The wait is over! We had passed by many times at night, but were scared away by the two hour wait. However, on this past Saturday afternoon, the crowds were at bay and we finally had a chance to belly up to the bar for the much anticipated Bakersfield taco experience.
The restaurant is small, but it has more room than you would expect looking in from Vine Street. You might call the style of the place Modern-Westernesque. It features exposed brick (which we have a soft spot for), wood picnic tables, an over-sized concrete bar, and a large shelf of liquor. The half of the bar closer to the entrance is all tequila, while the far side is all bourbon. We sat at the bar (recommended) on some of the over-sized padded stools, which are quite comfy.
Bakersfield OTR really sticks with the Western theme. The music was largely Bakersfield Sound country, including heavy doses of Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, and the Rolling Stones. However, the volume was set pretty low and so it served mostly as background noise. Also, there was some B Western staring no one we've ever heard of, from 1937 playing from a DVD.
Fresh squeezed homemade Margarita, served in a mason jar. Very fresh cocktail fruit (bartender was cutting a bucket of limes at the bar-that's how you know it's fresh). The Margarita Factor--we love margaritas; however, Bakersfield didn't win us over. Overall, it was like drinking a melted lime popsicle. It was too sweet and nearly luke warm (very strange to have an almost warm margarita considering that it was served in a glass with HUGE ice cubes ...nonetheless it was oddly warm).
Chips and Queso ($5) + Chorizo ($1) = brilliant idea. The chips were fantastic. The queso was good, but we just can't stray from Taqueria Mercado as our #1. Nice try Bakersfield.
The corn tortilla tacos, while small, packed some good flavor. The Rajas (on the right below) consisted Portobello, roasted poblano, onion, and queso fresco. For $3, it was okay. However, the Fish Taco (left), with crispy mahi, tabasco lime sauce, and cabbage for $4 = Amazing! Due to low acidity and lack of having a lime, others may disagree with our glowing praise of the fish taco. Maybe someone got the message, because not only was lime present and ready to do battle, but we didn't even need it!
On a Saturday afternoon, Bakersfield OTR can be a quite pleasant place (On a Saturday night however, we recommend avoiding the crowds and visiting Taqueria Mercado). A margarita, two tacos, chips, and chorizo queso came to $20.30. Not too bad for a light lunch, especially compared to some of Bakersfield's neighbors. Also, the bill came on a card which included a quote from Gram Parsons of Flying Burrito Brothers Fame - Nice. So, we'll leave you with this bit of the Bakersfield Sound: