5/4/14 UPDATE – Apparently they do have fries if you order a gyro combo meal. Don’t know if they were out the first time I went or if there was just some confusion. They also have a new website now at http://www.bandidosmexicangrillidaho.com/. And FYI, the Smoky Gyro is pretty freaking good.
I often bring lunch to work with me, but I don’t always eat it. Occasionally when the time comes, I open my lunchbox and have no desire for what it contains. Usually at these times I’m craving something specific and end up going to get that instead, but every rare once in a while I have no idea what I want. At times like this I’ll get in my car, pick a direction at random, and take off driving. It doesn’t always work, sometimes I end up back at the office eating one of the protein bars I keep in my desk, but every once in a while I stumble across something amusing. A combination Mexican and Greek eatery, for example.
I had heard of Burrito Banditos before, seen their offers on the daily deal sites and come across the occasional coupon, but that was a while ago. It doesn’t appear that this eatery is Burrito Bandito’s, even though they kept the sign. The smaller signs on either side of the doors, Bandido’s Mexican Grill and The Gyros Factory are apparently the correct names. Whatever you want to call the place, the combination was too interesting for me to pass up. After a quick perusal of their Facebook page, I headed inside.
Fish tacos were on special when I showed up and, though I was tempted, it had just been too long since I’d had a gyro. Plus, nobody else in Nampa seems to sell them. So, I ordered a Supreme with a side of fries, and was promptly told they don’t serve fries. I was sure I’d seen them on the Facebook page, but decided to take it as a sign and ordered a single fish taco instead. How’s that for a unique take on surf & turf?
The gyros here come with the standard beef/lamb blend, tzatziki sauce, onions and tomatoes on pita bread. The Supreme adds lettuce and feta cheese to the equation. The meat was just a little crispy, they weren’t stingy with the cheese or the sauce, and the pita itself was so soft and chewy (think pillowy, not dense) that my teeth tore it rather than biting through it. Not the best in the Valley, true, but still good and so far as I know the only one you’ll find in Nampa.
The tacos are about twice as much as you will pay at any of the various trucks in the area, but they’re also about twice as big. You get a generously-portioned piece of seasoned, grilled tilapia, lettuce, pico de gallo and “fish sauce”, which I can’t tell you much about other than it was mildly spicy and seemed to have dill in it. It was flavorful, filling, and unfortunately a little messy because the single tortilla used just wasn’t up to the task of containing everything that it was being asked to. I had to kind of roll it up like a burrito and be careful not to foul my clothing, but it was worth it. I don’t know if it’s the way they do it or if it was just my luck, but both of the things I got were a little disproportionately heavy on lettuce, so I think next time I’ll ask them to go lighter with that.
Bandido’s is an interesting place, somewhere between a fast food joint and a fast casual joint. Solid and reasonably priced, and there’s nothing else quite like it around. I recommend checking them out if you’re in the area, and I’ll definitely be returning to try one of their burritos.
Food: Not as lowly as fast food but not quite what we’re used to for fast casual Mexican in the Valley, which makes them kind of unique. Better than Taco Del Mar but not quite at Baja Fresh’s level.
Value: Very reasonable prices for what you get.
Service: It’s an order at one end of the corner and pick up at the other end kind of joint.
Atmosphere: Definitely more fast food feeling than the food itself, but there were a fair amount of customers and they all seemed content to eat there. I’m happier taking my food to go.
Final Grade: B+