious “elevated Mexican” project. “We’re doing the classics, we’re just doing them the best we can,” he says.

Before you taste the food, you’ll notice the striking appearance of the glass-plated building, the new centerpiece of the restaurant row bordering the Howard Hughes corridor. It’s modern, industrial, and different than anything else around. Inside, two large murals created by local tattoo artist and painter Brett Rosepiler set a definitive mood. At a large bar with its own appealing glassware, mixologist Jair Bustillos crafts cocktails featuring an assortment of tequilas and mezcals. And an open kitchen shows confidence in the way chef Chris Kight and his crew are preparing the cuisine.

Kight is steeped in technique, having cooked under both Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsay, so expect him to translate that discipline into Latin flavors. Check out updated takes on familiar items in dishes including habanero shrimp, chicharron and arugula salad, turkey chorizo albondigas (meatballs), Peruvian-style ceviche and a banging esquites—Mexican off-the-cob street corn. This new arrival is off to a good start.

Bandito 325 Hughes Center Drive #100, 702-857-7550. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Tags: Dining, Food
  • La Monja will be a Mexican-style raw bar, while Hatsumi will offer a more elegant experience, focused on traditional robata and irori grilling.

  • Head to the bar for executive chef Mark Andelbradt’s counter-only menu and prepare for a range of explosive flavors.

  • You come from the music, but you leave talking just as much about the food.

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