Bandidos is located a hop, skip and jump from my house, so you can bet my husband and I are regular customers. They serve Mexican food in the American style: rice, beans and whatever combination of meat, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and tortilla you want. It’s not street tacos, but it’s comfort food to me. Their salsa is my favorite in the area, and their house margaritas are impressively tasty and strong for the price. Don’t miss Margarita Mondays when they are $1.99 per mug!
I was excited to see Sunday brunch hours introduced recently for the Durham and Hillsborough locations. Nothing says breakfast to me like tortillas, eggs, and chorizo. Brunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., an easy feat even for this night owl.
The Location: The Durham Bandidos is located in the Woodcroft Shopping Center. A mural covers one half of the room, and sombreros and various pieces of Mexican artwork take up the rest. The patio is an attractive alternative on a nice day, although the view is only of a parking lot.
The Company: My husband, who sleeps in even later than I do on weekends but still managed to join me for this meal.
The Meal: Chilaquiles, chorizo omelets and tropical pancakes featuring a hint of orange were on the menu along with several brunch cocktails. My Bloody Maria was moderately spicy and heavy on the lime. It also had a light fizz, likely from a splash of Corona.
Their delicious salsa and freshly fried chips were served with the meal. My husband chose the huevos a la Mexicano, which were scrambled eggs with tomatoes, jalapeno, and onion served with warm tortillas. Like most of the menu items, it came with two sides, and he opted for fresh fruit and honey wheat toast. He thought it was a run-of-the-mill scramble.
I went for the migas, described as a take on nachos. It was actually closer to a tortilla casserole. A layer of deeply fried tortillas formed the base, and scrambled eggs were layered on top with cheese. It made for a delicious combination with dollops of creamy salsa ranchero and sour cream. The eggs could have been softer, though.
My first side was nicely seasoned and sautéed home fries. For my second side, I chose the chorizo and cheese grits, a $0.75 upgrade. It was heavily seasoned with cumin, and the chorizo had a similar texture to the grits, which I can’t decide if I liked. Perhaps the empty dish answers that question.
The Service: As always, the service and food were superfast. The salsa ranchero and sour cream were forgotten for my dish, but that was remedied swiftly.
The Final Bill: Two brunch items, one coffee and one Bloody Maria came to $24.08. With the large portion sizes, I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.
The Verdict: Bandidos for brunch offers the same quality of food as Bandidos for dinner: satisfying, simple preparations of standard Mexican-American dishes. It’s worth noting that there was no wait, which is a huge plus for a brunch location, especially one close enough that we could almost roll out of bed to reach it.
Rebecca Gomez Farrell is a Durham-based fantasy, horror and romance author and a freelance editor. She reviews the Triangle’s restaurants and cocktails on her blog, the Gourmez, contributes to the food blog Carpe Durham and writes television commentary for All My Writers.