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Bandolero Celebrates Opening with Tacos, Tequila

Celebrity chef Mike Isabella helped pass out appetizers at the event Tuesday.

at 3241 M St. held a celebration Tuesday night, welcoming local foodies and reporters to scope out Top Chef star Mike Isabella's new Mexican-style restaurant.

The new Georgetown restaurant fills the space .

Isabella worked the room, greeting guests and handing out samples of his small-plate menu items.

"I've opened up too many hotels and restaurants to be nervous," Isabella told Patch at the event. "It's a lot of work."

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Guests sampled Mahi Mahi tacos with chipotle, avocado and lime. And the blue crab coconut, red chili and purple potato tostadas.

Margaritas flowed freely, including a sampling of their on tap selections. El Bandolero Margarita with blood orange is a twist on a traditional margarita on the rocks. The margarita is actually on tap —just like the beer and prosecco— served from a cylinder keg.

Bartender James Kleinmann, who has been with Isabella since Graffiato, said they leave space at the top of the keg to allow for mixing later should the tequila and the juices separate. But considering that they usually change the margarita keg between two and five times a night, depending on how busy it is, the keg is often kicked long before any mixing is needed he explained.

Bandolero, 3241 M St. Open Sunday-Tuesday 4 to 10 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 4 to 11 p.m. (bar and bar menu until midnight), Friday-Saturday 4 p.m. to midnight for table service (bar and bar menu until 2 a.m.).

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