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Bandera - Changes For the Worse

Servorg Sep 19, 2007 07:57 AM

We have gone to our Bandera (a Houston's family restaurant) in Brentwood many times over the years. We have always been pretty happy with their food and service, (except for a brief time when they decided to stop serving french fries for some weird reason - but then brought back, probably due to all the complaints they received). Good beef ribs, prime rib dip, rib eye steak, etc.

Last night we stopped in and my wife ordered a Bloody Mary with bleu cheese stuffed olives, one of the best in town by our way of drinking, er thinking. What was delivered to the table was no longer one of their tall glasses with lots of ice and a spicy drink with plenty of spicy goodness, including horse radish at the bottom. Now there was a short, round glass, half filled with what looked like bloody mary mix with no ice and the olives and a wedge of lime on a skewer sitting astride the glass.

When we finally got our waitress to come over (they tend to use runners to deliver) she said "Oh yes, they changed the recipe for the bloody mary" and didn't know more than that. She did take it back and it was then poured over a large glass of ice and redelivered. Unfortunately they also changed the recipe to something that tastes of tomato juice without any of the kick / spices that used to be part of the mix.

These folks need to embrace that old adage "If in ain't broke, don't fix it".

That was enough to drive us away, but my wife's "entree" sized ceasar salad with chicken came out on a little plate looking no bigger than the appetizer sized portion. My tri tip with ceasar salad was okay, but nothing to get me to return for.

I have always been a little bothered by Bandera's refusal to carry baked potatoes, or their lack of any type of gravy to go along with their mashed potatoes. They really do seem to carry an absolute minimum of salad dressings, so a choice of something like ranch or bleu cheese has always been out of the question. But this latest poorly thought out change is making us vote with our feet.

I'm afraid that was our last visit to Bandera.

  1. mollyomormon Sep 19, 2007 08:57 AM

    That sucks! That's always been one of my favorite bloody mary's in town. I really hope they rethink that change...

    1. b
      broncosaurus Sep 19, 2007 08:58 AM

      They still serving that delicious jalapeno cheese cornbread?

      1 Reply
      1. re: broncosaurus
        TBird Sep 19, 2007 09:11 AM

        the cornbread was always the only reason to go. and the chics at happy hour...

      2. j
        JBC Sep 19, 2007 09:04 AM

        What you just experienced is what defines the problem with many chain restaurants: that sooner or later the changes to the menu are being made by the accounting dept., and no longer by the culinary inspirational visionary, in the attempt to cut costs and improve the bottom line.

        The same thing has happened to the componets of The Daily Grill's menu and to my taste buds to my 2 favorite dishes, several years ago, at the Border Grill once the hired chef(s) decided to make things easier on themselves by cutting out the very ingridients and/or complex special sauces that made those dishes so unique and flavorful.

        1. k
          klaatu Sep 19, 2007 09:06 AM

          As long as they don't change the beef ribs. Best ever.

          1. l
            LuigiOrtega Sep 19, 2007 09:23 AM

            ABSOLUTELY MY TOP PET PEEVE!! So many restaurants are going to Bloody Mary Mix, yet still charge a premium. And, so far I haven't tasted one that comes even close, (read the label, many have sweeteners). Unexceptable for anything but someone (else's)'s home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LuigiOrtega
              Servorg Sep 19, 2007 09:29 AM

              You hit upon one complaint I didn't list (and the same thing goes for Houston's too) the Bloody Mary is sweet. To me this is a drink that should be on the verge of a bitter back taste. Certainly not sweet. If I find out they are putting a dose of HF corn syrup in it that will be the last straw (lol).

            2. v
              vinosnob Sep 19, 2007 09:42 AM

              That's disappointing to know they're cutting corners.

              However, I just ate there in August and really enjoyed the food. We had the heirloom tomato and beet salad with burrata, rotisserie lamb and a burger; everything was delicious. My wife wasn’t drinking wine so I ordered a few by the glass, but normally, we would bring a bottle and enjoy the free corkage. This is probably the only chain restaurant that we’ll go to on occasion.

              1. s
                SarahM Sep 19, 2007 11:28 AM

                Enterprise Fish Co. in Venice has a stellar bloody mary with lots of homemade kick - sounds a lot like the one of old at Bandera. Although, I think Enterprise is a chain... so hopefully it stays that way.

                1. y
                  yogachik Sep 19, 2007 02:18 PM

                  I dread what they're going to do the Montana Lounge space. I am not a Bandera fan, nor a Houston's fan.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: yogachik
                    mollyomormon Sep 19, 2007 02:43 PM

                    I'm still so sad that Montana Lounge is no longer there.

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