Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: Bakersfield OTR

After hearing a lot of buzz about Bakersfield OTR, the new taco joint in Over-the-Rhine's Gateway Quarter, Kate and I decided to give it a try. Our friend Christina met us there at about 6 pm on a Tuesday night.

The restaurant was already filling up even at this early hour, but luckily we were seated right away. I've heard the wait time on the weekends can be 2-3 hours, so be prepared and get there early if you plan to go on a Friday or Saturday. When we arrived at 6 pm, there weren't any "regular" 4 top tables available, so we were seated at a long picnic-like table at the front of the restaurant. A few other people were already seated at the same picnic table, but it was spacious enough that we weren't right on top of each other. It didn't bother me at all; however it could be annoying if there was a loud/obnoxious group sitting next to you. :)

Shortly after being seated, our amazing server came over to get our drink orders. He was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and full of great suggestions. There was quite a lot to choose from, including specialty cocktails made with mostly whiskey or tequila (since that is what they specialize in), margaritas, sangria, wine and beer. After some debate, I ordered the Sangria, Kate got the Red Headed Stranger (bourbon, cayenne pepper, candied ginger, lemon, bitters and Domaine de Canton) and Christina ordered the Bakersfield Margarita.

We were all very pleased with our cocktails! The sangria was made with Rosé and was rather sweet, but delicious. One was definitely enough. Kate really liked her bourbon concoction as well, and Christina was happy with her margarita! When our cocktails arrived at the table, we knew we were ready to order the chips and queso. There are a few appetizers to choose from but we all agreed that the chips and queso sounded great! And we were right! Deliciosa! The chips were clearly homemade and so was the queso and the two salsas. They have a green salsa verde that was my favorite. It was clearly made with fresh ingredeints. The same can be said for the red salsa, which is smoky with a nice spicy kick. They were both fantastic with the chips - and the tacos!

Just as he did with the drink menu, our server thoroughly explained the food menu to us and made fantastic suggestions. In addition to appetizers, there are salads, tortes (sandwhiches) and lots of TACOS to choose from! There are 7 different types of tacos to choose from, and they're priced individually so you can mix-and-match. I aboslutely love this concept! You don't have to commit to one type of taco...you can order a few different ones and try a little bit of everything. The server said the Pastor (chili marinated pork with pineapple, onions and cilantro) was the #1 favorite, so we all ordered that one. In addition to the Pastor, I ordered the Short Rib and Fish tacos. Kate ordered the Rajas (portobello mushrooms) and the Short Rib. And Christina ordered the Pollo Verde (tomatillo braised chicken) and cochinita pibil (spicy pork). 

We could not have been happier with our choices! Of all nine tacos, there was not a single complaint about any of them. I aboslutely loved all three of mine. The Short Rib taco was the winner (Kate also agreed), but not by much. The Pastor was a close second! The combination of the sweet and spicy was fantastic! And the mahi mahi taco was light and flavorful and a good change from the other two tacos. It was topped with a cabbage slaw, cilantro and a tabasco lime mayo. Yummmo!!

I will definitely be back to Bakersfield in the near future! The service, atmosphere, food and cocktails were very impressive and worth a repeat trip! I'm already planning my next visit!

~ Kris  

Food: 5
Service: 5 
Overall: 5

Bakersfield OTR on Urbanspoon

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