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Mar 25, 2013 03:05 PM

Otro Cafe

I've long been a fan of Gallo Blanco, so of course I'm happy that Doug Robson has opened a new place within 5 min. of my apartment! Had lunch there today and was quite satisfied.

Unlike GB, the chips & salsa are gratis (I preferred the green tomatillo, but both are nice). I ordered the al pastor torta with a side of veggies -- it took a while to get the waiter to explain what the veg offerings were (he spent far too much time explaining how they use local farmers, etc. etc. YES, I KNOW, just tell me what kind of vegetables they are! ha), but once he did they all sounded good and I ended up choosing the turnips.

He brought the turnips out first and oh they were lovely! Little baby ones, with their tender greens. Pan-roasted, I think? With garlic, onion and lime juice. A little bitter, a little earthy-sweet, with that nice hint of acid from the lime. They also had beets prepared the same way (lemon instead of lime); now I want those too! I could see myself going back here to just eat vegetables (actually I feel the same way about Gallo Blanco -- as much as I enjoy the other offerings, I'm always impressed by how good their salads and vegetable tacos & sides are).

The torta was sloppy (in a good way) and succulent -- the pork very tender and moist, with pineapple sweetness (but not too sweet). The bread got a little soggy, but I didn't care because all in all it was really tasty.

I also got a margarita (slightly too sweet but overall good) plus dessert to go (the last slice of lime tart; I took a little taste upon arriving home and it's good though I'd prefer slightly tangier). Spent just under $30, which is way more than I'd normally spend on lunch, but since that included a cocktail and dessert, and I brought half of the sandwich home for later, I don't think it's a bad deal.

All-in-all, a welcome addition to the neighborhood and I look forward to many future meals!

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  1. Went for the first time Wednesday evening -- really wanted to like it. Good selection of draft beers; short menu but slightly longer than what was posted online. My date had the "paella," and gave me a taste. Not much of an impression. I had the black mole chicken, which was disappointing. Very little sauce, which was ordinary, and the quarter chicken was tough and dry and not very meaty -- a leg and what appeared to be a thigh at first but was more of a back portion, and a poor value for $16 with nothing -- nothing -- else on the plate, other than two small (4"?) soft flour tortillas.

    Even so, the salsas offered with the chips were very good and the service was attentive, enthusiastic and generally top notch. The space is inviting, well appointed, and larger and less tight than we expected. I will go back to try a torta or the tacos. I hope it's better the next time.

    1. I wanted to report - SO and I went there for Sunday brunch. They open at 8am! Yea! We're early risers and sometimes it's a challenge to find an open spot nearby.

      I had the BLT & A - very good and it did have a kick to it. The portion was large and I ended up taking 1/2 home to finish later.

      SO had the egg, bean and chorizo torta and a Bloody Mary. He loves anything Schreiners and cleaned his plate. I had too much to do that day to start drinking at 8am but I'll be back for the Happy Hour, for sure.