Bakersfield on Mass. Ave.
I CAME HERE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING….
Yeah…Tacos. To me tacos are the ultimate food carrier of the New World. Every culture has a carbohydrate cab designed to transfer various proteins from Point A to Point B. Where Point B is your mouth. Be it leavened or unleavened. Call it naan, tortilla, pita, or lavash it serves the same purpose. In this part of the country it is the tortilla. Flour or corn. Different load, same purpose. The flour tortilla is generally used for a burritos. Consider that the SUV of protein transport. The corn is typically used for a taco. Consider that more like a compact car. I love tacos but I was a little hesitant trying this particular joint. From the reviews it was a hip and trendy place on the most hip and trendy street in town. Massachusetts Avenue. From experience it is usually the hip and trendy places that try too hard on their food and pretty much fail. So I had to try this place because the menu was straight forward and provocative. I also made it a solo trip because Pat doesn’t like onions; and sometime onions are essential in a dish.
One semi quick remark regarding the name. It is called Bakersfield as an homage to a certain type of country music “developed” in Bakersfield California. I think this style is best represented by the song “Streets of Bakersfield” most famously recorded by Buck Owens and Dwight Yokam. I was rather taken aback upon entering. I was led to believe that the place would be overrun by hipsters, and the din of Johnny Cash would be overwhelming. Well. The place was loud; from business types talking. The music was very subdued. Sitting at the bar I ordered a $2 PBR. Much to my chagrin it came in a typical pint glass. Again, the reviews led me to believe that it would come in a Cowboy Boot Schooner. However the bartender told me they had all been stolen. Oh well. It was only 2 bucks. The tacos are $3 & $4 each. Which sounds reasonable. I knew going in that I would only eat 3 or 4 tacos. Hell I gotta’ watch my weight. On the first course I ordered a Mole and a Pastor. The first thing you notice is the size of the tortillas. They are small, more in the sub compact category. They are made in-house and are pretty tasty, but the size brings into question the value. Also both portions of meat could have used a lot more sauce, they were a little on the dry side. Also I really had trouble differentiating between the two dishes, after digging out a taste from under the copious quantity of toppings. Although the selections were apt. Fresh cilantro, pickled onions etc. too much can detract from the main ingredient.
The Pastor is top left, the one with the chopped pineapple. I wish I had thought to add an element for scale in order to demonstrate the size.
My last pick was the chicken braised in tomatillo sauce and topped with a guajillo chile salsa as well as the usual toppings. On the website this particular dish is called Pollo Verde. For some reason it was changed to Pollo Rojo and the quajillo salsa was added. Curious. It would appear as if the chicken is roasted in a tomatillo sauce and the resultant meat is shredded and then tossed with the chile sauce not just topped. It too was a little on the dry side and it was hard to detect any distinct taste. The change in recipe begs the question. Why even use tomatillos if you are going to hide their flavor with the quajillo?
Yeah I started eating before I took the shot. Like that’s the first time I did that. So in a nut shell their tacos are not bad they just need to be bold with the sauces. In my opinion the only way you could differentiate between the dishes is by the toppings. Step up with the flavors of the chiles. Be bold. I think they did try too hard to be a true taqueria. They didn’t fail, they just didn’t totally succeed.However I can almost see this whole idea being franchised. Sort of like an “upscale” Qdoba; with alcohol. If that is the plan Good Luck. One thing is certain when you eat here you are getting the best taco on Mass. Ave.http://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1980&preview=true