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Michigan Avenue location of an upmarket chain of American restaurants.

Our Review

Perched on a second floor with wide windows overlooking Michigan Avenue, Bandera swanks it up every night with a three-piece jazz band providing mellow background music for food that’s pleasant, nonthreatening, and sometimes pretty good. Don’t let the restaurant’s name fool you: Mexican food plays only a minor role on tables here. #1 Tuna Poke is plump sashimi cubes, shrimp, and avocado with tortilla chips in a sugary sauce. The “hacked” chicken salad features the bird, greens, and tortilla strips--again in a sugary sauce. This slightly Hispanic, assertively sweet trend continues throughout. The barbecued salmon was excellent--moist, lightly grilled, and kissed with something sweet. Even the cornbread--overflowing a cast-iron pan, crumbly and crunchy with jalapeños--was caramelized with the element of sweetness evident in most dishes we had. Sides--a cilantro-heavy slaw and pickled cabbage with goat cheese--were well prepared but also unrelentingly sweet. Surprisingly, the dessert menu is quite limited.

David Hammond

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Price: $$
Payment Type: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa

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