Monday, November 7, 2011


I finally got a chance to stop into Chef Mike Isabella's new Graffiato restaurant on Friday.  I loved the Chesnut Agnolotti.  The place was packed.  Mike now announces plans to open his second restaurant in Washington, D.C., in early 2012. Bandolero will open as a modern Mexican small-plates concept in the former Hook restaurant space in Georgetown (3241 M St. NW). Hook has been closed since June 29, 2011, due to a fire. The Bandolero space is owned by Jonathan Umble, restaurateur and proprietor of Hook and Tackle Box. 

“My vision for Bandolero is a high-energy, high-volume restaurant to match the bustling vibe of the Georgetown neighborhood and feed the late-night appetite of its college students. The menu will change frequently with my twist on classic Mexican dishes and a large cocktail menu,” said Chef/Partner Mike Isabella. “Jose Garces has been one of the most influential chefs of my career. With Bandolero I’ll draw from my early culinary experience with him learning to create modern Latin American dishes.” 

Much like Graffiato, the Bandolero menu will feature sections of small plates including salsas, guacamoles, ceviches, tacos, vegetables and more. Large-format “carbons,” Chef Isabella’s take on fajitas, will be available for the table. Nontraditional fillings such as duck, goat and off-cuts of meat as well as surprising flavor combinations will keep the menu interesting and anything but traditional Mexican cuisine. The 5,000-square-foot space will be open for lunch and dinner seven day a week. After the kitchen closes, tacos and guacamole will be available through last call. 

Chef Isabella will draw from the Graffiato talent pool to open Bandolero. Plans include moving James Horn, Graffiato General Manager, and mixologist Sam Babcock to the Georgetown restaurant. 

The Bandolero beverage list will feature at least two dozen cocktails, including a section for margaritas and modern cocktails made with tequila or mezcal. While the wine list will be significantly smaller than Graffiato’s 60-plus bottles, Prosecco on tap will flow at Bandolero as well. 
Congrats on all of your success! 

Photo by Emily Clack

Graffiato on Urbanspoon

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