Bakersfield Short North is the first local location of the Cincinnati hipster taqueria with a handful of locations. Much in the style of Chicago's Big Star, Bakersfield dishes up modern takes on classic Mexican tacos accompanied by a loud hillbilly/hard rock soundtrack and carefully crafted cocktails.
Although the meatless tacos on the menu list cheese as an ingredient, vegan items may be ordered on request. Taco fillings include rajas (poblano peppers cooked in cream) and huiltacoche (corn fungus - essentially the Mexican answer to truffles).
The guacamole is fresh and bright with hints of garlic, citrus and cilantro as well as a nice crunch from the radish garnish. The tortilla chips are dusted with red and black pepper, which gives them a nice punch.
The rajas tacos have a hint of roasted pepper that is fattened up by cheese. The huitlacoche is subtly rich. Umami explodes from the taco shell.
The margaritas are excellent. They are a great value with the right balance of tartness and sweetness. They are a great deal, particularly the house margarita at $6.
Service was very good. The staff answered all vegetarian questions, even quickly double checking with the kitchen on some inquiries.
The word is out about Bakersfield, and the wait at night, especially on weekends, can be long. The line at lunchtime is typically shorter.