One of the biggest openings this spring brings Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina to the Hughes Center on the east side of Las Vegas. Kent Hartman, who led the front of the house at Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, brought executive chef Chris Kight, most recently of Casa de Matador in Downtown Summerlin; to handle the Latin fare.
Dishes include fried octopus with green onion, yellow peppers, Romanesco, red Bandito sauce and lemon pepita salt; a chicharron and arugula salad with rainbow baby carrots, roasted corn, shallots, heirloom tomatoes, queso fresco and agave guajillo vinaigrette; turkey chorizo albondigas with creamed salsa verde, cotija and popcorn shoots; habanero shrimp with jalapeño and cheese tamale, roasted vegetables and pickled onion; and a pan-roasted daily catch with roasted vegetables and black bean relish.
Tacos are also a specialty here, with versions featuring braised octopus, baja fish, carnitas and carne asada, all served on house-made tortillas. Charro beans and achiote rice anchor a list of sides that also include potatoes al pastor, Mexican street corn and roasted seasonal vegetables.
Bartender Jair Bustillos leads the bar program here, with drinks including La Paloma Blanca with El Silencio Mezcal, Luxardo maraschino cherry, fresh pink grapefruit juice and lime; the Fashionista Ovo with Absolut Elyx vodka, Cinazano Bianco, fresh cucumber, pineapple juice and Sauza tequila; and a Mojito Cubano with Cruzan Rum infused with cigar notes, fresh mint, lime and Chandon Sparkling Champagne.
Craft beers and wines also make the menu, including a rotating handle from Las Vegas-based Big Dog’s Brewing Co., plus a variety of signature margaritas, agua frescas and Micheladas.