I think I am the last blogger in Cincinnati to visit Bakersfield OTR, but my wife and I finally did so last week. I had wanted to visit many times before, but our nights without our kids are very limited, and Bakersfield is not child friendly. I would have no problem taking a baby there, as the environment isn’t bad for kids, there just isn’t much that our picky two-year-old would eat.
We arrived just after 6 PM on a Tuesday evening and were happy to find plenty of available seating. I’ve heard stories of long waits, but our early week visit likely helped. We were asked if we would rather have a seat at a table or at the fairly large bar. When we replied that we would like a table we were shown to one half of a large community table. Later during our meal, three women would occupy the other end of the table and there was still plenty of room for all of us.
I immediately ordered some chips and guacamole for us to start with ($6). The guacamole was very fresh and filled with large chunks of avocado. Overall it was pretty basic as far as ingredients go, but still quite delicious. I don’t think it’s the best I’ve ever had, unlike many others who do think it is the best around, but it is definitely worthy of ordering.
My wife ordered the Bakersfield margarita ($6), which came served in a mason jar. I had a couple of sips from it while we waited for our dinner to arrive and immediately fell in love. It isn’t overly sour and packs a punch with a stiff pour of el Jimador Blanco tequila. When ordering another round of drinks, I gladly switched over from the beer I originally had to get a margarita of my own.
As I hinted at earlier, the menu is not lengthy at all. Basically there are a handful of appetizers and sides, a couple of torta sandwiches, and eight different tacos to choose from. My wife and I split six of their taco offerings: cochinita pibil ($3), mole ($4), pollo verde ($3), fish ($4), pastor ($3), and rajas ($3). The order I listed them is from my favorite to least likely to order again.
The cochinita pibil is a fairly simple combination of achiote braised pork, pickled red onion, Habanero salsa, and cilantro, but the pork was perfectly cooked and tender with a ton of spicy heat from the salsa. The mole taco is filled with Oaxacan style braised chicken, pickled red onion, queso fresco, and cilantro. The sweet flavors of the mole sauce combined wonderfully with the creamy cheese and pickled onions.
The pollo verde mixes tomatillo braised chicken, queso fresco, pickled onion, cilantro, crema, and radish. The sauce/marinade on this chicken was not as good as the mole, but I still enjoyed this one. The fish taco was piled high with crispy Mahi, Tabasco lime sauce, and citrus slaw. It definitely had the largest amount of protein and the toppings were exploding out of it. I’m not a very big seafood fan, but I had a few bites of this and this would be one fish item that I would actually consider ordering again. My wife loved it and it was probably one of her favorites of the night.
The pastor combines chili marinated pork, pineapple, pickled onion, and cilantro. I do typically love the combination of pineapple with a somewhat spiced meat, but I felt that this pork was little too tough and chewy. It was not shredded like most of the other tacos and was mostly harder chunks of meat. Finally the rajas was our choice from the two vegetarian offerings. It is stuffed with poblano, fresno, and bell pepper, ejotes (green beans), chihauhua, queso fesco, and cilantro. This one was actually a great combination of flavors, but I really missed the meat, so I would not be likely to order it again.
Overall we had a great first experience at Bakersfield OTR. The food was mostly great and the drinks were superb. I wish there was something for our son to eat, that way we could make it down for dinner more often.
Update: I’m told by the owner that they do indeed have a kiddie quesadilla that is not on the menu. Next time we will have to take the entire family down for lunch or dinner.