Do you keep a list of restaurants that you must go to but then never end up going? I do and Ajo y Oregano has been on my list since their first day, seriously.
I’ve been wanting to go but always had an excuse, the wait is too long, we’re too far out, I don’t wanna go alone, excuse after excuse. Finally the day came where I said let’s just go, it’s raining the wait shouldn’t be too long (I was kinda wrong about that one) and it’s easy enough to get to. We agreed to go and so began our journey to Ajo y Oregano.
It was a rainy day and we had been walking for a long time, getting heavily soaked in the process (half of the walk was in the wrong way, but that’s a whole other story) when we finally arrived at the block we are greeted by a bright green casita instantly transporting you to the local colmado in the barrio your family is from. Upon walking in you’re asked to join their waiting list and wait in the “patio.” After about 15-20 mintues we’re ushered inside to a perfectly small restaurant, filled with vibrant colors and cosas tipica.
I went with my husband and since we’ve been waiting to go since day one we knew exactly what to get for appetizers Mofongutios de res y Chimi tostones sliders. For our entrees we chose bistec encebollado and res guisada. Before I share a review of all the dishes let’s just start by saying that everything we tried gave you seguidillas (if you don’t know what that means, basically every bite left you wanting to take another bite) which is an indicator of great food.
Let’s start with the apps, the mofonguitos were underwhelming. It was basically a cold tostone cupped to hold a glob of ground meat and topped with shredded cheese. Not exactly what were we expecting, a better name would be like a tostone relleno or something along those lines. Needless to say the flavor of the ground beef was exceptional, imagine lasagna meat sauce and then amp it up with even more flavor, it was so good and made me think of my mother’s carne molida for dishes like pastelon. Next we had the sliders and they were delicious, the tostones for this were warm, unlike the mofongitos, and full of flavor. The chimi sauce was on point, the slaw was perfectly crunchy and just enough of a fresh bite to cut the richness of the queso frito and chimi patty. Definitely would order again.
For our main meal we had res guisada (stew beef) and bistec encebollada with tostones. EVERYTHING WAS PERFECTLY SEASONED, I cannot say this enough. I typically don’t cook traditional dominican/latino food unless I am craving it and this was hitting all the feels. Bistec encebollada was one of my favorite things to eat growing up and my mother used to make it like once every two months. Here they switched it up and and used red onions instead of white and I thought that was a delicious swap. The tostones were good, not the way I like them but still good, and the herbaceous sauce that was on them was so good. The res guisada was soft and flavorful and the rice was cooked perfectly and had seguidillas, especially when served with the beans. YUM.
Overall this place is delicious and we can’t wait to go back! Whether it’s eat in, order online, or take out (they have a take out section of all their daily specials like a typical restaurant) it’s worth a visit. We are for sure looking forward to their expansion and hope the same flavor and feeling of home gets transmitted there.
Join the waitlist online before you go, then you won’t have to wait as long in person. Skip the mofongitos, definitely order the chimi sliders, if the daily specials are calling your name order them quick (tell them while you’re waiting), and get the chinola with a lot of ice. Share an entree because portions are on the larger side or take half to go to eat later on. Bottom line: Go check it out, AHORA!