Bean Bandit is ... unique 

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
In business half a century, calling Bean Bandit “classic” may be obvious, but labeling it “dated” lands more accurate. A noisy water fountain and Christmas-light-lit fake palms plus colorful murals do their best to liven up the dreary, dim-lit dining room. It all feels like a long-ago Tex-Mex haunt with plates like familiar jukebox tunes.

House salsas are ... unique. One tastes more like Italian pasta sauce with heavy oregano, the other still tomato-paste-y but chunkier with a chili finish. From the lunch menu, “no substitutions,” our plates arrive molten hot with cheese in various stages of melt at all turns, textures and consistencies familiar from TV dinners. A chile relleno ($8.25) rates abysmal, soggy and eggy with lame green chile. A tamale-sized smothered avocado and pork burrito, with a bean tostada ($10.25) shows more combo-plate mayhem. Hard-edged, pot roast-flavored pork yields to creamy avo mash, with no uniting joy. The tostada’s forgettable.


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