Trends come and go so often in the food industry that authentic experiences are hard to come by. But when it comes to the current “farm to table” restaurant trend, a new restaurant in downtown Bakersfield is giving us the real deal.

The establishment is family owned and operated, along with friendly staff members from the community as well as a classically trained chef. This place is called Dot x Ott.

Dot x Ott is the new kid on the block at the corner of 18th and O streets in “Eastchester” and is killing it in the game of authentic farm to table. But seriously, all of DxO’s produce comes from Pickalittle Farms, a 15-acre farm just off Highway 99, south of Houghton Road. Talk about hitting close to home!

If that wasn’t enough to make me fall in love with Dot x Ott, their mercantile-and-restaurant combo did me in. Not only could I have a freshly picked heirloom tomato summer salad for lunch, but I could also buy those same tomatoes and locally sourced olive oil from Rio Bravo Ranch to take home with me.

DxO’s menu is rotated seasonally and serves its produce straight from the farm.

In other words, if the farm isn’t growing it, they’re not serving it. Talk about fresh!

This menu style, which also incorporates local grass-fed beef and sustainably wild-caught seafood from the Ventura coast, is an ode to their commitment to sustainability and a testament to the culinary talent in their kitchen.

After attending Dot x Ott’s soft opening earlier this year and learning all of the latter, I knew that this place was one to keep my eye on. I stopped in earlier this week to try some of the tastes of summer and it was here where I truly saw and tasted the beauty of the season. I tried their Baja bowl, summer tomato salad and their Hope Ranch mussel special.

The Baja bowl is a refreshing corn salad mixed with quinoa, black beans, cotija cheese, cilantro, tortilla strips, cherry tomatoes and charred jalapenos. I also indulged with the add-ons of grilled chicken and avocado. I wasn’t anticipating this bowl to be a cold entree and was a little hesitant to enjoy it for that reason. But after a couple of bites, I couldn’t ignore the flavors I was tasting.

The sweet corn sang an irresistible tune with the creamy cotija cheese and the smoky spice from the charred jalapenos. Every ingredient played a part in this sweet symphony of Latin flavors. The Baja bowl is a lunch must-have.

The tomato summer salad is a play on an Italian caprese but highlights the flavors of Bakersfield. This salad contains handpicked sliced tomatoes, pickled onions and spiraled cucumbers from the farm, housemade pistachio pesto, local Rio Bravo Ranch olive oil, housemade whole-milk cheese and is drizzled with balsamic vinegar from the mercantile.

This salad is refreshing, yet filled with earthy tones from the pesto and housemade cheese. The pickled onions and spiraled cucumbers keep this dish bright, both visually and in your mouth. Though this item is listed as a salad, it’s as filling and satisfying as any of the main entrees.

Last, but certainly not least, was Chef Take Koto’s Hope Ranch mussel special. Let me begin by saying I am not a big seafood person and am very skeptical of ordering seafood at restaurants solely based on the fear of getting sick as it might not be cooked correctly. So when presented with the option of a shellfish that is notoriously known in the culinary world as the rubbery, too-hard-to-clean crustacean, I was more than hesitant to try it.

But when the large steaming bowl of the little suckers came to my table, I had a change of heart. I couldn’t resist the aroma of the white wine vegetable broth, the grilled homemade crostinis and the beautiful blue-and-black-shelled mussels. As mentioned before, the talent in the kitchen paired with the sustainable values of the owners are a match made in heaven and it truly shows in this dish.

The meat was plump and moist, not rubbery or fishy-tasting at all. The cook was done beautifully! The white wine veggie broth was so earthy and delicious, I could seriously enjoy it all by itself. This is a great dish for sharing and must be paired with a glass of wine. I hope this item can stay on the menu as long as possible.

Though Dot x Ott is the new kid in town, they are not to be underestimated. The restaurant-mercantile combo may be confusing for some but once you try it, it’ll all make sense. You may go in with the intention of just grabbing a quick lunch, but you will leave with a bag full of fresh veggies, a bottle of Tlo wine and some other locally sourced goodies.

With a passion for sustainability, their support of other Bakersfield businesses, along with a knockout culinary experience, Dot x Ott hits a home run. It’s a true farm-to- table experience that the Bakersfield community should be proud of. I know I am. 

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